Why does the right side hurt and what to do about it

Why does the right side hurt and what to do about it

Why does the right side hurt and what to do about it

June 1, 2019

Educational program Health

Lifehacker figured out how dangerous it is and when to call an ambulance.
Photo by Maria Dronova

Maria Dronova

Why does the right side hurt and what to do about it
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Any pain in the right side is a reason to visit a doctor: too many serious diseases can be associated with it. During an attack, you can guess the source of pain by the location of the organs. But you won’t find out the exact reason yourself: sometimes it hurts in one place, but gives it away in another.

Vera Serezina
Senior physician, medical expert of the laboratory of personalized medicine “LabQuest”.

Only a doctor can determine what caused the pain in the right side. There are the gallbladder, pancreas, ascending colon, liver. So you need to check in any case, even if you think that you don’t have anything serious.

When to call an ambulance

Seek immediate medical attention if you experience sudden and severe pain. Do not wait for the appearance of other dangerous symptoms, in some cases it can end in death.

Also call an ambulance if the pain is not severe, but there are these signs:

  • the temperature rises;
  • there was blood in the stool;
  • pain intensifies;
  • you feel sick or vomit.

Why does my right side hurt?

1. Appendicitis

So called inflammation appendix – a small branch of the large intestine. The first sign of appendicitis is a dull pain near the navel or in the upper part of the abdomen, which descends along its right side surface and becomes acute.

Pain may be accompanied by loss of appetite and fever up to 37–39 ° C, nausea and vomiting, and bloating.

What to do

It needs urgent medical attention and surgery. Therefore, immediately go to the hospital to see a surgeon or call an ambulance.

Your appendix will most likely be cut out laparoscopically through small incisions in the abdominal wall.

Anna Yurkevich
Gastroenterologist. Author of a blog about proper nutrition and digestive health.

Scientists do not have convincing evidence of the negative impact of appendectomy (removal of the appendix) on human health. It is much worse not to have the operation, because the appendix may burst. Then peritonitis will begin – inflammation of the tissue that covers most of the abdominal organs.

2. Gallstones

When there are stones in the gallbladder, we may feel sudden and rapidly increasing pain in the upper right abdomen, under the breasts, in the back between the shoulder blades, and even in the right shoulder. You may also experience nausea or vomiting.

The duration of the pain varies from a couple of minutes to several hours.

What to do

If these symptoms appear, you should either immediately go to the therapist or call an ambulance. Stones may call inflammation of the gallbladder – cholecystitis, blockage of the pancreatic duct and, as a result, pancreatitis.

Frequent bouts of colic are an indication for removal of the gallbladder. This operation is called a cholecystectomy. It is usually done through small incisions in the abdominal wall.

Anna Yurkevich

At an early stage, when the stones are still small, you may be given medication to dissolve them.

3. Kidney stones

They cause sudden excruciating pain in the lower and side of the abdomen, but more often from the back. It either intensifies or weakens.

What to do

A nephrologist will help to deal with the problem, so immediately go to him. He will prescribe medicines for small stones.

For severe pain and large kidney stones, required hospitalization and surgery.

Remember 🧐
  • 12 Signs You Have Kidney Disease

4. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

The gases that collect in the intestine stretch its walls and cause pain in different parts of the abdomen, including the right side.

Usually there is nothing serious about it. But this chronic disease, which means that it will either disappear or appear again.

What to do

Prebiotics, possibly laxatives or antibiotics, should be taken to relieve symptoms. They should be prescribed by a gastroenterologist.

5. Inflammatory Bowel Disease

The most common are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

If the intestines become inflamed, you will feel pain, cramps and swelling in the abdomen. Other symptoms are bloody diarrhea, weight loss, and weakness.

The causes of inflammation are not exactly known, but experts supposethat it’s genetics and problems with the immune system.

What to do

Visit a gastroenterologist. For diagnosis, he will refer you for a stool test or a colonoscopy. And as a treatment, he will prescribe something from this list: aminosalicylates or mesalazines, antibiotics, immunosuppressants, biologics.

6. Constipation

If you can’t go to the toilet, you feel discomfort and heaviness in your stomach, this is constipation.

What to do

This is where a laxative will help. For persistent constipation, consult a general practitioner or gastroenterologist.

7. Duodenal ulcer

An ulcer is a deep defect in the mucous membrane. In most cases, it occurs when the duodenum hits bacterium Helicobacter pylori. In addition to pain in the right side, there may be …


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