Pain in the lower abdomen is important to examine

Pain in the lower abdomen is a familiar problem to many women. If the pain however becomes abnormal, it is important to examine the cause. The pain can be related to a multiple of gynecological matters, which can often be found by paying a visit to the gynecologist.

- It is important to talk about your gynecological history with your gynecologist, meaning information about your menstrual cycle, possible procedures and abnormal menstruation, so, that the doctor can get a complete picture of your situation whilst making a diagnosis, tells Mehiläinen’s gynecologist Marjut Laurikka-Routti.

The procedures done at the gynecologist’s office differ depending on each situation.

- One of the basic examinations, which is done when a woman suffers from lower abdomen pain is an MRI of the pelvis. Infection samples can also be taken if necessary. For example, STD tests should be taken if it is possible, that the person could have had a contagion, tells Laurikka-Routti.

Blood tests may be needed especially if the pain has started suddenly.

-The blood tests show infection levels and a pregnancy test for example. With prolonged problems, a pap test should be taken, as well as when it has been 1-2 years since the last pap test, tells Laurikka-Routti.

A clear cause for the lower abdomen pain isn’t always found immediately

Sometimes finding the reason for the lower abdomen pain takes time. Additional examinations and other expert’s opinions might be needed.

- In uncertain situations and when the symptoms or findings so require, an MRI of the lower abdomen area or a gastrointestinal endoscopy under general anesthesia is done. When examining the situation, other experts of other specialties are often consulted, since for example intestinal and urinary tract problems can also be causing the pain. Sometimes back illnesses can also cause radiating pain to the stomach area, tells Laurikka-Routti.

Uterus and ovarian tumors

The risk of gynecological tumors increases with age. An exception is cervical cancer, which also occurs on young women more frequently.

- The tumors are classified as either benign or malignant cancerous tumors. With both types of tumors, the symptoms can be very vague until the tumor is big or has spread far. Pain in the lower abdomen can however be one symptom with tumor illnesses as well. Even if the unusual pain in the lower abdomen is mild, it is important to go to a gynecological checkup. Abnormal bleeding is also a reason to get a checkup, instructs Laurikka-Routti.

To examine the situation, a gynecological examination and a transvaginal ultrasound need to be done. Depending on each situation, additional examinations may be done, for example taking a sample of cells from inside the uterus. The treatments for these tumors are different surgical procedures and possible ancillary treatments such as radiotherapy or cytostatic therapy, when the patient has cancer.

Symptoms of a gynecological tumor

  • abnormal discharge or bleeding
  • different level stomach pains
  • fever
  • high infection levels in the blood (serious infection)

Infections require more precise examinations

Gynecological infections can be caused by the body’s own bacteria or foreign bacteria.

- When the bacteria end up in the wrong place or foreign bacteria flora comes to prevail, an infection is created. Finding the cause of the infection requires analyzing certain samples, since the doctor’s eye cannot solely distinguish the cause of the infection, Laurikka-Routti explains. It is important to find and treat the infection with antibiotics as early as possible.

Symptoms of a gynecological infection

  • increased vaginal discharge with an unusual odor without pain in the lower abdomen
  • itching and burning in the vulva
  • a burning sensation during urination at the urethral opening

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