Understanding Common Causes Of Right Side Stomach Pain Or Ache In The Right Side Of The Tummy
A right sided abdominal pain, is pain occurring any where in the abdomen, to the right of an imaginary line drawn from the center of the chest through the umbilicus or belly button to the top of the genitalia.
Apart from acute appendicitis, gallstones or biliary colic, cholecystitis, hepatitis and many other liver diseases, the causes of right sided stomach pain can also cause pain on the left side.
In order to understand the possible cause of a 'right side stomach pain', it may be helpful to know the organs and structures that exist in this region of the body. Diseases, infections, or irritation of any of these organs will lead to a right side abdominal pain.
Also note that pain in the right side of the abdomen can be "referred" from an injury or disease originating from a nearby organ which may not necessarily be within the abdomen. An example of this is a right sided abdominal pain arising from a lower right lung infection.
Organs and structures in the right side of the abdomen include:
Other structures not found in the abdomen that can cause right side abdominal pain include:
We shall now take you through a few of the various possible causes of right abdominal pain, giving a very brief gist of the important signs and symptoms that will help in recognizing and making a diagnosis of the possible cause of the pain.
If you have recent onset
abdominal pain, it is worth considering if you are having any of the
following listed causes of abdominal pain.
Common causes of pain in the right side of the abdomen include:
Many of the above listed conditions are very very rare. Here are the top twelve (12) common causes of right side abdominal pain and how to diagnose them:
Right sided lower abdominal pain of a few days duration, associated with
loss of appetite, nausea and occasionally vomiting, fever, feeling
generally unwell in anyone between the ages of 9 and 39 is appendicitis,
until proven otherwise.
This does not mean that appendicitis do not occur out side that age bracket. It is more common within the first three decade of life, and can occur at any age.
How to tell if the cause of your right sided pain is appendicitis?
The main symptoms to watch out for to determine if it is appendicitis, is the combination of right sided lower abdominal pain, worse on pressing onto a spot about a hands breath from the right side of the umbilicus, with associated loss of appetite and feeling of nausea. There may be low level fever, or feeling hot and cold.
If you have any of the above symptoms, it is worth checking with your doctor to confirm if it is appendicitis that may be causing your right side abdominal pain.
Read more on appendicitis here.
Biliary colic is the medical term used to describe pain in the right upper abdomen that comes on suddenly, often within a few minutes to half an hour after eating. The pain is usually a severe continuous dull ache in the right side of the upper abdomen, but with periods of increased intensity, coming in waves.
It is often due to gallstones getting trapped in a narrow part of the gallbladder neck, or sometimes, just due to spasm of the gallbladder.
If you suffer with the above symptoms with associated fever, feeling hot and cold and perhaps shivering, with yellowness of the white area of your eyes (jaundice), this is often due to cholecystitis, which could potentially be serious if not treated in good time. It is important you consult your doctor immediately or go to your local Emergency Room or A&E.
You can read more about biliary colic here.
Right kidney stone pain often comes on as a sudden onset right loin or side pain.
The pain is just like that of biliary colic but while biliary colic spreads from the front of the upper abdomen to the back, the pain from kidney stone (ureteric colic) spreads from the side of the abdomen and back downwards, towards the groin and in front.
Depending on the size of the stone, it is often passed down without any after effect.
Sometimes though, the stone could be too big (greater than 7mm) and will not pass down the ureters, causing obstruction. If the obstruction is not cleared in time, it could cause ballooning of the kidney and even an overwhelming kidney infection with potentially serious consequences. This could lead to a medical emergency that will need dealing with as soon as possible.
If you think you have kidney stone, then go to the hospital now. It is only after tests that doctors can be sure if there is an associated obstruction or not. Please read more on kidney stones here.
Constipation is not just the passing of hard stools, it is also the infrequent passing of stools.
The average person opens his or her bowel three or more times per week. If you or child recently developed ongoing abdominal pain with reduced frequency of bowel motions or stools have recently become hard than normal, then constipation could be the cause of the abdominal pain.
This is even more common with children than with adults.
Constipation has been reported to be the cause of lower abdominal pain - right or left sided in as much as 43% of children in one study.
Acute non-specific mesenteric lymphadenitis is as common as appendicitis as a cause of lower right side abdominal pain in children under the age of six .
It is caused by swelling of the lymph glands or lymph nodes on the wall of the small bowel in children following a viral infection.
Mesenteric lymphadenitis often comes as:
Also called non-specific mesenteric lymphadenitis, this condition is usually self-limiting and causes no further complications. You can read more about Mesenteric Lymphadenitis here.
Ovarian torsion or ovarian cyst rupture are two of the common ovarian problems causing lower abdominal pain in children as well as adult females.
Pain from ovarian problem could occur in as young as a child under one year of age, up to 65 year old. Older children, teenagers and younger women are more likely to have pain from ovarian problem. The symptoms of ovarian pain depends more on the type of issue involved.
In ovarian torsion, the ovary twists along its stalk to the Fallopian tube, much like an orange or apple could twist on its stalk, cutting off blood supply to the ovary. This can happen in infants as well as woman of any age, causing:
Rarely, this could lead to loss of the ovary.
Rupture of Ovarian Cyst, on the other hand, usually occur more in women of reproductive age alone, and more on the right side. Symptoms of an ovarian cyst rupture typical presents as:
If this sounds like you, you would need to go to the hospital immediately. Ruptured ovarian cyst could be life-threatening.
Ectopic pregnancy refers to the implantation of a newly fertilized egg, anywhere outside the womb.
It tends to occur more in the Fallopian tubes (98%) than anywhere else . If this happens on the right side, it could lead to right side abdominal pain.
The symptoms of ectopic pregnancy are:
Mittelschmerz, also called mid-cycle pain is pain associated with ovulation in many young women, especially within the first few years of starting their menses.
The pain typically:
You can read more about mid-cycle pain here.
Pelvic inflammatory disease is an infection arising from the lower genital tract in a woman of childbearing age, spreading up through the cervix, to the uterus, Fallopian tubes and ovaries.
It could be localized to one tube (in which case it is referred to as salpingitis) or to the tube and ovary (referred to as salpingo-oophoritis). If this happens on the right side, it could lead to a right side abdominal pain.
The symptoms of right side pelvic inflammatory disease are:
PID is indeed a very common cause of lower abdominal pain in sexually active women. It is almost always caused by sexually transmitted disease - chlamydia and gonorrhea especially .
If is a common cause of chronic illness and infertility, if not caught in time and treated.
If you suspect you may be having salpingitis or PID, please see your doctor soonest.
You can read more on PID here.
Bowel or colon cancer often refers to cancer involving the large bowel or colon. Just over a third of all colon cancer involves the appendix, cecum, ascending colon and right side of the transverse colon.
The vast majority of colon cancer occurs on the left side of the colon.
Right sided colon cancers are notoriously very painful.
Symptoms of right sided colon cancer include:
Bowel or colon cancer affects older people, usually 50 years and older, though can be seen in younger age groups too. Any one of the above symptoms could be seen in many disease conditions. It is when a number of these symptoms are occurring together in someone older than 40 years of age over several months, that a high suspicion of cancer of the bowel is entertained.
A urgent occult fecal blood test, colonoscopy and CT scan is needed to diagnose bowel cancer of any part of the colon.
Early stages of colon cancer are completely curable.
Endometriosis is the presence of the tissue that lines the inner wall of the uterus outside the womb. It leads to the accumulation of menstrual blood where this tissue is found, causing chronic abdominal pain and infertility in some cases.
Endometriosis is more commonly seen in women in their late twenties to forties. It is a benign condition, meaning that it does not cause immediately life-threatening complication.
The symptoms of endometriosis include:
Endometriosis is treatable. You can read more about this condition here.
Diabetic Ketoacidosis is a complication of diabetes, often seen in type 1 diabetes.
It is a common cause of diffuse or right sided lower abdominal pain, typically in children.
Many kids have been taken to hospital with sudden onset severe lower right sided abdominal pain, thought to be appendicitis, only to find out that they have very high sugar levels in their blood or urine before being taken into the operating room for "appendicitis".
The children are often not even known to suffer with diabetes, and they are only diagnosed after coming to hospital in severe lower abdomen pain.
If you are having protracted lower right side abdominal pain that is difficult to diagnose and that has just refused to go away, feel free to book a paid consultation with one of our doctors for a one-on-one secured online assessment to see if the cause could be identified or what further tests that may need doing.
Are you or your loved one suffering with abdominal pain on the right side? Or do you have a past experience with pains in this part of your body? Share it!
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