Hesperian Health Guides
Chapter 21: Pain in the Lower Abdomen
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How to use this chapter:
- Follow the advice for sudden, severe pain in the belly or abdomen.
- Look up the different kinds of pain and click the links listed there to find the problems in other parts of the book.
- If you are still unsure of the cause of the pain, look at the questions about pain in the abdomen.
- Also see information on how to examine a woman with pain in the abdomen.
Pain should not be a normal part of a woman’s life—it is a sign that something is wrong. Seek care before you are so ill that you cannot stand, walk, or talk.
Most women have pain in the lower belly or abdomen at some time in their lives. Often women are taught that this pain is normal for them, and that they should endure such pain in silence. Some people think that a woman’s pain is not serious until she cannot stand, walk or talk. But when a woman waits that long to seek care for pain, the result could be serious infection, infertility, loss of a pregnancy, and even death.
This chapter describes different kinds of pain in the lower abdomen (below the navel), and what might be causing the pain. Some pain in the lower abdomen spreads above the navel and could have other causes. Some problems of the lower abdomen will also cause pain in the low back. If the pain seems different from what is described in this chapter, see a health worker trained to give an abdominal exam.