7 Causes and Treatments of Abdominal Pain in Women

Women usually suffer from pain in the lower abdomen. Sometimes abdominal pain in women can be an indication of infections and not just of the menstrual cycle. One needs to get medical emergency support.

Abdominal pain can be severe and, in some cases, is a root cause of anxiety in adults. Many reasons can lead to abdominal pain, such as indigestion, menstruation, diarrhea, appendicitis1, kidney stones, hernia, ovarian cysts, large bowel movements, abdominal ulcers, and so on. If the pain lasts longer and worsens over a certain period, it is advised to visit a doctor immediately to relieve the discomfort.

abdominal pain in women
Photo by Sora Shimazaki/ Pexels Copyrights 2020

1. Types of Abdominal Pain in Women

According to research, abdominal pain can vary depending on its cause.

Some common types of abdominal pain and their possible reasons are:

1.1. Gallstones or inflammation of the Organ

Sharp pain in the upper abdomen.

1.2. Ulcers

Pain in the upper stomach or a burning sensation.

1.3. Irregular Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Abdominal pain along with bloating.

abdominal pain in women
Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash Copyrights 2019

2. Why is abdominal Pain in Women More Common?

Pain in the abdominal region is common in more than 80% of females. This type of pain is often cramp-like, dull, achy, and sharp and can be caused due to a lot of issues like infections, inflammation, and intestinal disorders.

The most serious causes of lower abdominal pain in women are

  1. Dysmenorrhea
  2. Endometriosis
  3. Pelvic Inflammatory disease
  4. Ovarian cysts
  5. Pregnancy
  6. Diverticula

2.1. Dysmenorrhea

Dysmenorrhea is the medical term for severe menstrual pain. Menstruation generally occurs every month and, on average, lasts for five days. The main cause of abdominal pain during menstruation is the contraction of the uterus walls. This pain is often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and fatigue. It also causes bloating, tenderness of breasts, and in some cases, mild pain in the chest.

Primary Dysmenorrhea is a common pain in the lower back and thighs and sometimes in the chest and nipples. Some females experience heavy bleeding acute lower abdominal pain, and a burning sensation while passing urine which can be caused due to infection in female reproductive organs. This is known as secondary Dysmenorrhea.

2.1.1. Treatment

Some of the well-known methods to get relief from period pains are:

2.1.1.1. Applying Heat

Applying heat to your lower abdomen and back during periods can ease the pain to a great extent. Taking a hot shower or placing a hot water bag in the abdomen will provide comfort from acute stomach pain.

2.1.1.2. Drinking Fluids

Drinking fluids is known to reduce bloating, which in turn reduces the pain.

2.2. Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a health disorder in which a tissue called the endometrium grows outside the uterus. It involves the fallopian tubes, the tissue that lines the pelvis, and the ovaries.

Endometriosis causes severe abdominal pain and heavy bleeding during periods and can also lead to fertility problems.

2.2.1. Treatment

Endometriosis is diagnosed by pelvic exams, ultrasound, Magnetic Resonance Imaging(MRI), and laparoscopy. Different types of cures are

  • Hormone therapy
  • Hormonal Contraceptives
  • Conservative surgery
  • Danazol

2.3. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID2) is an infection that occurs in the female organs. The main cause of pelvic infection is when the sexually transmitted bacteria from the vagina reaches the uterus.

The most common symptoms of PID are:

  • Stomach pain,
  • Tenderness in the abdomen,
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge,
  • Burning sensation while peeing,
  • Fever and chills,
  • Pain during sexual intercourse

2.3.1. Treatment

Treatments for Pelvic Inflammatory Disease include temporary abstinence, antibiotics, and treatment of your partner to reduce the chances of re-infection. In this case, it is advised to visit a good doctor who can provide medical advice.

2.4. Ovarian Cysts

In most cases, ovarian cysts do not show any symptoms, whereas in serious cases, they can cause cramps, irregular bowel movements, pain during intercourse, and menstrual irregularities. Some causes of cysts are pelvic infection, pregnancy, endometriosis, and hormonal imbalance.

2.4.1. Treatment

Ovarian cysts 3may go away after some time on their own. If not, they can be treated using medicines, and in some cases, surgery might be required. If severe abdominal pain continues, it is always advised to visit a doctor.

2.5. Pregnancy

Some common symptoms of pregnancy are missed periods, breathlessness, vomiting, fatigue, fever, the urge to pee frequently, craving for certain foods, constipation, leg cramps, and changes in the breast. The pain in the abdomen experienced during this period can result from the pressure created by the fetus in the walls of the uterus.

2.5.1. Treatment

Many test kits are available these days to check if one is pregnant or not. Consult a gynecologist. If you are pregnant, you should always keep good health for yourself and your baby’s health.

2.6. Diverticula 

Diverticulosis is a health condition in which the intestine walls inflammation occurs. The main cause of this condition is the intake of high-fat and low-fiber foods.

Diverticula symptoms include consistent abdomen pain that lasts over a long period. The main site of the pain is usually the lower side of the abdomen. It also causes fever, nausea, vomiting, and constipation.

2.6.1. Treatment

In most cases, patients with diverticulosis do not show any symptoms; therefore, the disease remains unnoticed and does not require a diagnosis. To avoid further complications, people with diverticulosis 4should improve their eating habits by avoiding certain foods like fatty foods, food with artificial sweeteners, oily and greasy foods, and dairy.

3. Causes of Lower Abdominal Pain in Women Due to Bowel Movements

3.1. IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)

IBS is one of the most common causes of abdominal pain in women. IBS is also known as nervous stomach, irritable colon, or spastic colon. The site of this disorder is the large intestine. Due to the colon, the pain occurs in the lower left side of the abdomen.

Some of the symptoms include abdominal pain, constipation, bloating, and diarrhea. Serious causes and symptoms include:

  • Passing the blood through the rectum,
  • Weight loss,
  • Discomfort in swallowing,
  • Unexplained vomiting,
  • Deficiency of iron in the blood (anemia),
  • Infection in the urethra and bladder.

The symptoms vary from person to person. Chronic pain and pressure can lead to internal injury to organs and serious damage to the abdomen and bladder.

Treatment for IBS:

IBS 5can be generally controlled by managing eating habits, stress, and lifestyle. In case of long-term pain, the best advice is to seek advice from a doctor to locate injury to organs as it is cured by medications.

4. Other Reasons for Abdominal Pain

Apart from the gynecological problems, patients have been seen complaining about abdomen pain caused by several other reasons. One of the causes can be inflammation or infections in the following organs

  • Kidneys
  • Pancreas
  • Spleen
  • Appendix(the condition is called appendicitis)
  • The small and large intestines (if the intestines don’t get enough blood)
  • Stomach
  • Liver

Some people suffer from chronic abdominal pain in the lower and upper abdomen. In these cases, the pain is usually caused due to unhealthy eating habits. This type of pain is seen in adults as well as in children. Consulting doctors and getting a proper diagnosis are highly recommended in these cases.

abdominal pain in women
Photo by BDS /Unlimphotos

Some of the reasons include

  • Constipation
  • Stomach disorder
  • Vomiting
  • Inability to pass gas.

5. Medical Advice during Abdominal Pain in Women

5.1. In Case of Not-So-Severe Abdominal Pain in Women

It can be cured within a few hours at home by sipping water at regular intervals, avoiding solid food, avoiding smoking and consumption of alcohol, taking a hot shower, and performing light exercises.

Abdominal pain in women
Photo by Jared Rice on Unsplash Copyrights 2018

5.2. In Severe Cases of Abdominal Pain in Women

One should immediately seek help from a doctor and get a proper diagnosis. Performing blood tests and a couple of other tests helps the doctors diagnose the disorder, localize the potential source, and start the medications at the earliest.

6. Frequently Asked  Questions

6.1. What is the most common abdominal pain in women?

IBS is the most common abdominal pain in women. Symptoms include abdominal pain, constipation, bloating, and diarrhea.

6.2.How to relieve abdominal pain?

There are plenty of remedies to follow to ease the pain. It includes applying heat to the abdomen, taking a warm bath, drinking water, and avoiding caffeine and alcohol.

6.3. Can stress cause abdominal pain?

Yes. Abdominal pain can be related to stress. However, take professional advice as they can tell if the pain requires treatment.

6.4. When should I worry about my abdominal pain?

If the abdominal pain comes on suddenly, is severe, and you are feeling nauseated along with the pain, it is strongly recommended to seek a doctor’s help immediately.

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  1. Moris, Dimitrios, Erik Karl Paulson, and Theodore N. Pappas. “Diagnosis and management of acute appendicitis in adults: a review.” Jama 326.22 (2021): 2299-2311. ↩︎
  2. Borase, Rakesh P., et al. “A review of PID control, tuning methods and applications.” International Journal of Dynamics and Control 9 (2021): 818-827. ↩︎
  3. Buerlein, Ross CD, and Vanessa M. Shami. “Management of pancreatic cysts and guidelines: What the gastroenterologist needs to know.” Therapeutic Advances in Gastrointestinal Endoscopy 14 (2021): 26317745211045769. ↩︎
  4. Rangan, Vikram, and J. Thomas Lamont. “Small bowel diverticulosis: pathogenesis, clinical management, and new concepts.” Current gastroenterology reports 22 (2020): 1-7. ↩︎
  5. Camilleri, Michael. “Diagnosis and treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: a review.” Jama 325.9 (2021): 865-877. ↩︎

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Authors

Susanta Biswas
Apeksha soni

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