Diverticulitis, hernias, endometriosis, and testicular torsion are just a few possible causes of lower abdominal pain. Get medical help if your pain comes on suddenly or is accompanied by symptoms such as fever or vomiting.

The lower left side of your abdomen is home to the last part of your colon, and for those who have them, the left ovary. Minor pain in this area is usually nothing to worry about. It may clear up on its own in a day or so.

If your lower abdominal pain is related to an accident or injury, or you feel pressure or pain in your chest, call 911 or your local emergency services.

Ask someone to help you get to an urgent care facility or an emergency room if you have:

Read on to learn more about lower left abdominal pain, several causes and treatments, and when to speak with a doctor.

A note on sex and gender

We use the terms “female” and “male” in this article to reflect the anatomy and chromosomes of sex assigned at birth.

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In many cases, persistent pain specific to the lower left side of the abdomen is caused by diverticulitis.

Diverticula are small pouches created from pressure on weak spots in the colon. Diverticula are common and even more so after age 65. When a pouch tears, swelling and infection might cause diverticulitis.

Other symptoms may include:

  • fever
  • nausea or vomiting
  • diarrhea or constipation
  • abdominal tenderness

Treatment for diverticulitis depends on the severity of your symptoms. For mild diverticulitis, a doctor might recommend rest, a change in diet, and antibiotics. If the condition is severe or continues to return, surgery might be needed.


Passing gas and burping are normal digestion processes. Gas is found throughout your digestive tract, from your stomach to your rectum. Too much gas may cause pain, bloating, and discomfort.

Gas usually isn’t serious. Talk with a doctor if it’s persistent or goes along with other symptoms, such as:

  • vomiting
  • diarrhea or constipation
  • unintentional weight loss
  • heartburn
  • blood in the stool


Indigestion usually happens after eating. Your stomach makes acid when you eat, which may irritate your esophagus, stomach, or bowel. The pain is usually in the upper part of the abdomen, but in rare cases, it might also affect the lower abdomen.

Common symptoms of indigestion include:

  • heartburn
  • burning sensation in the stomach
  • feeling full or bloated
  • belching or passing gas
  • nausea

Speak with a doctor if indigestion continues or worsens.


A hernia is the result of an internal organ pushing through the muscle or tissue surrounding it. This may cause a lump or bulge to appear in the lower abdomen, groin, or upper thigh areas.

Other symptoms may include:

  • increasing size of the bulge
  • increasing pain at the site
  • pain when lifting
  • a dull ache
  • a feeling of fullness

Different symptoms accompany each type of hernia. For example, hiatal hernias do not produce a bulge.

The specific cause depends on the type of hernia, but they do not disappear on their own. Speak with a doctor if you suspect you have one, as untreated hernias may cause serious problems.

Inguinal hernia

An inguinal hernia is the result of fat or a portion of the small intestine pushing through a weak area in the lower abdomen. This type of hernia is more common in males, but it can also occur in females.

Symptoms include:

  • a bulge in the pubic or groin area that may get larger over time and usually goes away when lying down
  • pain that worsens when straining, lifting, coughing, or during physical activity
  • weakness, heaviness, burning, or aching in the groin
  • a swollen or enlarged scrotum

This type of hernia might cause serious problems. Get medical help right away if you have:

  • extreme tenderness or redness at the bulge site
  • sudden pain that gets worse and continues
  • problems passing gas or having a bowel movement
  • nausea and vomiting
  • fever

Kidney stones

A kidney stone is a solid mass of crystals that develops in your urinary tract. It causes pain when it moves inside your kidney or into your ureter, which is the tube that connects the kidney to the bladder.

You may experience severe pain on one side of your abdomen or back, under your ribs. This may come in sporadic waves as the stone moves through your urinary tract.

You may also experience:

  • urine that’s pink, red, brown, cloudy, or smelly
  • painful or more frequent urination
  • nausea or vomiting
  • fever or chills

There’s no single cause for kidney stones, but estimates suggest that 10% of the U.S. population will have them at least once in their life.


Shingles is a skin rash caused by varicella-zoster virus, which is the same virus that causes chickenpox. Once you’ve contracted it, the varicella-zoster virus remains dormant in your body. It may then reappear as shingles, usually after age 50.

The most common symptom is a painful rash around one side of your body. It looks like a stripe of blisters. The rash sometimes appears on the neck or face. You may also experience pain without a rash.

Other symptoms include:

  • burning, numbness, itching, or tingling
  • sensitivity to touch
  • blisters that break open, ooze, and form scabs

The shingles vaccine can help lower your chances of developing shingles. If you have shingles, speak with a doctor right away. Early treatment may help ease symptoms and minimize the chances of other problems.

Menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea)

Cramps usually occur before and during your menstrual period. Although the pain may vary, menstrual cramps aren’t usually serious.

Speak with a doctor if:

  • your cramps interfere with your daily activities
  • pain worsens over time
  • you’re older than age 25 and your cramps have started to get more severe


With endometriosis, tissue similar to that which typically lines the inside of your uterus also grows outside the uterus. This might cause abdominal pain.

Some other symptoms are:

The cause of endometriosis is unknown. If you develop endometriosis, work with a doctor to monitor your condition.

Ovarian cyst

An ovarian cyst is a sac filled with fluid inside or on the surface of an ovary.

Most cysts don’t produce symptoms and go away without treatment in a few months. However, a large cyst may cause discomfort, press on your bladder, and cause you to urinate more often.

A cyst that ruptures (breaks open) might cause some serious problems, such as severe pain or internal bleeding.

Seek immediate medical help if you’re experiencing:

  • sudden, severe abdominal pain
  • pain with fever or vomiting
  • signs of shock, such as cold and clammy skin, rapid breathing, lightheadedness, or weakness

Ovarian torsion

Large ovarian cysts may cause the ovary to change position in the body. This raises the risk of ovarian torsion, a painful twisting of the ovary that can cut off blood supply. The fallopian tubes may also be affected.

Ovarian torsion is not common. When it does happen, it’s usually during the reproductive years, with pregnancy or hormonal use to promote ovulation.

Surgery is often needed to untwist the ovary or remove it. See a doctor if you feel sudden, severe pain in your abdomen with vomiting.

Ectopic pregnancy

With ectopic pregnancy, a fertilized egg implants itself before reaching the uterus. This usually happens inside the fallopian tubes connecting the ovary to the uterus.

You may not always feel symptoms. But in addition to abdominal pain, you may also experience:

  • nausea and breast soreness
  • a missed period and other pregnancy signs
  • vaginal bleeding or watery discharge
  • discomfort with urination or bowel movements
  • pain in the shoulder, abdomen, neck, or pelvis

See a doctor if you have these symptoms and believe you may be pregnant, even if a pregnancy test is negative and it’s still early.

An ectopic pregnancy that ruptures (breaks open) is serious. Surgery is required to repair the fallopian tube. Get medical help right away if you’re:

  • feeling sick or dizzy
  • feeling faint
  • looking very pale

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)

PID is an infection of the female reproductive system. It’s commonly caused by sexually transmitted infections (STIs), such as chlamydia and gonorrhea, but other types of infections can also lead to PID.

In addition to abdominal pain, symptoms may include:

  • fever
  • vaginal discharge with a bad odor
  • pain or bleeding with sex
  • a burning sensation with urination
  • bleeding between periods

Speak with a doctor if you think you have been exposed to an STI or if you have any genital symptoms like an unusual sore.

Testicular torsion

In testicular torsion, the testicle rotates, which lowers blood flow to the testicles and causes severe pain and swelling. There are different causes of this rotation. The condition most commonly occurs in males after birth and between ages 12 and 18 ears.

Some symptoms include:

  • sudden, severe scrotum pain and swelling
  • abdominal pain
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • painful urination
  • fever

Testicular torsion is very serious. If you experience sudden or severe testicular pain, get medical emergency assistance even if the pain subsides. Surgery may be needed to help prevent damage to the testicle.

What organ is in the lower left abdomen?

The organs in the lower left quadrant of the abdomen include:

  • parts of the small intestine
  • the distal descending and sigmoid colon
  • the ureter of the left kidney
  • parts of the reproductive organ system
  • for some, the left ovary and the uterine tube

When should I worry about lower left side pain?

Mild lower left abdominal pain is common and will often go away on its own. However, get medical help if the onset of pain is sharp, sudden, and severe or if you develop other symptoms such as:

  • fever
  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea or constipation
  • bloody stools and urine
  • unexplained weight loss
  • signs of shock, such as cold and clammy skin, rapid breathing, lightheadedness, or weakness

Why does my lower left abdomen hurt when I take a deep breath?

Lower left abdominal pain that arises after taking a deep breath may be caused by:

  • a hernia
  • kidney stones
  • testicular or ovarian torsion
  • diverticulitis
  • a diaphragm injury

Get medical attention if your pain worsens or you develop other symptoms such as fever, nausea, or vomiting.

Lower left abdominal pain may come and go. It isn’t something to generally worry about.

However, if the pain is sudden and sharp or is accompanied by other symptoms such as fever, nausea, or vomiting, it’s important to get medical attention right away.