What Does Pain on Your Right Side Mean?
This article will outline the potential causes of pain on your right side. It will also look at signs and symptoms of possible issues, and it will explain when you should seek medical assistance.
Pain on the right side of your abdomen may be sharp or dull and last a short time, often called acute pain, or a long time, known as chronic pain. The pain might start in one place and radiate to another.
There are many causes of abdominal pain that are related to a number of conditions.
Mild abdominal pain that goes away and does not come back may not need treatment. However, talk with your healthcare professional if you are experiencing severe abdominal pain or if it keeps coming back. It is never normal to have abdominal pain, so explain your symptoms fully.
Your medical professional will evaluate the issue by considering minor, common conditions against more serious conditions. The location of pain and length of time the pain has persisted will also be important.
Serious symptoms for which you should seek medical care include:
- severe or worsening pain
- pain with fever
- pain with diarrhea
- constipation that lasts more than 3 days
- blood in your stool
- pain with nausea or vomiting
- vomiting blood
- pain with swelling of the abdomen
- severe tenderness of the abdomen
- pain with vaginal discharge or abnormal bleeding
There are many causes of right side pain that are due to minor conditions.
- Indigestion: This can cause pain or discomfort in your abdomen, leaving you feeling bloated and sick. Certain medications along with diet and lifestyle changes can help with indigestion.
- Gas: Gas in your intestines can also cause right side pain. Gas buildup can be caused by food not being fully broken down, eating large amounts of food, eating particular foods, or even smoking.
- Menstrual cramps: Period pain is a normal part of the menstrual cycle and can often cause painful cramps in the abdomen.
There are also many causes of right side pain that can indicate a serious underlying condition.
These conditions may cause pain in the right side of your upper abdomen. Upper right abdominal pain usually feels dull and chronic.
Other symptoms can include:
- yellowing of the skin
- jaundice, or yellowing of the eyes
- dark-colored urine
- swollen feet
- swollen ankles
- weight loss
Gallbladder disease or gallstones
Both gallbladder disease and gallstones may be a source of pain in the upper right abdomen.
Symptoms can include:
- sharp, acute pain radiating to your back
- pain after eating a fatty meal
- clay-colored stools
Cancer, infection, and diseases of the right side of the colon
There are many colon-related diseases and infections that can cause cramp-like pain in the right side of your lower abdomen.
Symptoms of these illnesses may include:
- changes in bowel habits
- weight loss
- mucus or blood in the stool
- tenderness when pressing on the lower right abdomen
Appendicitis causes acute pain that starts in the middle or right side of the abdomen and moves down to the lower right side.
Kidney disease, kidney infection, and kidney stones
Other symptoms may include:
- a burning feeling when urinating
- blood in the urine
- tenderness in the right flank — the side area between your ribs and hip
Pelvic conditions in females
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 your bowel habits.
Pain from an ovarian cyst may come and go. It may 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
Other symptoms of a pulmonary embolism may include:
- shortness of breath
- a cough
- fast breathing
- blood-tinged mucus with coughing
- a painful lung infection (pneumonia), which may cause fever
A blood clot or infection in the right lung can also cause abdominal pain on the right side.
A proper diagnosis of the cause of right side pain will need to be made before any treatment can be given.
Pain on your right side can stem from various issues, ranging from minor ailments to serious conditions. It is usually related to one of the organs in that area.
You should seek immediate medical care if the pain is severe or if it persists for more than a few days.