The abdomen, also called the belly, is the part of your body running from below the breastbone down to the upper area of the pelvis. This area contains many vital organs, including your kidney, intestine, liver, and gallbladder. If these organs become irritated or infected, they commonly cause pain and discomfort.
When experiencing lower right abdominal pain, most people conclude that they have appendicitis. But numerous other causes also require immediate medical attention. Women’s right ovary and part of the colon are located in this region. Although most abdominal pains disappear after a few days of rest, it is essential to know the underlying causes.
If you are experiencing persistent pain or discomfort, see your doctor immediately. Seek medical attention if you have a fever, bloody stools, nausea and vomiting, yellowish skin or jaundice, swelling of the abdomen, tenderness when touching the stomach, and pressure or pain in your chest.
What are the Causes of Lower Right Abdominal Pain?
Below are the possible causes of pain in the lower right abdomen.
The common cause of pain in the lower right abdomen is appendicitis. This occurs when the appendix, a finger-shaped pouch that doesn’t seem to have a particular purpose, becomes irritated or inflamed. The pain usually starts from the navel area, and discomfort increases as inflammation worsen.
Other symptoms of appendicitis include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation, abdominal bloating, and pain that worsens if you walk, cough, or make jarring movements.
See a doctor immediately, as this condition can cause serious complications, such as a ruptured appendix, abscess, or infection.
2. Intestinal Gas
The air in the digestive tract or intestinal gas often goes unnoticed until we pass it rectally (flatulence) or burp. Trapped gas in the intestines may result in abdominal pain for a short period. Although all people give gas many times a day, excessive gas may indicate a digestive problem.
Excess upper intestinal gas can be caused by chewing gum, swallowing air, smoking, and overeating. On the other hand, excess lower intestinal gas can result from eating high amounts of certain foods, a disruption in the bacteria in the intestines, or the inability to digest certain foods fully.
Common foods that cause excess gas include lentils, beans, cruciferous vegetables, fructose, dairy products, carbonated beverages, and bran.
A hernia occurs when an internal organ or a body part pushes through muscle or tissue that keeps it in place. Many types of hernias can happen in the abdominal area. All types can cause discomfort or pain.
Other symptoms include feeling constipated or full, bulging or swelling at the side, a dull ache, and pain while lifting, coughing, laughing, or straining.
The most common type of hernia is an inguinal hernia. This occurs when contents of the abdomen, such as part of the small intestine or fat, protrude or stick out through a weak spot in the abdominal wall. Since it cannot improve independently and can lead to severe complications, the best treatment is a surgical procedure.
Also called an upset stomach or dyspepsia, indigestion develops after drinking or eating certain foods. Anxiety, smoking, and certain antibiotics may also cause indigestion.
Although pain commonly occurs in the upper abdomen, it can also be felt in the lower area. Some symptoms you may experience include feeling full during a meal, discomfort in the abdominal area, burning sensation, nausea, and bloating.
Generally, mild indigestion is nothing to fret about. See your doctor if pain or discomfort persists, especially if accompanied by tarry stools, repeated vomiting, loss of appetite, weakness or fatigue, trouble swallowing, and unintentional weight loss.
5. Kidney Stones
Kidney stones are called nephrolithiasis, and renal lithiasis is hard deposits made of salts and minerals in the kidneys.
People do not feel any discomfort or pain until the stones start to move or pass into the tube that connects the kidney to the bladder. When this happens, you may experience severe pain in your side or back and throughout your groin and lower abdomen.
The location and intensity of the pain may change as the stone moves and shifts through the urinary tract. Some symptoms that may come with it include painful urination, nausea or vomiting, urine that smells bad or cloudy, red or brown urine, frequent urination, and a strong urge to pee repeatedly.
6. Kidney Infection
The most common cause of kidney infections is bacteria that enter the urinary tract through the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the body.
One or both kidneys could be infected, requiring prompt medical attention. The bacteria can spread to your bloodstream without proper treatment and cause severe complications.
In addition to feeling pain in the lower abdomen, other symptoms of a kidney infection include nausea, vomiting, chills, fever, frequent urination, burning, or pain when urinating, and frequent urination.
Diverticula are bulging pouches that can develop in the lining of the digestive tract, most often in the lower area of the colon. These are common among people who are over 40. But this condition is called diverticulitis, when one or more of these small pouches become infected or inflamed.
Common symptoms of diverticulitis include constant pain in the abdominal area, fever, nausea and vomiting, abdominal tenderness, and diarrhea or constipation. Although mild diverticulitis may be treated at home, surgery may be required in cases of complicated diverticulitis.
8. Irritable Bowel Syndrome
The leading cause of irritable bowel syndrome isn’t known. Still, several factors can contribute to its development, such as inflammation in the intestines, muscle contractions, and abnormalities in the nerves in the digestive tract. Stress, food, and hormones can also trigger the symptoms of IBS.
Besides abdominal pain, you may also experience bloating, cramping, constipation or diarrhea, excess gas, and mucus in your stools. More severe symptoms include unexplained vomiting, weight loss, difficulty swallowing, rectal bleeding, iron deficiency anemia, and pain not relieved by a bowel movement or passing gas.
See a doctor if you experience any symptoms, as it may indicate a more severe condition, such as colon cancer.
9. Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory bowel diseases are disorders that involve chronic inflammation of the digestive system. Even though the exact cause is still unknown, stress and diet were suspected to aggravate IBD. Family history, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, and smoking may also increase one’s risk of developing IBD.
Types of inflammatory bowel disease include Chron’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Both conditions may involve abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, weight loss, and fatigue.
Other symptoms common to ulcerative colitis and Chron’s disease are cramping, fever, and blood in stools. If left untreated, it can lead to life-threatening complications.
Endometriosis could also cause lower right abdominal pain in women. It is a painful disorder when the endometrium, tissue that lines the uterus inside, develops outside the uterus. This condition commonly involves the pelvis’s fallopian tubes, ovaries, and tissue lining. In rare cases, it may spread beyond pelvic organs.
The first symptom of endometriosis is pain in the pelvic area, often linked to the menstrual period. Women with this condition reported that their menstrual pain is far worse than usual. Other symptoms of endometriosis include excessive bleeding, pain with intercourse, pain with urination or bowel movements, and infertility.
11. Ovarian Torsion
Also known as adnexal torsion, ovarian torsion happens when an ovary or fallopian tube becomes twisted, cutting off the blood supply to the organ. One of the possible causes of lower right abdominal pain, its other symptoms, includes irregular periods, feeling full during a meal, nausea, and vomiting. Without prompt treatment, it can lead to the loss of an ovary.
Although it is unclear how this condition occurs, women are more likely to get ovarian torsion if they develop ovarian cysts. Other factors that can increase one’s risk of experiencing it are being pregnant, having a long ovarian ligament, polycystic ovarian syndrome, tubal ligation, and undergoing hormonal treatments.
12. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
An infection of the female reproductive organs, pelvic inflammatory disease, happens when bacteria enter the uterus or fallopian tubes. PID doesn’t always show signs and symptoms, so the condition might be detected later if you experience severe pelvic pain or have trouble getting pregnant.
Symptoms of PID include pain in the lower abdomen, heavy discharge with a foul odor, bleeding or pain during intercourse, painful urination, and abnormal uterine bleeding.
13. Ovarian Cyst
Another possible cause of lower right abdominal pain is an ovarian cyst, a fluid-filled pocket or sac in or on the surface of an ovary. Many women develop ovarian cysts, but most are harmless, don’t cause discomfort or pain, and go away independently. However, large ovarian cysts can cause bloating, heaviness, or fullness in the abdomen and dull or sharp aches in the lower abdomen.
Visit your physician immediately if the symptoms are accompanied by rapid breathing, fever, weakness, sudden or severe abdominal pain, clammy and cold skin, and vomiting. Infrequent complications associated with this condition are rupture and ovarian torsion.
14. Ectopic Pregnancy
An ectopic pregnancy happens when a fertilized egg attaches and develops outside the uterus. This pregnancy cannot generally continue as the embryo cannot survive. If left untreated, the growing tissue may lead to life-threatening bleeding.
Women experiencing ectopic pregnancy may have early symptoms, such as breast tenderness, missed periods, and nausea. However, it can’t proceed as usual, and signs will increase as the fertilized egg develops in an improper area.
Seek medical attention if you experience the signs of ectopic pregnancy along with shoulder pain, severe abdominal pain, fainting or lightheadedness, and bleeding.
15. Colon Cancer
A type of cancer that starts in the ovaries is often unnoticed until it has spread within the abdomen and pelvis. At this stage, it is frequently fatal and more challenging to treat.
Chemotherapy and surgery are commonly used to treat this type of cancer. Early-stage ovarian cancer doesn’t always show symptoms, but the signs of advanced-stage cancer are often mistaken for other common benign conditions.
These symptoms may include abdominal bloating or swelling, weight loss, frequent urination, discomfort or pain in the pelvis area, and quickly feeling full during a meal. If you experience any worrying symptoms, visit your doctor for a proper diagnosis and prompt treatment.
Most cases of lower right abdominal pain are nothing to worry about. Mild conditions, such as indigestion and intestinal gas, can be treated at home with natural remedies. But if the pain lasts for more than a few days, make sure that you consult your doctor immediately.