Cramping and vaginal discharge can occur together due to some medical conditions, including bacterial, viral, and yeast infections, among other causes.
Lower abdominal pain is pain that occurs at or below the belly button. This pain can be:
Vaginal discharge can be normal. The vagina produces secretions as a way to clean itself and maintain its pH balance. Infections can affect the vagina’s pH level, which may result in changes in vaginal discharge. Abnormal vaginal discharge may have:
Here are 11 possible causes of lower abdominal pain and vaginal discharge.
Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is an infection in the vagina caused by bacteria. Read more about BV.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a viral infection that’s passed between people through skin-to-skin contact. Read more about HPV risks.
Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that occurs in the cervix. Read more about cervical cancer and yearly screenings.
Menstruation occurs when the uterus sheds its lining once a month. Some pain, cramping, and discomfort during menstrual periods is normal. Read more about painful menstruation.
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of the female reproductive organs. Read more about seeking treatment for PID.
Trichomoniasis (“trich”) is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). It’s very common. Read more about trichomoniasis and how it’s treated.
Vaginal yeast infections, also known as candidiasis, are common in women. Symptoms include intense itching, swelling, and irritation. Read more about preventing yeast infections.
In the case of an ectopic pregnancy, the fertilized egg doesn’t attach to the uterus. Instead, it may attach to the fallopian tube, abdominal cavity, or cervix. Read more about ectopic pregnancies.
Urethritis is a condition in which the urethra — the tube that carries urine from the bladder to outside the body — becomes inflamed and irritated. Read more about urethritis.
Dysfunctional uterine bleeding (DUB) is a condition that affects nearly every woman at some point in her life. DUB is a condition that causes vaginal bleeding to occur outside of the regular menstrual cycle. Read more about DUB and treatment options.
Urinary incontinence happens when you lose control of your bladder. Read more on the three types of urinary incontinence.
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:
- bloody vaginal discharge unrelated to your menstrual cycle
- 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.
The way your doctor treats these symptoms 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 manage 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 douching.
- Avoid using perfumed products around your vagina, such as deodorant body washes.
- You may wish to avoid sexual intercourse until your symptoms are gone.
- Take all medications as prescribed.
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as ibuprofen, to relieve lower abdominal pain.
Practicing good hygiene and sexual habits can help prevent these symptoms. Examples include:
- always using a condom during sexual intercourse
- keeping 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
It’s also important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Eat small meals, drink plenty of water, and exercise regularly.