Pain on your right side is a common problem that can be due to a variety of minor to serious conditions. Pain in the right side of your belly (abdomen) is usually related to one of the organs in that area. They include:
Part of the stomach
Part of the small intestine
Right side of the colon
Right ovary and fallopian tube in women
A blood clot or infection in the right lung also can cause right-sided abdominal pain.
Types and Symptoms of Right-Sided Abdominal Pain
Pain on the right-side of your abdomen may be sharp or dull and last a short time (acute pain) or a long time (chronic pain). The pain might start in one place and move (radiate) to another.
Symptoms you experience with pain can be very important for you and your doctor in figuring out the potential cause of your pain. They can include nausea, cramping, diarrhea, fever and constipation.
Common causes of right-sided abdominal pain include:
Liver disease, liver cancer, or liver infection. These conditions can cause pain in the right side of your upper abdomen. Upper-right abdominal pain is usually dull and chronic. Other symptoms may include nausea, yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes (jaundice), fatigue, dark-colored urine, swollen feet and ankles, bruising, and weight loss.
Gallbladder disease or gallstones. Both of these conditions can be the source of pain in the right upper abdomen. The pain may be sharp and acute, may radiate to your back, and may occur after you eat a fatty meal. Other symptoms can include clay-colored stools, jaundice, and fever.
Cancer, infection, or diseases of the right side of the colon. These conditions can cause crampy pain in the right side of your lower abdomen. Other symptoms with lower-right abdominal pain may include changes in bowel habits, weight loss, fever, blood or mucus in the stool, or tenderness when pressing on the right lower abdomen. A cancer or disease that blocks the colon may cause crampy pain and constipation.
Appendicitis. Appendicitis causes acute pain that starts in the middle or right side of the abdomen and moves down to the lower right side. The lower right side may be tender and swollen. Other symptoms may include chills, fever, nausea or vomiting, and constipation or diarrhea.
Kidney disease, kidney infection, or kidney stones. These kidney problems can cause acute pain. The pain is sharp and may move behind the ribs or into the groin. Other symptoms may include a burning feeling when urinating, blood in the urine, fever, and tenderness in the right flank—the side area between your ribs and hip.
Pelvic conditions in women. Conditions in a woman’s pelvic area that can cause lower-right abdominal pain include ectopic pregnancy, ovarian cyst, and infection. An ectopic pregnancy is a fertilized egg that has attached outside the uterus, typically within one of the fallopian tubes. Ectopic pregnancy pain may be acute and sharp. Other symptoms may include vaginal bleeding and changes in bowel habits. Pain from an ovarian cyst may come and go and be dull and may radiate to the back. Other symptoms may include abnormal and painful periods. A pelvic infection may cause fever and vaginal discharge or bleeding.
Blood clot or infection in the right lung. A blood clot that moves to the lung is a pulmonary embolism. A blood clot in the right lung may cause right upper abdominal pain that is sharp, severe and acute. Other symptoms of pulmonary embolism may include shortness of breath, cough, fast breathing, and blood-tinged sputum (mucus) with coughing. A painful lung infection is pneumonia, which may cause fever.
Red Flags for Right Abdominal Pain
Mild abdominal pain that goes away and does not come back may not need treatment. However, talk to your doctor if you are experiencing severe abdominal pain or if it keeps coming back. It is never normal to have abdominal pain, so tell your doctor about your symptoms.
Certain “red flags” mean you need to seek medical care. Watch for these serious symptoms:
Severe or worsening pain
Pain with fever
Pain with diarrhea
Constipation that lasts more than three days
Blood in your stool
Pain with nausea or vomiting
Pain with swelling of the abdomen
Severe tenderness of the abdomen
Pain with vaginal discharge or bleeding Am I Likely to Get Back Pain?
Several factors can increase your chances of having upper and middle back pain. Among them:
Age. Back pain starts for most people in their 30s or 40s, and it’s more common the older you get.
Being out of shape. The stronger the muscles in your back, shoulder, and abdomen, the lower your chance of injury.
Weight. If you carry extra pounds, you put more strain on your back.
Underlying conditions. Diseases such as arthritis and cancer can cause back pain.
Smoking. Smoker’s cough can strain your back. And if you smoke, you may be slower to heal, which can make your back pain last longer.
When to See a Doctor
If you’re like most people with upper and middle back pain, you’ll be able to manage your symptoms at home. Over-the-counter pain relievers, heat, or ice may be enough to ease your condition.
You should call your doctor, though, if your pain becomes too intense or starts to keep you away from your daily activities.
Certain symptoms require fast attention. They include:
Losing control of your bowels or bladder.
Fever along with pain.
Pain that starts after a fall, an accident, or a sports injury.