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Why Lower Abdominal And Back Pain In Women?

Why Lower Abdominal And Back Pain In Women

Perhaps the question that is asked the most is why women have lower abdominal pain and back pain. This is also known as pelvic pain.

It mostly occurs in areas below the belly button, close to the pelvis region, and may radiate to the lower back, neck, and shoulders.

Often caused by pregnancy, emotional factors, infections, ovulation, menstruations, and many more in women.

It can lead to complications that affect the womb and surrounding tissues if not treated early on.

Pelvic Pain And Back Pain In Women

Lower abdominal pain is often linked to areas below the belly button and very low down in the pelvis region.

It is usually also referred to as pelvic pain.

Pelvic pain and back pain affects women because of various causes.

It is often described as a sharp, dull, cramps or burning sensation that comes and goes or a continuous occurrence, as seen sometimes.

This ache can occur anywhere around the belly button and groin, right above the pubic bone, on one side, or as generalized pain.

Sometimes this pain is a sign that there is something wrong with the reproductive system or organs of the lower abdomen and pelvis, such as the rectum, urinary bladder, ovaries, and fallopian tube.

Or It could signify an underlying infection. Regardless of the cause, it is best to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

This condition is extremely common in women and known to affect at least one in six women during their lifetime.

A typical symptom of pelvic pain and back pain and discomfort may mimic one another or change.

This is because some causes of pelvic or lower abdominal pain may have similar signs, they may also co-occur separately or together.

For example, a woman might experience post-menstrual symptoms and have an infection.

These two conditions can have the same symptoms that mimic one another with little difference.

Other symptoms to look out for in lower abdominal or pelvic pain and back pain include a feeling of fullness or heaviness in the lower abdomen, pain, and discomfort that may feel like a dull throbbing sensation or sharp cramping feeling.

Symptoms may be frequent or occur intermittently.

Causes Of Pelvic Pain And Lower Back Pain

There are many causes of pelvic pain and lower back pain in women, some of which are;

Sexually Transmitted Infections

Sexually transmitted infections, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea, are often accompanied by pelvic pain, painful urination, vaginal discharge, and bleeding in between periods. 

This infection is very common, most especially in people who are sexually active.

Sometimes it may be the woman who has the infection, and other times it may be the man that infects the woman.

Treatment may include antibiotics, injections, and abstinence from sexual activity while receiving treatment.

To prevent spread, it is critical to inform sexual partners to get tested and begin necessary treatment.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

This is a deadly infection that can damage the surrounding tissues of the womb, which is more likely to increase a woman’s risk of infertility.

It arises because of complications from sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhea or chlamydia when harmful vaginal bacteria travels down to the cervix and womb and then multiply.

Symptoms include abnormal discharge and bleeding. Physicians usually recommend early treatment to avoid scarring and complications.

Menstrual Pain

Menstrual pain is one of the most prevalent symptoms of PMS in women. Most women experience pain during the first 1-3 days of each menstrual cycle.

Pain may start as a slight cramping sensation, similar to a muscle spasm that occurs just before period days.

However, pain intensity level varies for every woman as some experience severe pain.

Pelvic pain, such as a jabbing feeling in the lower abdominal, back pain, and mood swings, are symptoms that often cooccur.

Mild heat therapy and over-the-counter medications are usually recommended for relief.

Ovulation

Every woman goes through the ovulation process after a period, but not every woman experiences pain during this process.

Ovulation is the period when an egg is released from the ovaries.

This egg then travels down to the fallopian tube and the uterus, where it may or may not be fertilized depending on sexual activity.

Women are more fertile during this period. Painful ovulation may feel like a temporary stinging sensation on one side of the lower abdomen.

It may last for as long as some minutes or an hour and switch to the other side of the pelvis. However, this depends on the ovary that releases the egg.

Urinary Tract Infection

UTI or cystitis is a bacteria infection that leads to inflammation of the bladder.

Urinary tract infection can occur anywhere in the body, like the vagina, skin, or rectal, before affecting the urethra and bladder.

Cystitis occurs only in the bladder.

This infection may involve the use of antibiotics or some lifestyle changes to clear up, or they may sometimes heal on their own.

Ectopic Pregnancy

An ectopic pregnancy is a non-visible pregnancy where the fertilized egg gets attached or implants itself to areas other than the womb, such as the fallopian tube.

This is a life-threatening occurrence that can cause ruptures in the fallopian tube and endanger the mother’s life and fertility.

It is often mistaken as normal pregnancy in its early stage because of some similar signs like mild cramps, nausea, sore breasts.

Alarming symptoms include sharp, stabbing, and intense pain on one side of the abdomen, which may radiate towards the lower back, neck, or shoulders.

Treatment may involve medications to help dissolve the pregnancy or surgery sometimes.

Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

This is a dysfunction of the bowel movement. It involves severe spasms or contractions in the supporting muscles of the vagina, rectum, and womb.

Mostly caused by injury or vaginal trauma during childbirth.

it causes severe pain in the lower abdomen, back, and groin, pain during sex, problems with straining while stooling, frequent urination, and burning sensation when urinating.

The Emotional Factor And Cause

Pelvic pain and back pain are not always caused by sexual or medical factors.

Sometimes there can be emotional factors like stress, anxiety, and depression that trigger them.

Studies show that people with post-traumatic stress disorder are more susceptible to pain. Issues like sexual abuse are also prone to cause pelvic pain in women.

These emotional factors may not directly cause pelvic or back pain, but their impact on an individual lifestyle can lead to situations that trigger lower abdominal pain.

However, this pain can occur in varying degrees of severity and duration.

What Should You Do To Get Relief From Pelvic Pain And Back Pain?

Depending on the severity and reoccurrence of pelvic pain and back pain, an initial diagnosis and evaluation by your gynecologist is usually recommended.

This comprises a series of physical tests and exams, which may include pressure on the different parts of your abdomen to check for tenderness, swelling, and sensitivity.

A questionnaire is given for a better assessment of general health, accompanying symptoms, and type of pain experienced. Questions may include;

  • Onset of pain and area of occurrence
  • Duration of pain
  • Type of sensation felt
  • Relation between pain and sexual activity, urination and menstrual cycle
  • Underlying medical conditions

Self-medication is not always recommended for pelvic pain and back pain, as symptoms can easily be aggravated.

Heating pads can be used on the stomach or affected area in cases of menstrual cycle disorders.

While other infections causing pain may require medications and lifestyle changes to help relieve pain.

When To See A Physician

Mild symptoms may go away on their own, however, there are others that require an immediate visit to your physician or gynecologist.

If you experience any of the following along with pelvic or back pain, visit your health center as soon as possible.

Prolonged pain

Pain that lasts for over 24 hours, severe, stabbing, throbbing, or debilitating sensation that affects functionality, should be diagnosed and treated early on.

Unexplained weight loss

Food sensitivity, eating, drinking, or other underlying medical health issues can trigger sudden weight loss, changes in appetite, and pain.

Long-lasting constipation

Do you often feel bloated? Even after defecating? Does your lower abdomen feel very sensitive to touch? If yes, then go for a proper check-up and diagnosis.

Burning sensation

Chronic infections can cause a burning sensation when urinating, bloating. It can become quite debilitating and affect the womb if it is not treated on time.

Fever

Unexplained and irregular temperature, headaches, and fatigue that occur with pelvic and back pain should be explained to your physician for proper treatment.

Pelvic pain can be painful or mild, depending on the cause.

Do not self-medicate if you have a severe case of pain or infection. Always treat sexual partners as well to avoid recurrence of infections.

Follow all instructions given and go for regular check-ups.

References:

Patient: What’s causing your pelvic pain?

Medicalnewstoday: What causes pelvic pain in women?

Netdoctor: Lower abdominal pain in women: 15 possible causes and treatments

Allwomenscarela: Abdominal Pain

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