This Is What's Really Causing The Pain In Your Lower Left Abdomen

The abdomen is home to many organs — the stomach, kidneys, liver, appendix, and more — so when you have abdominal pain, it can be hard to know what the culprit is. There can be many reasons for pain specific to the lower left abdomen, alone.

Abdominal pain typically is nothing to be concerned about and will resolve on its own (via Healthline). Gas can cause sharp cramps as air passes through the digestive tract after eating and swallowing air. Indigestion can cause discomfort when the stomach or bowel are irritated by acid after eating. Hernias can also be a source of pain, as internal organs begin to push through nearby muscle or tissue, usually creating a bulge. If you have kidney stones, you may feel sharp pain in the lower abdomen as the stone moves around inside the kidney or begins to travel down the urinary tract. Shingles can also cause severe pain, usually accompanied by a rash. Other sources of abdominal pain in women are menstrual cramps, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disorder, or ovarian cysts.

The most common cause of your pain

When it comes to the lower left abdomen, the most common cause of the localized pain is a disease called diverticulitis, according to the Mayo Clinic. Diverticulitis happens when small sacs form in the lining of the colon and become inflamed or infected. When the colon becomes weak and pressure builds up, certain spots can give way and cause marble-sized sacs to protrude through the colon wall, often bursting and creating an infection. This can cause intense abdominal pain, usually on the lower left side but sometimes on the right side, especially for those of Asian descent. You're more likely to develop diverticulitis if you're over 40 years old, are obese, smoke cigarettes, lack exercise, have a low fiber diet, or take certain medications like steroids or ibuprofen.

Luckily, mild diverticulitis often goes away with a course of antibiotics and a temporary diet change to liquids only (via Mayo Clinic). If your case is more complicated, you may require hospitalization for intravenous antibiotics or the draining of an abscess, and sometimes surgery is needed. If you're experiencing lower left abdominal pain and are concerned, you should contact your healthcare provider immediately.