Abdominal pain – causes, diagnosis and treatment

Abdominal pains

Although abdominal pain primarily affects women, men may also suffer from abdominal pain. Depending on the cause, the pelvic pain may be harmless or life threatening.

The organs in the lower abdomen

The lower abdomen is the area between the hip bones below the belly button. In this body region are various organs: urethra, ureters and urinary bladder, the lower section of the small and large intestine and a part of the male and the complete female genitalia.

The causes can thus be quite different and the abdominal pain can point to various ailments and diseases.

Causes of pain in the abdomen

If the abdominal pains are triggered by the genitals, the following will come Causes of abdominal pain in women in question:

period pain

Often menstruation is accompanied by pain in the lower abdomen. The technical term for this abdominal pain is dysmenorrhea. The pain is convulsive and can be felt both in the lower abdomen and in the back. A drawing pain in the abdomen may indicate ovulation. Severe menstrual pain could also be a symptom of endometriosis.


Endometriosis is a benign disease in which the endometrium (uterine lining) is also outside the uterus. Endometriosis is a disease with a chronic course, which is usually associated with very strong spasms and pain in the abdomen during menstruation.


Cervical inflammation causes burning pain in the lower abdomen, as well as bleeding from the vagina, vaginal discharge and itching.

Cysts on the ovaries

Small ovarian cysts (ovarian cysts) often go unnoticed and cause no pain. However, a larger cyst can twist, block the blood vessels and cause severe pain in the abdomen.

Ovarian and tubal inflammation

The triggers of so-called adnexitis are mostly gonococci, chlamydia or mycobacteria. The germs enter the vagina and from there into the uterus and into the ovaries. There they trigger an inflammation. In addition to severe abdominal pain, spotting and discharge occur.

ectopic pregnancy

In an ectopic pregnancy, a fertilized egg is nesting in the fallopian tube. At first, most of the signs of a normal pregnancy show up. In addition, the pregnancy hormone (beta HCG) is also formed, so that a pregnancy test indicates a normal pregnancy.

In case of ectopic pregnancy, however, severe abdominal pain and bleeding often occur. These signs should prompt a gynecologist before the fallopian tube can burst.

Uterine prolapse or uterine prolapse

Typical signs of uterine prolapse or uterine prolapse are back pain, a feeling of pressure in the lower abdomen, urgency and often a feeling of fullness.

Cervical cancer and other tumors

Abdominal pain can also be caused by cancer. In order to be able to detect a tumor at an early stage, women should have regular gynecological check-ups.

The following causes can be for Abdominal pain in men to be responsible:


Prostate inflammation is manifested by abdominal pain, pain during and after ejaculation, and pain when urinating.

testicular torsion

In a testicular torsion, the testicles twist on the strand and it comes to extremely strong pelvic pain. A testicular torsion is an emergency and it must be responded immediately, because the testicles can die within a few hours.

Inflammation of the testicles and epididymides

Epididymal inflammation is more common, while testicular inflammation is rare. The signs are very similar in both diseases. Among other things, it comes to severe pain as epididymis or testicles swell.

Testicular cancer or prostate cancer

While testicular cancer is usually painless, late stage prostate cancer is manifested by painful urination and abdominal pain.

Other causes

In addition to the genitals, the urinary tract or the digestive organs may be responsible for pain in the abdomen:

    urinary infection
    dull pain in the abdomen as well as pain during urination and blood in the urine Kidney stones or stones in the urinary bladder or in the ureter
    Piercing abdominal pain renal colic
    Spasmodic and stabbing pain in the abdomen bladder cancer
    Abdominal pains usually show up only at a later stage. The first sign is blood in the urine Appendicitis (appendicitis)
    First, pain occurs in the upper abdomen and stomach and later on the right side of the lower abdomen. polyps
    Intestinal polyps usually do not cause any symptoms at first, and only later do they show abdominal pain. These polyps are considered the precursor of cancer. rectal cancer
    This malignant tumor in the rectum causes cramping pelvic pain and bloody bowel movements only in the late stage diverticulitis
    These inflamed protuberances of the large intestine mucous membrane show up inter alia by stabbing pain in the abdomen Inflammatory bowel diseases
    Ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease or other inflammatory bowel disease are often accompanied by spasmodic, stabbing abdominal pain ileuss
    Ileus is an acute emergency involving severe stinging pelvic pain, vomiting, and stool hernia
    The inguinal hernia causes drawing pains in the abdomen abdominal aortic aneurysm
    This life-threatening disease usually only becomes noticeable shortly before the bursting of the abdominal aortic aneurysm. Then the pelvic pain is hard to bear and it must be immediately intervened surgically. Mesenteric
    This acute intestinal vascular occlusion must also be treated immediately. Already colic-like, strong pelvic pain can be seen here in the initial stage.

Strong pain in the abdomen: then you should immediately go to the doctor!

Since severe abdominal pain could be a life-threatening acute abdomen, you should go to the doctor immediately if the following symptoms occur:

    Strong, unceasing pain that continues to increase Hard, tense abdominal wall Blood in the urine or stool may cause chair behavior, vomiting, nausea and / or fever

Similarly, abdominal pain should be examined by the doctor, which persist for a long time or occur again.


The treatment of abdominal pain depends on the cause. The doctor has various examination methods available to find out the reason for the pelvic pain.

The first step is an anamnesis, which includes a detailed analysis of when the abdominal pain occurred, how long it lasts, whether it is unilateral or bilateral, and what the pain is.

Usually follows a physical examination. The abdomen and especially the lower abdomen are scanned.

Sonography (ultrasound) can detect changes in the abdominal organs and reproductive organs.

Women suffering from pain in the abdomen, usually a gynecological examination. In younger women often a pregnancy test is performed.

Other possible examinations for abdominal pain

    Examination of the stool and the urine Colonoscopy Blood analysis Swabs from the vagina or man from the urethra

If all examinations could not reveal a clear cause, a laparoscopy can be initiated.

Life-threatening pelvic pain caused for example by an ectopic pregnancy, an appendectomy or a testicular torsion will be promptly operated on.

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Christina Cherry
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