Pain in the Lower Left Side of the Abdomen for Females: What Is it?

September 1, 2023

Pain in the lower left side of the abdomen in females can indicate unique problems related to women’s health. Learn more about what can cause pain and when to seek medical attention.

Where is the pain coming from?

There are many organs on the left side of the abdomen. When experiencing lower left side pain, it could be coming from one of these organs, according to the Cleveland Clinic:

  • Small intestine
  • Colon
  • Appendix
  • Ovaries
  • Uterus
  • Ureter
  • Bladder
  • Peritoneum

Menstrual Cramps 

Pain in the lower left side of the abdomen for females commonly comes once a month with their menstrual cycle. For some women, menstrual cramps are sharp and intense, causing significant discomfort in the lower left abdomen. Applying a heating pad and taking over-the-counter pain relievers can help alleviate menstrual cramps. While mild cramps are normal during menstruation, severe pain may indicate an underlying issue. Be sure to talk with a healthcare provider.

Ovarian Cysts or Torsion 

Fluid-filled sacs, or cysts, can develop on or within the ovaries and may cause dull, achy pain in the lower left abdomen. If you experience irregular periods or changes in menstrual patterns and discomfort, consult your healthcare provider for further evaluation.

Ovarian torsion is when an ovary twists, cutting off its blood supply, leading to sharp and sudden pain. Head to the emergency room immediately if you experience intense pain, nausea, and vomiting. Surgery is required to untwist the ovary. If it’s not done timely, and the blood supply is cut off for too long, the ovary may no longer function properly.

Doctors at Yale Medicine say having an ovarian cyst puts you at risk for ovarian torsion. The cyst creates an imbalance and causes the ovary to twist.

Gastrointestinal Issues 

Constipation is one of the most common causes of dull pain in the lower left abdomen. When stool builds up in the colon, it can create pressure and discomfort. Gas can also become trapped throughout the colon as it works to move your stool along. This can also cause pain in the lower abdomen.

Increasing fiber intake, staying hydrated, and regularly exercising can help prevent and relieve constipation.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic gastrointestinal disorder that can cause cramping, bloating, and dull pain in the lower left abdomen. Maintaining a balanced diet, reducing stress, and identifying trigger foods can help manage IBS symptoms.

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) 

If pain in the lower left side of the abdomen in females isn’t the digestive or reproductive systems, it might be the urinary system.

UTIs can cause discomfort in the lower abdomen and cramping, especially during urination. If you experience frequent and urgent urination along with the pain, visit your doctor or local urgent care as soon as possible to prevent the infection from spreading to the kidneys.


Diverticulitis is a gastrointestinal issue.  It occurs when small pouches in the colon (diverticula) become inflamed or infected, leading to sharp pain in the lower left abdomen in females. Diverticulitis is common for those 40 years or older, according to the Mayo Clinic. It can also cause fever, nausea, and digestive issues. See a medical provider if your bowel habits change or bleeding accompanies abdominal pain. A mild case is treated with rest, a change in diet, and antibiotics, while severe or recurring cases may require surgery.

Ectopic Pregnancy

If you’re pregnant and experiencing sharp pain in the lower left abdomen and vaginal bleeding, you might have an ectopic pregnancy. That’s where the fertilized egg implants outside the uterus. If you believe this is what you’re experiencing, go to the emergency room immediately.

What to Do If Pain Persists?

As you can see, pain in the lower left side of the abdomen in females can mean many different things. The list above is only a few potential causes of pain in the lower left side. So, if you’re experiencing persistent pain, it’s crucial to act. Monitor your symptoms, including the frequency, intensity, and duration.  Your primary care providers, gastroenterologists, or gynecologists can help you determine where your pain is coming from.

Find Relief at AFC

If you’re experiencing lower left abdominal pain, find the source and a solution at your local American Family Care (AFC). No appointment is needed to receive a female physical exam. Plus, our clinics offer extended and weekend hours, so you can come any day of the week to find relief from your pain. Find a location near you.

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