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Can lower abdominal pain be constipation?

Could it be a sign of constipation to have a dull, aching pain in your lower abdomen? I'm a woman, age 27, and I've been having a lot of trouble pooping in the last week. Now I've got this pain - it's not too bad, just a low ache like I ate something that didn't agree with me. Should I see a doctor?
Constipation is one of the most common reasons for people to seek medical advice. The doctors who will be well qualified to discuss this with you include your primary care doctor. The short answer to your question is, Yes, absolutely! Constipation, which is defined as infrequent passage of hard stools or passing stools only with straining, causes distention of the intestines with retained fecal material. This can lead to a sensation of bloating, fullness, and lower crampy or dull, aching abdominal pain. In addition to taking lots of fiber and water, an over the counter laxative such as Miralax might be needed. If this does not work, you will need to see a doctor for more definitive treatment. Other causes of lower abdominal pain, which seem less likely in your case given the circumstances, include premenstrual cramps, pelvic inflammatory disease or a sexually transmitted infection, an ovarian cyst, and a urinary tract infection. If treatment of the constipation does not resolve the issue, other causes might need to be investigated. As always the diagnosis and the management of your particular condition will require a physical examination by your personal physician. Setting up an office visit with your primary care doctor is advised if symptoms persist.
This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under ZocDoc’s Terms of Service.

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