Suprapubic pain happens in your lower abdomen near where your hips and many important organs, such as your intestines, bladder, and genitals, are located.

Suprapubic pain can have a wide variety of causes, so your doctor may need to do tests of your vital functions before diagnosing the underlying cause.

Read on to learn more about the reasons you may experience this type of pain and when you should see your doctor.

A urinary tract infection (UTI) happens when your bladder, urethra, or ureters, which connect the bladder to the kidneys, get infected. This can occur in both men and women.

Symptoms can include:

  • pain when you urinate
  • feeling a frequent, intense urge to urinate, even if you only pass a small amount of urine
  • blood in your urine
  • pain when you have sex
  • feeling exhausted
  • fever of 101°F (38.3°C) or higher

Kidney stones are pieces of minerals that have formed solid deposits in your kidneys. They can be especially painful when they’re big or when you’re trying to pass them with your urine.

Symptoms of kidney stones include:

  • red, brown, or pink urine that is cloudy or odorous
  • pain in your lower back
  • pain when you urinate
  • feeling a frequent urge to urinate
  • peeing frequently, but in small amounts of urine

Appendicitis happens when your appendix gets inflamed. If untreated, appendicitis can cause severe pain and result in your appendix bursting.

Symptoms of appendicitis include:

  • pain in the lower right side of your abdomen
  • feeling nauseous
  • throwing up
  • feeling constipated or unable to pass gas
  • abdominal swelling
  • low-grade fever

Interstitial cystitis, or bladder pain syndrome, is a condition that can cause pain around your bladder area. This condition happens when your bladder doesn’t send the right signals to your brain when it’s full and ready to be emptied.

Other symptoms of interstitial cystitis include:

  • constant pain around your pelvic area
  • feeling a constant or frequent need to urinate
  • passing small amounts of urine many times a day
  • feeling pain when you urinate
  • feeling pain when having sex

An inguinal hernia happens when part of your intestine is pushed through your lower abdomen and gets lodged in the muscle tissue. This type of hernia happens to both men and women, but it’s much more common in men.

Symptoms of this hernia can include:

  • scrotum swelling
  • tender, sometimes painful bulge in your genital area
  • pain or aches in the genital area that are sharper when you cough, lift objects, or exercise
  • feeling nauseous
  • throwing up

Causes of suprapubic pain specific to women are usually related to menstruation or conditions that affect the ovaries and female reproductive system.

6. Menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea)

Menstrual cramps are a common side effect of a period. The pain can happen on one or both sides of your lower abdomen above your pubic area. This pain results from your uterus preparing to shed its lining during menstruation.

Other symptoms of menstrual cramps include:

  • feeling dizzy
  • feeling nauseous
  • headache
  • thin, watery bowel movements
  • lower back pain

7. Ovarian torsion

Ovarian torsion happens when your ovaries get twisted. This can block blood from flowing into the ovaries. Ovarian torsion pain can be sharp and intense.

Other symptoms of ovarian torsion include:

  • feeling nauseous
  • throwing up
  • pain while having sex
  • abnormal period timing and length
  • feeling full even if you haven’t eaten

8. Ovarian cysts

Ovarian cysts are sacs filled with fluid that grow in or around the ovaries.

They’re not normally harmful and don’t always cause pain. But when they grow or burst, they can cause severe pain. Other symptoms can include:

  • feeling bloated or feeling full without eating
  • sudden pain in your lower abdomen
  • having trouble breathing
  • fever of 101°F (38.3°C) or higher
  • feeling exhausted or weak

9. Endometriosis

Endometriosis happens when your uterine tissue grows outside the uterus. Endometriosis cramps often feel like menstrual cramps.

Other symptoms can include:

  • feeling pain during your period while peeing or passing a bowel movement
  • spotting between menstrual cycles
  • abnormally heavy menstrual bleeding
  • feeling pain when having sex

10. Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of your reproductive organs. This can include the:

  • ovaries
  • fallopian tubes
  • uterus
  • vagina

It’s often spread through unprotected sex with someone who has a sexually transmitted infection (STI) like gonorrhea or chlamydia.

Aside from suprapubic pain, symptoms of PID include:

  • fever of 101°F (38.3°C) or higher
  • abnormal, odorous vaginal discharge
  • burning when you urinate
  • feeling pain or experiencing bleeding when having sex

Pregnancy normally causes some pelvic and suprapubic pain while the uterus and the surrounding tissues grow. If you have one of the conditions noted above, you may experience more severe suprapubic pain during pregnancy.

Suprapubic pain later in pregnancy can mean that you’re in labor. See your doctor right away if this pain occurs suddenly and changes in intensity at regular intervals, such as a few minutes apart for each instance of pain.

Suprapubic pain that happens along with bleeding can be serious. Early in pregnancy, suprapubic pain with bleeding can indicate:

  • miscarriage, which happens when pregnancy ends before the twentieth week
  • ectopic pregnancy, which happens when a fertilized egg attaches somewhere besides your uterus

Causes of suprapubic pain specific to men are usually related to injury to the penis, scrotum, or other reproductive organs.

12. Testicular torsion

Testicular torsion happens when your testicle flips or rotates in your scrotum. This can cut off blood flow to your testicle, which can cause sudden swelling and pain in your scrotum and genital area.

Other symptoms of this condition include:

  • feeling nauseous
  • throwing up
  • having trouble or pain when urinating
  • fever of 101°F (38.3°C) or higher

Exercise and physical activity can strain your lower body, which can cause suprapubic pain. Some conditions can occur because of exercise, especially if you push your body too hard or do high-impact activities like running.

13. Osteitis pubis

Osteitis pubis happens when pubic bone joint cartilage becomes inflamed and causes pain. It’s a common complication of pelvic surgery, but also happens if you regularly play sports or do high-impact exercises.

Other symptoms include:

  • pain or tenderness around your pubic area that gets worse when you cough, sneeze, run, or put pressure on your legs
  • clicking or popping feeling when you get up from a sitting position
  • feeling weak or having trouble walking
  • feeling feverish or having chills

14. Sports hernia (athletic pubalgia)

A sports hernia happens when muscles in your lower abdomen get strained or torn from strenuous physical activity. This injury causes pain around or above your genital area. It’s different from a regular hernia because muscles, rather than fat or part of an organ, are strained or stretched.

The most notable symptom is pain that’s sharp at first, feels relieved over time, but comes back when you exercise.

See your doctor if your pain persists for a few days or more, and if home remedies or pain medications don’t work. Don’t use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen (Advil), as these can make the pain worse.

See your doctor right away if you notice one or more of the following symptoms along with your suprapubic pain:

  • chest pain
  • fever of 101°F (38.3°C) or higher
  • yellowing of your skin (jaundice)
  • swelling or tenderness in your abdomen
  • blood or abnormal tissue in your urine or bowel movements
  • urine or bowel movements that are tinged pink or red
  • persistent nausea
  • throwing up
  • abnormal discharge or bleeding from your genitals
  • having trouble breathing
  • persistently high heart rate
  • losing weight without an obvious cause, such as diet or exercise
  • constant diarrhea or constipation

If you don’t have any emergency symptoms, try the following to treat your pain at home.

  • Use a hot pack or cold compress to relieve pain.
  • Drink cranberry or lingonberry juice, or use oral cranberry tablets to manage a UTI. The scientific evidence is conflicting about the effectiveness of cranberry juice, but it won’t hurt and may help.
  • Take a break from exercise or strenuous physical activity until the pain subsides. Try alternating lower-body and upper-body exercises to prevent suprapubic pain.
  • Stretch regularly to avoid straining your muscles when you exercise or do physical activities.

If you need medical treatment, follow your doctor’s instructions. Take prescribed antibiotics for bacterial infections. Don’t take certain pain medications or antibiotics without your doctor’s approval.

If necessary, get surgery, such as an appendectomy to remove your appendix, or kidney stone removal.

Seek physical therapy for chronic suprapubic pain that’s related to your muscles.

Suprapubic pain isn’t always a cause for concern. In some cases, it may be as simple as indigestion or aching from tired muscles.

But if the pain is sharp and consistent, or you notice other symptoms like blood in your bowel movements or discharge from your genitals, see your doctor right away for a diagnosis of any underlying condition. Getting treated quickly can prevent further complications.