Stomach Hurting? Causes of Abdominal Pain

Source: Shutterstock

Stomach Hurting? Causes of Abdominal Pain

Last updated: Tuesday, February 23, 2021 | 4 min reading time

Sometimes, a stomach ache isn't just a call of nature but a sign of something serious. If you experience any unusual or persistent pain in your stomach or abdomen, it may be wise to seek medical advice.

What is causing your lower abdominal pain?

Causes of lower abdominal pain

The lower region of the abdomen is where your colon is located, and for women, your ovaries. Pain in this region may signal different types of health conditions arising from your intestines, urinary system or reproductive organs.

Pain located near the large intestine or colon may indicate:

Pain located in the lower abdomen could also indicate bladder issues such as:

In women, lower abdominal pain can be a symptom of:

In men, lower abdominal pain could indicate male-specific conditions such as:

If the pain is persistent and increases in intensity, it is a sign you should see a doctor or go to the Accident & Emergency (A&E) department at a nearby hospital.

Is it your colon?

Your colon is also known as the large intestine. Some conditions that can occur in your colon include:

Diverticulitis

If you experience the following symptoms, it could be diverticulitis, an inflammation of pouches in the wall of your intestines.

Appendicitis

This is an inflammation of the appendix at the end of your intestines. You may experience the following symptoms:

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

IBS is a common digestive problem that affects your bowel habits. It displays the following symptoms:

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

IBD refers to conditions affecting different parts of your colon, including Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Their symptoms include:

Hernia

A hernia is the protrusion of your organs through the muscles or fat surrounding them. You may experience symptoms including:

Is it your urinary system?

Your bladder is located in the lower abdomen and stores urine. Some bladder problems can cause pain in your abdomen region. Common causes of bladder pain and their symptoms include:

Urinary tract infection (UTI)

UTI occurs when bacteria enter your urethra and infects your bladder, and can lead to kidney issues. Symptoms include:

Acute retention of urine

This occurs when you are unable to empty your bladder even if it's full. You may experience the following symptoms:

Bladder stones

These are hard masses made up of minerals in your urine. Look out for the symptoms:

Bladder cancer

Bladder cancer occurs when unusual cells develop in the bladder. Symptoms of bladder cancer include:

When women experience lower abdominal pain

Generally, lower abdominal pain refers to pain below the belly button or lower down, which is called pelvic pain. It can arise from any tissues or organ systems in that area. In women, this includes reproductive organs, your ovaries, uterus (womb) or fallopian tubes. It may be a sign of ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids, endometriosis and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).

Ovarian cyst

Ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled pocket on your ovary. You may experience these symptoms:

Uterine fibroids

Uterine fibroids are benign lumps that grow in the wall of the uterus. Symptoms include:

Endometriosis

This condition occurs when the lining of your uterus grows outside the uterus, causing scar tissue and lesions. Signs of endometriosis may include:

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)

PID is an infection of your reproductive organs. Symptoms include:

When men experience lower abdominal pain

Lower abdominal pain in men could be due to general or male-specific conditions. Pain around the belly button may indicate early appendicitis or stomach ulcers, while pain just above the pubic bone may point to bladder or testicular issues or prostatitis. When pain is felt just on one side, it might be an indication of appendicitis, kidney stones or infection or hernias. These issues are relatively common among men.

Testicular torsion

A condition where the spermatic cord becomes twisted around your testicle, affecting blood supply. You may experience:

Prostatitis

This occurs when there is swelling or inflammation of the prostate, and can be due to a variety of factors. Symptoms to look out for:

What should you do next?

If you are suffering from severe abdominal pain, you should visit an A&E department.

If your pain is persistent but manageable, you should still make an appointment to see a doctor to uncover the possible causes of it. Your doctor may order tests and scans to determine your condition. You may be referred to a specialist who can help to diagnose and treat the cause of your pain.

During a medical emergency in Singapore, you can also call +65 6473 2222 for an ambulance that will transport you to the nearest hospital or a hospital of your choice. Learn more about Parkway Emergency services.

Appendicitis (n.d.). Retrieved August 16, 2018, from https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/digestive-diseases-appendicitis#1

A visual guide to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) (n.d.). Retrieved August 16, 2018 from https://www.webmd.com/ibd-crohns-disease/ss/slideshow-inflammatory-bowel-overview

Ellsworth, P. (2017, November 21) Inability to Urinate. Retrieved August 16, 2018, from https://www.emedicinehealth.com/inability_to_urinate/article_em.htm#when_should_someone_seek_medical_care_for_an_inability_to_urinate

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (n.d.). Retrieved August 16, 2018 from https://www.webmd.com/ibs/guide/digestive-diseases-irritable-bowel-syndrome#2

Testicular Torsion (n.d.) Retrieved August 16, 2018, from https://www.webmd.com/men/testicular-torsion

Lower Abdominal Pain in Men – Causes and Treatments (2020, January 2) Retrieved September 21, 2020, from https://www.netdoctor.co.uk/conditions/digestive-health/a30379953/lower-abdominal-pain-in-men/

Lower Abdominal Pain in Women: 15 Possible Causes and Treatments (2020, August 8) Retrieved September 21, 2020, from https://www.netdoctor.co.uk/conditions/digestive-health/a11617/lower-abdominal-pain-in-women/

Article tags

Gut health Men's health Women's health