Pain in the lower abdomen is known to many women, as it is often a completely natural companion of menstrual bleeding. But often pain does not occur in connection with certain days of the menstrual cycle.

“Lower abdominal pain is a very common complaint among my patients and can occur at any time,” says Niket Sonpal, MD, assistant clinical professor at the Touro School of Osteopathic Medicine in New York. “Of course, cramps are more pronounced in some women during menstrual bleeding, but there are other factors that can provoke them at any time.”

It is important not only to correctly determine the localization of discomfort, but also to separate spasms as a result of completely natural uterine contractions and pain in the lower abdomen, which is a symptom of the disease. The following 7 reasons can be its culprits.

irritable bowel syndrome

The exact mechanism for the development of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is still unknown, but experts believe that stress hormones make this organ more sensitive to irritants, resulting in dyspepsia (diarrhea or constipation). Hyperactivity of the nervous system causes the muscles of the intestinal walls to actively contract. This leads to spasms and pain.

“Most people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) find that flare-ups often occur during stressful situations, such as the first weeks of a new job,” Sonpal explains. But although stress can exacerbate pathological symptoms, it does not cause them.

About 2/3 of IBS patients are women. Moreover, their condition usually worsens during menstrual bleeding, which is also associated with hormonal levels. Medical statistics says that most of them do not address their problems to specialists. And it’s completely in vain, since the doctor may recommend a special diet and medications that will help alleviate or eliminate unpleasant symptoms.

Muscle pain

Muscle pain

“Abdominal cramps and pain are not always associated with bowel function,” says Sonpal. Sometimes their cause is simply a stretching of the abdominal muscles. Pain can be the result of physical exercises (for example, Pilates) or occur against the background of daily activities, with sudden movements.

Muscle strain is quite naturally accompanied by pain, spasms, which can be calmed by rest. It is also necessary to increase the hydration of the whole body so that it can recover as quickly as possible.


Problems with bowel movements generate waves of pain in different areas of the colon. Patients usually complain that the pain that accompanies constipation is constantly moving, migrating, following the efforts of the intestinal muscles, trying to push the stool forward. If a lot of pressure is required to move the stool, the colon expands in a certain area, and a spasm occurs.

“By adding more water and fiber to your diet, constipation can be avoided,” Sonpal says. If bowel problems persist, laxatives may be needed, but should not be taken on their own. The doctor should make an appointment after a detailed examination.

Crohn’s disease

Crohn's disease

This is an autoimmune condition in which antibodies attack your own gastrointestinal tract. Its symptoms are:

  • pain;
  • diarrhea (with or without blood);
  • ulceration of the mucous membranes of the gastrointestinal tract along its entire length, etc.

This chronic disease requires ongoing treatment, including antibiotic therapy, to achieve or prolong remission. Therefore, if you suffer from abdominal pain, it is necessary to exclude Crohn’s disease. In order to refute or confirm a presumptive diagnosis, the doctor may prescribe:

  • laboratory tests;
  • colonoscopy;
  • endoscopy, etc.


Many women are familiar with the unpleasant pain of moderate intensity in the lower abdomen, which is associated with ovulation. They disturb about 14 days before the start of the next menstrual cycle. “Typically, problems with premenstrual syndrome have one thing in common: prostaglandins (hormones that mobilize the body to fight pain) are produced,” says Mary Jane Minkin, clinical professor at the Yale School of Medicine.

When ovulation occurs, the body produces small amounts of prostaglandin, which can cause the smooth muscles in the uterus and intestines to contract. For the same reason, some women suffer from intestinal cramps and diarrhea during menstrual bleeding.

A doctor can relieve suffering by prescribing prophylactic birth control pills. “They really help get rid of spasms, as they block ovulation and inhibit the production of prostaglandins,” Minkin explains.

Another possible treatment option is taking anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, naproxen. They stop the production of prostaglandins. But a specialist should also appoint them.



One of the most common causes of abdominal pain is increased gas formation in the intestines. It may be due to bacterial overgrowth.

Although flatulence sometimes brings trouble and embarrassment, it is very common and does not go beyond the norm for the human body. If you hold back gases, the colon expands and spasms occur. Therefore, experts believe that when it becomes necessary to part with the accumulated gases, it is important to find an opportunity and release them from the intestines, like a genie from a bottle.


Women, experiencing abdominal pain, primarily associate an unpleasant symptom with gynecological problems. But the culprit is often the digestive tract. “The confusion happens because the internal reproductive organs and intestines are close neighbors in a woman’s body,” Minkin notes. “I had to diagnose diverticulitis in many women who came to see me with pain, cramps in the lower abdomen, believing that the pathological symptoms are associated with their genitals.”

Inflammation of the diverticulum (pouch-like bowel) in the lower digestive tract causes intense cramps in the lower abdomen, as well as fever, nausea, and other troubles. When they appear, it is important to consult a doctor. The disease can be treated with antibiotics and some other drugs, diet, lifestyle changes. However, severe or recurrent diverticulitis requires surgery.

Endosurgical treatment of elderly and senile patients with benign ovarian tumors / Safi G.H. // obstetrics and gynecology 2009 #6

Laparoscopic sacrocolpopexy using a synthetic mesh prosthesis in patients with genital prolapse / Kiselev SI, Egorov Kh.K., Tsikarishvili MM // Reproduction problems 2009 T. 15 No. 2