Lower abdominal pain can be alarming, especially when it is not apparently clear what is causing the discomfort. Unfortunately, some women are all too familiar with the array of conditions that can cause abdominal pain, some attributed to the female anatomy. Other causes of abdominal pain are simply part of the human condition and can easily be treated with over the counter medications that can relieve the symptoms.
The female monthly cycle often causes abdominal pain and discomfort. The cramps that are associated with menstruation can range in intensity from mild to severe and are a result of uterine contractions. The contractions help the female body release blood from the uterus via the vagina using a process of squeezing and relaxation of the cervical muscles. MayoClinic describes these abdominal cramps as a slight throbbing pain within the area of the lower abdomen that may radiate to the lower back and upper thighs.
Calcified deposits that form when urine is produced are known as "kidney stones." These stones can sometimes be difficult to pass through the normal process of urination. Obstruction of the ureter by a kidney stone can cause painful contractions when the urinary tract attempts to pass the stone. Although kidney stones are not exclusive to women, the University of Maryland Medical Center reports that a condition known as hyperparathyroidism affects more females than males. The hyperparathyroid condition greatly increases the risks of developing kidney stones; causing great discomfort for the women who experience the pain associated with the condition. Kidney stones often cause pain in the lower abdomen, groin area and the lower back.
Females who become constipated, or experience a bout of diarrhea, may develop lower abdominal pain. Diarrhea often causes cramping in the lower abdomen that can be quite severe, but easily rectified when the diarrhea passes or an oral anti-diarrheal medication is taken. In cases of constipation, lower abdominal pain can sometimes be intolerable. The use of a stool softener and a high fiber diet can help relieve this problem of constipation for most women.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection that usually begins in the vagina or cervix, and is considered a sexually transmitted disease (STD). The infection eventually spreads to the uterus and fallopian tubes, causing severe lower abdominal pain. WomensHealth.gov explains that PID is caused by a bacteria, and can be avoided by practicing safe sex and using a condom correctly as well as abstaining from sex completely. PID is treatable with antibiotics, but it is possible to become reinfected.
According to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, a pregnancy is considered ectopic when a fertilized egg does not implant itself in the uterus, but instead grows outside of it; often in the fallopian tubes. In this case, the pregnancy is not viable and must be treated surgically to prevent a rupture of the fallopian tube. The lower abdominal pain associated with an ectopic pregnancy can come on suddenly and intensifies over time.
Fibroids and Endometriosis
Fibroid pain occurs in the central part of the lower abdomen and usually begins as a slight cramping that has the potential of becoming quite painful if not treated. Fibroids grow within the walls of the uterus and are usually accompanied by abnormally heavy periods. Endometriosis is another condition that causes pain and frustration in women, and is defined by the presence of uterine cells "outside" the uterus. Endometriosis.org reports that endometriosis is the most common cause of lower abdominal pain, and its treatment depends on the woman's age, and her future pregnancy plans.