Lower back pain is relatively common; however, in combination with pain in your lower abdomen, it may indicate a serious condition. If the pain doesn't go away when you change positions or take pain medication, it's likely serious enough to warrant immediate medical attention. If you have any doubts, call your physician's office for advice.
Kidney stones are clumps of crystalline matter that collect in the urinary tract. According to the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse, many kidney stones are small enough to pass without notice. However, larger stones can cause sharp pain in the back, side and lower abdomen. The pain usually continues as your body tries to move the stone through a narrow tube called the ureter into your bladder. Most kidney stones don't require surgery. Your doctor may advise you to drink up to three quarts of water per day to help pass the stone.
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Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
MyClevelandClinic.org notes that persistent pain in your back, abdomen and groin may be due to an abdominal aneurysm. The aorta is a large blood vessel that runs from your heart to your abdomen. Sometimes, blood can cause a weak section of aorta to distend, like an inflated balloon. The aneurysm, or distended section of aorta, will cause pain if it continues to grow. Your doctor will need to identify the aneurysm through an ultrasound, CT scan or MRI; treatment usually involves surgery.
Women experiencing pain or abdominal swelling in combination with lower back or thigh pain should ask their doctors about ovarian cysts. The National Women's Health Information Center explains that a cyst is a sac that fills with fluid. They can form on the surface or the inside of your ovaries. While many cysts are harmless, others – such as dermoid cysts or cystadenomas – can cause pain. Your doctor can identify cysts using an ultrasound or a regular pelvic exam. Painful cysts can be surgically removed.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Another disease affecting women, PID, or Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, can cause both lower abdominal pain and lower back pain. According to the Boston Children's Hospital's Center for Young Women's Health, PID is a bacterial infection affecting the cervix that often spreads upward to the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes. It's usually caused by STDs such as gonorrhea or chlamydia, although it can also happen after surgery or an abortion. Your doctor will prescribe antibiotics to clear up the infection and monitor you for scarring that might affect your fertility.
Some of these conditions require immediate medical attention. If an aortic aneurysm ruptures, for example, you'll likely pass out or go into shock; the resultant internal bleeding must be stopped immediately. Ovarian cysts can sometimes become infected, causing dizziness, fever and vomiting. Monitor your symptoms carefully even after you receive a diagnosis. If you experience a sudden change or more severe pain, see your doctor immediately.
Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.