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  • 10 Possible Reasons For That Pain On Your Right Side

    It also depends if the pain is in the upper or lower part.
    by Jocelyn Valle .
10 Possible Reasons For That Pain On Your Right Side
PHOTO BY Shutterstock
  • Editor’s Note: This article is intended for information purposes only. It does not substitute a doctor. It is vital to always consult a medically trained professional for advice that suits your needs best.

    The pain you feel in your stomach can have a variety of causes, sometimes depending on which side it comes from. If it's stomach pain at the right side, for instance, several medical conditions may be involved.

    What is stomach pain?

    Generally speaking, stomach is mentioned interchangeable with abdomen. So anything involved around your mid-section, you'd say either stomach or abdomen. But strictly speaking, abdomen and stomach are not one and the same.

    Abdomen is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as "the part of the body between the thorax and the pelvis," and it contains many of the visceral organs and especially those involved in digestion. These body parts include the stomach, liver, pancreas, kidneys, and intestines.

    The abdomen is commonly divided into four quadrants, according to the medical paper published by the American College of Surgeons (ACS):

    • left upper quadrant
    • right upper quadrant
    • left lower quadrant
    • right upper quadrant

    The researchers point out that acute abdomen refers to "a sudden, severe abdominal pain that may indicate an emergency and urgent surgical intervention." But a thorough history and physical examination will lead to the proper diagnosis, or cause of the pain. That's why they recommend consulting with your doctor about your symptoms and stomach ache medicine.

    Common causes of abdominal/stomach pain at right side

    If you feel pain specifically at the right side of your stomach or abdomen, it may indicate different medical conditions but with similarities.


    Biliary colic

    Biliary colic, the researchers say, is the intense, dull pain in the right upper quadrant of the abdomen. It is mainly due to obstruction caused by stones in the cystic duct or common bile duct of the biliary tree. It also typically occurs after eating a large, fatty meal that causes contraction of the gallbladder.

    Acute cholecystitis

    Acute cholecystitis is inflammation of the gallbladder, which typically develops over hours, usually because a gallstone obstructs the cystic duct. Symptoms include prolonged pain in the right upper quadrant, as well as tenderness, and sometimes accompanied by fever, chills, nausea, and vomiting.


    Choledocholithiasis is the result of a gallstone blocking the common bile duct. The bile then is unable to flow past it, thus backing up into the liver instead. The gallbladder  sits under the liver and stores bile, which is produced by the liver. It helps with digestion of fat.

    Ascending cholangitis

    Ascending cholangitis, also called acute cholangitis, is a life-threatening condition caused by an ascending bacterial infection of the biliary tree.  Symptoms include fever, jaundice, and pain in the right upper quadrant.

    Biliary dyskinesia

    Biliary dyskinesia is classified as a motility disorder that affects the gallbladder and sphincter of Oddi. In turn, the motility disorder of the gallbladder is called gallbladder dyskinesia. Symptoms include dysfunctional contraction of gallbladder and pain in the right upper quadrant.

    Acute hepatitis

    Acute hepatitis is inflammation of the liver due to an infection with one of the five hepatitis viruses. Symptoms include fatigue, malaise, jaundice, and dark urine.

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    Perihepatitis (Fitz-Hugh-Curtis)

    Perihepatitis, also known as Fitz-Hugh-Curtis syndrome (FHCS), is a chronic manifestation of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). It's characterized by inflammation of the liver capsule, without the involvement of the liver parenchyma, with adhesion formation accompanied by right upper quadrant pain. 

    Hepatic abscess

    Hepatic abscess refers to the pus-filled mass in the liver that can develop from injury to the liver or an intraabdominal infection disseminated from the portal circulation. Symptoms include fever, tenderness fever, distention (ascites), peripheral edema, gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding, and encephalopathy.

    Budd-Chiari syndrome

    Budd-Chiari syndrome is defined by the Cleveland Clinic as a condition in which the hepatic veins (veins that drain the liver) are blocked or narrowed by a clot (mass of blood cells). This blockage causes blood to back up into the liver, and as a result, the liver grows larger.

    Portal vein thrombosis

    Portal vein thrombosis is defined by expertes as blockage or narrowing of the portal vein (the blood vessel that brings blood to the liver from the intestines) by a blood clot. Symptoms includes dyspepsia, GI bleeding, and stomach pain at the right side.

    Read here on stomach ache causes among children and here about stomach ache in pregnancy.

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