A burning sensation in the lower abdomen may stem from a urological, digestive, gynecological, or reproductive problem, such as kidney stones, a ruptured cyst, or endometriosis.

Causes of a burning sensation in the lower abdomen may include kidney stones, certain gynecological conditions, and cancer.

People should note that a burning sensation in the lower abdomen is not common. It is more common in the upper abdomen, where the pain is usually associated with Gastroesophageal reflux disease or peptic ulcer disease.

A burning sensation in the lower abdomen may occur with urination, due to a urinary tract infection (UTI). However, a UTI may not present with any abdominal pain.

For females, there are multiple gynecological conditions associated with lower abdominal pain that might feel similar to burning. People should talk with a doctor about their symptoms for a proper diagnosis.

This article lists the possible causes of a burning sensation in the lower abdomen, including any associated symptoms and how to treat them.

A note about sex and gender

Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.

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Different gynecological conditions can cause pain in the lower abdomen that might feel like a burning sensation. These conditions may include:

  • A ruptured cyst: During ovulation, a fluid-filled sac, or cyst, may form on an ovary. Most are benign, but they can rupture and require intervention.
  • Painful menstruation: Dysmenorrhea refers to pain during menstruation without a disease of the pelvis. However, sometimes other conditions can cause painful periods.
  • Endometriosis: This is a chronic condition of the female reproductive system in which the tissue that lines the uterus grows in other parts of the abdomen.
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID): In PID, infection causes inflammation of the female reproductive organs.


The following table lists some of the symptoms associated with ruptured cysts, painful menstruation, and endometriosis.

Ruptured cystsPainful menstruationEndometriosis
Symptomssudden pelvic pain

blood loss or hemorrhage


lower abdominal or pelvic pain

pain radiating to the back or legs




nausea or vomiting
lower abdominal pain and cramps

painful periods

pain or burning during sex

painful bowel movements


Treatment will depend on the gynecological condition present. The following table lists some treatment options for causes of a burning sensation in the lower abdomen.


Ruptured cystsPainful menstruationEndometriosis

pain relief medications

hormone therapy
nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

hormone therapy
hormone therapy

pain relief medications


People develop kidney stones when a crystal, usually comprising calcium, travels from the kidney through the urinary tract. Kidney stones do not always cause problems and health complications, but some can get stuck and lead to medical issues.

Some risk factors for kidney stones include:

  • a personal history of kidney stones
  • a family history of kidney stones
  • increased absorption of oxalate through the intestine
  • UTIs
  • low fluid intake
  • a history of diabetes, obesity, gout, or hypertension
  • acidic urine


People with kidney stones may not experience any symptoms. The most common symptom of kidney stones is a sharp pain radiating to the groin when the stone begins traveling down the ureter. People may describe this pain as dull, colicky, sharp, or severe.

Other symptoms may include:

  • nausea or vomiting due to pain
  • blood in urine
  • burning during urination


Doctors may prescribe pain relief medications since passing a kidney stone is often very painful. People may also take NSAIDs to help with pain. Increasing fluid intake is also important.

Tamsulosin (Flomax) is a drug that helps people pass kidney stones; it reduces the stimulation of the smooth muscle in the urethra.

If a doctor finds a kidney stone that is 6 millimeters or larger, they may need to intervene to manually remove it from the urinary tract.

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are bacterial infections of the urinary bladder. Doctors categorize UTIs as either complicated or uncomplicated. An uncomplicated UTI occurs in people who are otherwise healthy and not pregnant.

The most common bacteria that cause UTIs include:


People with a UTI may experience:

People who are very young or old may experience subtle or unusual symptoms. For example, older adults with a UTI may present with confusion or an altered mental state.

The symptoms of a complicated UTI are usually similar to those of an uncomplicated UTI.


Doctors treat UTIs with antibiotics. To select the most appropriate antibiotic to treat the infection, the doctor will consider the person’s risk factors for infection with a pathogen that is resistant to multiple drugs.

People with a low risk may receive a first-line therapy such as:

  • nitrofurantoin (Macrobid)
  • trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim)
  • fosfomycin (Monurol)

Appendicitis occurs when a person’s appendix becomes inflamed or swollen. An obstruction blocking the entrance to the appendix can cause appendicitis, which can lead to general abdominal pain or pain in the lower right part of the abdomen.

It is most common in people ages 5–45.


Abdominal pain due to appendicitis may start as general stomach pain and travel to the lower right side. It may feel worse when the person presses on the area. Coughing and walking may also worsen the pain.

Other symptoms of appendicitis may include:


Appendicitis requires immediate medical attention.

Treatment typically involves the removal of the appendix, with a laparoscopic appendectomy, a type of keyhole surgery. However, some people may require open surgery.

Doctors may also need to administer antibiotics and intravenous hydration.

As most people age, they develop diverticula, which are small bulges or pouches in the colon or intestinal wall. Diverticulitis occurs when these bulges become inflamed.

Diverticulitis affects 10–25% of people who develop diverticula.


Diverticulitis can cause pain or a burning sensation in the lower left or right parts of the abdomen. Pain may be constant or intermittent.

Other symptoms may include:

  • diarrhea or constipation
  • nausea and vomiting
  • fever
  • burning during urination


Healthcare professionals will typically treat diverticulitis with antibiotics and certain pain relief medication.

However, they may warn a person against taking NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen (Advil), as this could increase the risk of bowel perforation and other stomach problems.

They may also recommend dietary changes, such as boosting fiber intake and consuming a balanced diet.

Colitis occurs due to inflammation of the colon’s lining. There are multiple potential causes of colitis, including:


As well as lower abdominal pain or burning, colitis may cause:

  • fever
  • diarrhea
  • blood in the stool


Treatment for colitis may depend on the underlying cause. In people with an infection, doctors may prescribe antibiotics.

Other treatment options may include:

  • mesalamine
  • immunomodulators
  • biological therapies
  • corticosteroids
  • surgery
  • intravenous fluids
  • not eating

Certain cancers of the digestive, urological, and gynecological tracts may present with pain in the lower abdomen.

Depending on the type of cancer, people may experience different symptoms. Some cancers do not cause noticeable symptoms in the early stages.

Although cancer is more common in older adults, anyone with troubling symptoms should arrange an evaluation by a doctor.


The following table lists some warning signs and symptoms of urological, digestive, and gynecological cancers.

Cancer of the digestive tractCancer of the urological tractCancer of the gynecological tract
Symptomsvomiting blood

black and tarry stool

red stool with visible blood

fatigue and weakness

abdominal pain

abdominal swelling or mass



loss of appetite

weight loss
blood in the urine

urinary retention

difficulty or pain when urinating
unusual vaginal bleeding or discharge

irregular periods

pelvic pressure or pain

frequent urination



abdominal or back pain

itching, burning, pain, or tenderness of the vulva

a change in the color of the skin around the vulva


Different types of cancer require different treatments. These may include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.

Surgery aims to remove the cancer tissue, whereas chemotherapy and radiation therapy use medications or high-energy rays to kill cancer cells.

Doctors may select a treatment based on the cancer’s location and stage. Sometimes, people may require a combination of treatments.

People with digestive cancers may also receive targeted therapies and immunotherapy.

People who experience a burning sensation in the lower abdomen may have a digestive, gynecological, or urological condition.

By investigating the other associated symptoms and the person’s medical history, doctors can diagnose a burning sensation in the lower abdomen and choose the most appropriate treatment.

A doctor may also consider other abdominal conditions, especially in older adults. These may include cancers of the gastrointestinal, gynecological, or urological systems.

Be sure to contact a doctor for a complete evaluation to determine the correct diagnosis and receive the appropriate treatment.