What Causes Right Side Abdominal Pain? 7 Reasons

Right side abdominal pain can be pretty common and usually isn’t a big deal. Often, it’s just gas, or maybe you ate something that didn’t agree with you. But sometimes, it can be more serious, like appendicitis, gallstones, or kidney stones. The pain can vary, from dull aches to sharp stabs, and knowing what’s causing it can help you get the right treatment.

What Causes Right Side Abdominal Pain?

Abdominal pain on the right side

Gas and Indigestion

So, you had a big meal, and now your stomach is killing you? Well, it could just be gas or indigestion. These are common reasons for pain in your belly, including the right side. Usually, it goes away on its own or after you take an antacid.

Other Symptoms: You might also feel bloated, have heartburn, or hear gurgling noises from your belly.

Gallbladder Issues

You might not even know where your gallbladder is, but if it starts acting up, you’ll definitely feel it. Problems like gallstones can make the right side of your belly hurt. If the pain is intense and doesn’t go away, you might need medical attention. Sometimes, surgery is the only option to fix it.

Other Symptoms: Watch for nausea, vomiting, or a fever. You might even experience pain in the upper right back or between the shoulder blades.

Kidney Problems

Your kidneys help clean your blood, so when they’re not happy, neither are you. Kidney stones or infections can cause pain on the right side, near your lower back. Often, drinking more fluids helps, but sometimes, you may need medications or other treatments.

Other Symptoms: You could have frequent urination, blood in the urine, or even lower back pain that comes and goes.


Okay, this one’s a bit scary. Your appendix is a tiny organ on the lower right side of your belly. If it gets inflamed, you’re in for some serious pain, and you need medical help fast. Usually, the treatment involves removing the appendix through surgery.

Other Symptoms: Aside from intense pain, you might also have a fever, nausea, and vomiting. Sometimes, the pain moves from the upper abdomen to the lower right side.

Liver Disease

Your liver does a ton of important things, like helping to digest food and filtering out bad stuff from your blood. Problems with your liver can cause pain on the right side of your abdomen. If you suspect this is the cause, you definitely need to see a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Other Symptoms: Look out for jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes), fatigue, and dark urine.

Ovarian Cysts in Women

For the ladies, sometimes a cyst on an ovary can cause right-sided abdominal pain. Usually, these cysts go away on their own, but sometimes they can rupture or cause other issues. If the pain persists, a trip to the doctor’s office for an ultrasound might be in order.

Other Symptoms: You may also feel bloated or have irregular periods. Some women even experience pain during physical activities.

Menstrual Pain in Women

If it’s that time of the month, you might experience pain not just in the middle of your abdomen but also on the right or left side. This discomfort is generally due to your menstrual cycle and is called “dysmenorrhea” in medical terms. Over-the-counter pain relievers and heat pads can help make you more comfortable. However, if the pain is very intense or different from your usual menstrual cramps, it’s a good idea to check in with a doctor. You know your body best, so don’t ignore what it’s trying to tell you.

Other Symptoms: You might also have mood swings, fatigue, or even headaches during your menstrual cycle.

What to Do When Experiencing Right Side Abdominal Pain

So, you’re dealing with some annoying or even painful sensations on the right side of your belly. What should you do next? Here are some tips for various scenarios:

For Gas and Indigestion

If you think your pain is from gas or indigestion, try taking an antacid or simply waiting it out. A walk might help, too, as movement can help pass the gas.

For Gallbladder Issues

Should you suspect gallbladder problems, like gallstones, don’t wait around. Get medical help, especially if the pain is intense or prolonged. You might need an ultrasound or even surgery to remove the gallbladder.

For Kidney Problems

If it feels like the pain is near your lower back and you think it could be your kidneys, drink plenty of water. However, don’t hesitate to consult a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and possible medications.

For Appendicitis

In the case of appendicitis, this is an emergency. Don’t waste any time. Head straight to the emergency room, as you’ll likely need surgery to remove the inflamed appendix.

For Liver Disease

If you’re worried it’s your liver, a doctor’s appointment is crucial. You’ll need tests like blood work and an ultrasound to confirm the diagnosis, followed by the appropriate treatment.

For Ovarian Cysts

For women who think an ovarian cyst might be the culprit, it’s usually best to wait and see if the pain resolves on its own. But if the pain is severe or continues, consult your healthcare provider for an ultrasound and further advice.

For Menstrual Pain

If you’re a woman experiencing menstrual-related right-side pain, over-the-counter pain relievers and heat pads can provide relief. Yet, if the pain is unusual or especially intense, you should reach out to a healthcare provider for further evaluation.

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