Lower abdominal pain and vaginal discharge Lower abdominal pain is pain that occurs at or below the belly button. This pain can be: cramp-like achy dull sharp Vaginal discharge is normal. The vagina produces secretions as a way to clean itself and maintain... Read more
Lower abdominal pain and vaginal discharge
Lower abdominal pain is pain that occurs at or below the belly button. This pain can be:
Vaginal discharge is normal. The vagina produces secretions as a way to clean itself and maintain its pH balance. However, infections can affect the vagina’s pH level, resulting in changes in vaginal discharge. Abnormal vaginal discharge may have:
- a foul odor
- a cottage cheese-like consistency
- an unusual color, such as yellow or green
What causes lower abdominal pain and vaginal discharge?
Bacterial, fungal, and viral infections are common causes of vaginal discharge and lower abdominal pain.
Conditions associated with vaginal pain and discharge can range from mild to severe. They include the following:
- Bacterial vaginosis is a vaginal infection that occurs due to an overgrowth of bacteria.
- Human papillomavirus (HPV) or cervical cancer can cause a bloody, brown, or watery vaginal discharge along with a foul odor.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) occurs due to infection of the upper reproductive organs and abdominal structures. This infection is commonly a sexually transmitted infection (STI), such as chlamydia or gonorrhea
- Trichomoniasis occurs due to a parasite.
- A yeast infection occurs due to a fungus.
- Mittelschmerz is abdominal pain that occurs during ovulation.
When to seek medical help
Seek immediate medical help if your lower abdominal pain is sharp or severe and you’re experiencing a fever, uncontrolled vomiting, or chest pain.
Make an appointment with your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- a bloody vaginal discharge unrelated to your menstrual cycle
- a burning sensation when urinating
- lower abdominal pain that lasts longer than 24 hours
- pain during sexual intercourse
- unexplained weight loss
This information is a summary. Seek medical attention if you think you need urgent care.
How are lower abdominal pain and vaginal discharge treated?
The way your doctor treats these symptoms differently depends on what’s causing them. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics for infections such as PID or STIs. They may prescribe topical or oral antifungal medications for a yeast infection.
Your doctor will decide how to treat HPV or cervical cancer based on the severity of the condition. In some instances, your doctor may recommend surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy.
You can do the following at home to help treat your symptoms:
- Eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of water to help to reduce adverse effects from vaginal infections.
- Wear clean cotton underwear, and keep your vagina clean.
- Avoid using perfumed products around your vagina, such as deodorant body washes.
- You may wish to avoid sexual intercourse until you don’t have any symptoms.
- Take all medications as prescribed.
- You may also wish to take an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as ibuprofen, to relieve lower abdominal pain.
How can you prevent lower abdominal pain and vaginal discharge?
Practicing good hygiene and sexual habits can help to prevent these symptoms. Examples include:
- always using a condom during sexual intercourse
- keeping your stress levels low
- keeping the vagina clean and dry
- refraining from douching, which can irritate the vaginal tissues
- wiping from front to back after going to the bathroom
Maintain a healthy lifestyle as well. Eat small meals, drink plenty of water, and exercise regularly.