There are many organs on the left side of the abdomen and thus any pain in this area can be due to various reasons. It is very important to know the exact reason of the pain so that it can be treated accurately and promptly.
The pain on the left side of the abdomen can be due to either from organs and structures which are on the left side and also from organs and structures which are not on the left side. Women are more likely to suffer from lower left side abdomen pain since they have more number of organs in this area.
The organs in the left side of the abdomen can be divided into upper left side and lower left side.
Organs in the upper left side of the abdomen are;
- Part of the bowel or large intestine
- Part of the pancreas
- A portion of the stomach
- Left kidney
- Skin, Muscles and left lower ribs that cover these organs
- Left side of the liver
- Top area of the left ureter
- Top area of left lungs
- Left side’s adrenal gland
Organs in the lower left side of the abdomen are;
Many organs in the lower area are a continuation of the organs which are in the upper area and there are some organs which are only placed in this area.
- Lower side of the kidney
- Left ureter
- Part of the large bowel
- Sigmoid Colon
- Part of the urinary bladder
- Large blood vessels and nerves
- Left tube and ovary in women
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The pain on the left side of the abdomen is not pleasant. The severity, recurrence and the type of pain are important aspects that need to be noted by the patient and doctor to provide correct diagnosis.
What are the causes of lower left abdomen pain in women?
Pain in the lower left side of the abdomen is a common thing among women. Most of the times women experience lower abdomen pain during their menstrual cycle. However the intensity of the pain will differ for all women.
In many situations it becomes very difficult for the doctor to diagnose the exact reason of this pain in women. But noting certain significant features can be helpful for the doctor to understand the cause and provide the right treatment.
Some of the most common causes for the lower left abdomen pain in women are;
- Urinary disorders which can be some problems with the bladder, kidney or bowel
- Reproductive system problems which can be related to the uterus, fallopian tube or ovaries.
Pain from the Urinary System:
Urinary infection is one of the most common factors that can cause pain and the symptoms during this infection will be burning sensation while passing urine and frequently passing urine.
If a woman is suffering from severe pain that spreads from the back to the groin then this could be a sign of having kidney stones. For diagnosing this, the doctor will suggest a urine test to detect if there are stones in the kidney.
In cases where there is blood in the urine it is very important that this be told to the doctor. Such symptoms indicate a critical infection and will need to be tested and diagnosed immediately.
Tumors are not very common in urinary system, so the doctor will first study the symptoms and duration and only then suggest for tests if there is any doubt of a tumor.
Pain from the Digestive System:
Pain can be from the large intestine due to some infection of the bowel. This pain can be caused to men and women both of any age group. Some of the symptoms that indicate that there is some bowel problem or infection are;
- Pain while passing motion
- Losing blood while passing motion
- Change in the bowel movement
- Bloating & Swelling
A woman may also experience pain if she is suffering from constipation or diarrhea. The pain caused due to this keeps coming and going. The other possible causes of pain due to bowel problems can be Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) which can also lead to diarrhea, constipation or bloating and diverticular diseases which is more commonly seen in older patients.
Symptoms like bleeding from the back passage or black motions should be immediately reported to the doctor. These symptoms require further investigation and immediate diagnosis followed by treatment.
Pain from the Reproductive organs:
This pain can be caused in the uterus, fallopian tube or ovaries and is felt in the middle portion of the lower abdomen. The pain which is felt more towards the side can be from the ovary. The pain from the uterus is more severe during the menstrual cycle of the women. This is also called dysmenorrhea. In some cases the problems in the reproductive system can cause pain during intercourse which is known as dyspareunia. If a women is suffering from any pain during intercourse then the doctor needs to be informed. The main two causes of lower left abdomen pain in women due to issues in the reproductive system are given below:
If the uterus tissue lining does not grow in the uterine cavity and rather grows outside it causes endometriosis. The pain caused by this infection is very unpleasant and can be accompanied with constipation or diarrhea.
If the fetus is not growing inside the uterus it is termed as ectopic pregnancy. If a pregnant woman experiences lower left abdomen pain then the gynecologist needs to be informed immediately as this can lead to complications if ignored.
How will the doctors diagnose the cause of the pain in the lower left abdomen?
The doctor will first study the patient by asking lots of questions which will be about the menstrual cycle, the regularity of the cycle, the severity and frequency of the pain, urine and bowel movements. They will also enquire if there are any other symptoms the woman is experiencing like fever, weakness, nausea or vomiting. It is very important for the doctor to be able to understand the root cause of the pain by analyzing these symptoms and giving them guidance for further tests if required. They doctor will also make a note of the patients and her family medical history, personal and professional life and sex life.
Once the doctor has gathered all the information he/she will conduct a personal examination of the abdomen and if necessary will also conduct an internal examination which can be vaginal, rectal or at times both.
The doctor in many cases will ask the patient to give a urine sample for testing if the pain is due to some urine infection. And if the patient is complaining of vaginal discharge or any similar symptom the doctor will ask the patient to take some vaginal swabs.
Basis the symptoms of the patient and the time period these symptoms last the doctor will decide what further investigation and tests are required for treating the patient.
- Pain due to problems in the reproductive organs will require vaginal swabs, cervical smears or ultrasound of the pelvic area and this at times may be performed within the vagina. If the doctor suspects ovarian cancer then there will be specialized blood test to detect the actual cause.
- Pain due to urine infection or some other problems in the urine system can be diagnosed through urine culture, ultrasound or CT scan.
- Pain due to problems in the digestive system will require internal endoscopic examination of the bowel
To determine the actual source of the pain in the lower left abdomen is important. At times the pain may be from some other organs which are not in the left abdomen or it can be from the back. The doctor should be skilled to understand the cause of the pain and give proper guidance to the patient. For certain infections or problems the patient will have to undergo treatment from a specialist.
Now that the causes are known for the pain in the lower left abdomen there are certain simple lifestyle changes a person can incorporate to cure themselves from the infection, to reduce the impact of the symptoms and avoid falling ill.
Change in Diet Plan
Many of these problems can be resolved by bringing about changes in the diet and eating healthy food.
- Drink lot of fluids, about 8 – 10 glasses a day
- Eat food that provides adequate nutrients to the body
- Avoid food that increases the chances of abdomen pain
Exercising regularly is a good practice that will help the body become healthy and fight against most of the infections and diseases. Women must try to include exercise in their daily schedule no matter how occupied or busy they are. Exercising will help keep the body fit and the mind refreshed.
Lack of sleep can make a person weak and lead to several problems and illness. One must ensure that they get sufficient sleep to recharge the body each day. Ideally adults should sleep for around 6 – 8 hours daily.
Lastly the most important aspect is that if women are experiencing lower left abdomen pain which is not the normal pain experienced during the menstrual cycle then the doctor needs to be consulted. Make a note in the mind of the food eaten, activities done before experiencing the pain. And once the cause is diagnosed take the necessary treatment for the cure of the illness and relief from the pain.