What Causes Abdominal Pains in Females?

Reviewed on 5/17/2022

Woman holding stomach while experiencing abdominal pain
Causes of abdominal pains that occur specifically in females include ectopic pregnancy, endometriosis, endometritis, fibroids (leiomyomas), ovarian cancer, ovarian hyperstimulation, ovarian torsion, pelvic inflammatory disease, pregnancy/pregnancy complications, and ruptured ovarian cyst.

Abdominal pains (stomach pains) can range from mild aches to severe and sharp, stabbing pain. 

There are many possible causes of abdominal pains that can occur in both males and females, ranging from gas, indigestion, and ulcers, to serious conditions such as appendicitis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), or cancer.

10 Causes of Abdominal Pains in Women

Causes of abdominal pains that occur specifically in females include: 

How Are Abdominal Pains in Females Diagnosed?

The cause of abdominal pains is diagnosed with a patient history and physical examination, along with tests such as: 

  • Blood tests
    • Pregnancy testing 
    • Complete blood count (CBC) with differential
    • Electrolytes, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), creatinine, and glucose
    • Calcium
    • Aminotransferases, alkaline phosphatase, and bilirubin
    • Iron, total iron binding capacity, and ferritin
    • Lipase and/or amylase
    • Anti-tissue transglutaminase
  • Imaging tests 
  • Other tests 
    • Urine testing
    • Stool testing
    • Electrocardiography (ECG or EKG)

How Is Abdominal Pain Treated in Women?

Treatment for stomach pains in females varies widely and depends upon the cause.

  • Ectopic pregnancy 
    • Expectant management 
    • Medication
    • Surgery to remove the pregnancy, usually along with the affected fallopian tube 
  • Endometriosis
    • “Watchful waiting” 
    • Pain medications
    • Hormone therapy
      • Oral contraceptives
      • Gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist
      • Danazol
    • Surgery
  • Endometritis
  • Fibroids (leiomyomas) 
    • May not need treatment if they are small, do not cause symptoms, and are not expected to impact fertility 
    • Medications 
    • Surgery 
  • Ovarian cancer 
  • Ovarian hyperstimulation 
    • Routine ultrasound exams and blood tests
    • Decreased activity
    • Drinking lots of electrolyte-rich fluids 
    • Medicines for nausea 
    • Drainage of fluid in the abdomen using a syringe (paracentesis) 
    • Medication to reduce fluid accumulation
    • Hospitalization
      • Intravenous (IV) fluids 
      • Medicines for nausea 
      • Removal of fluid from the abdomen
      • Other supportive therapy as needed
  • Ovarian torsion 
    • Surgery
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease 
    • Antibiotics
    • Surgery in severe cases
  • Pregnancy complications 
    • Treatment depends on the complication 
    • High blood pressure
      • Monitoring and medications if needed
    • Gestational diabetes
      • Diet and lifestyle changes
      • Medication if needed
  • Preeclampsia
    • Delivery of the fetus and placenta 
    • Preterm labor
      • Bed rest
      • Tocolytic medicines
      • Corticosteroids
      • Cervical cerclage
      • Antibiotics
      • Delivery 
  • Ruptured ovarian cyst 
    • Monitor symptoms
    • Pain medicine
    • Surgery

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Reviewed on 5/17/2022
References
Image Source: iStock Images

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/causes-of-abdominal-pain-in-adults?search=Stomach%20Pain&source=search_result&selectedTitle=4~150&usage_type=default&display_rank=4

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/evaluation-of-the-adult-with-abdominal-pain?search=Stomach%20Pain&source=search_result&selectedTitle=5~150&usage_type=default&display_rank=5

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/ectopic-pregnancy/treatment/

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/endometriosis

https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/254169-treatment#showall

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/uterine-fibroids-beyond-the-basics?search=fibroids&topicRef=15421&source=see_link#H7

https://www.cancer.org/cancer/ovarian-cancer/about.html

https://www.reproductivefacts.org/news-and-publications/patient-fact-sheets-and-booklets/documents/fact-sheets-and-info-booklets/ovarian-hyperstimulation-syndrome-ohss/

https://www.yalemedicine.org/conditions/ovarian-torsion

https://www.cdc.gov/std/pid/treatment.htm

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/treatment-tests-and-therapies/management-of-ruptured-ovarian-cyst

https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/pregnancy/conditioninfo/complications