Upper Right Side Abdomen Pain Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, Home Remedies

Upper Right Side Abdomen Pain Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, Home Remedies

Upper right side abdominal pain with additional symptoms should prompt a closer examination for the cause of that pain. Any pain that is intractable, severe, or otherwise accompanied by symptoms that suggest infection, such as fever or chills, should be promptly addressed by your physician.

Causes of Upper Right Abdominal Pain

Right upper quadrant pain can have a variety of causes. These causes are usually related to the underlying organ, tissue, muscle, or, rarely, bone. Pain can be referred to the right upper quadrant from several different places outside of the abdomen.

Liver Disorders

Possible causes of upper right abdominal pain can include liver disease. Hepatitis A is one of those causes of right upper quadrant pain that comes from consumption of food contaminated by feces, usually by an infected food preparer who has not washed their hands after using the bathroom. Hepatitis B, C, and the other types of blood-borne hepatitis can cause jaundice, right-upper quadrant pain, nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite.

Gall Bladder Conditions

The function of the gallbladder is to store bile. Sometimes, there are stones formed in the gallbladder resulting in pain in the right upper abdomen. This is known as biliary colic. Cholecystitis is another medical condition where there is infection of the gall bladder. Symptoms of biliary colic are:
  • Sudden severe pain, which is dull in nature, occurring in the right upper abdomen.
  • Pain radiates to the right back and beneath the right shoulder blade.
  • Pain can be spasmodic or continuous.
  • Nausea or vomiting may be present.
  • Patient is unable to adopt a comfortable position and is restless because of pain.
  • Pain gets aggravated after consuming a heavy/fatty meal.
Seek immediate medical attention if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms. Surgery is needed for gallstones.

Kidney Stones

The function of the kidney is excreting waste products in the form of urine, after it filters them from the blood. Stones are formed in the kidneys due to accumulation of salts. Small stones may not cause any symptoms, but stones larger than 7 mm cause excruciating pain. CT scan helps with the diagnosis. If left untreated, it can result in obstruction of the ureter, infection and hydronephrosis.

The symptoms of upper abdominal pain occurring from kidney stone is:

  • It can be gradual or sudden in onset.
  • Pain is extremely severe in nature and is spasmodic.
  • Pain commences in the right or left upper flank and spreads towards the abdomen.
  • Fever may be present.
  • Pain when urinating.
  • Frequent urination.
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, then seek immediate medical attention.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Pelvic inflammatory disease is a severe infection of the uterus, which is caused by bacteria, usually sexually transmitted, which will ascent up the vaginal tract through the cervix (the opening to the uterus) into the uterus. Pain can be "referred" from this infection to the right upper quadrant. Pelvic inflammatory disease is usually accompanied by vaginal discharge.


These include infections anywhere in the digestive tract or the pelvis. Sudden onset of abdominal pain, with nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, may be due to food poisoning, which can occur from a variety of different harmful bacteria or viruses which are usually transmitted by eating food that has been sitting for a while, or by food contaminated with feces.


Pregnancy can cause right upper quadrant abdominal pain by pushing up your abdominal contents higher in the abdomen. Pregnant women may have problems with digestion as a result of hormonal imbalances or simply as a result of the mechanical displacement of their digestive organs, by their growing uterus. In the latter stages of pregnancy, some women experience pre-eclampsia, and this condition is very serious when it causes right upper quadrant pain. It is initially characterized by high blood pressure and swelling in the feet and lower legs.

Right Sided Lower Lobe Pneumonia

Inflammation/infection of the lung is known as pneumonia. If the lower region of the right lung is infected, it causes right upper abdominal pain. The Symptoms of this pain is:
  • Continuous pain, dull in nature.
  • Worsening pain with coughing.
  • Difficulty in breathing.
  • Cough with yellow or greenish sputum/phlegm.
  • High grade fever may be present.
  • General ill appearance.

Gastric Diseases

There are some people who experience chronic abdominal pain, and some causes include Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.

Cardiovascular Disorders

Sometimes, cardiovascular disorders can cause abdominal pain. For example, some people experiencing a heart attack may actually experience pain in their abdomen, although they are more likely to experience discomfort in the chest and upper arms, sometimes radiating to the jaw or the neck.

Respiratory Diseases

You may also have a respiratory disease such as pneumonia, that may be located in one of the lower lobes of your lungs, and this may seem to be causing abdominal pain. You will have other respiratory symptoms, however, that will allow your doctor to rule out abdominal causes of respiratory problems.

When a patient visits a doctor because of right side abdominal pain, he or she will be asked questions concerning the precise location of the pain, the kind of the pain, the duration, and the accompanying symptoms (if any). This information along with physical examination and relevant laboratory tests will enable the physician to make an accurate diagnosis. 

Seek immediate medical attention if you experience the abovementioned symptoms.

Diagnosing Upper Right Side Abdomen Pain

Determining the location and type of pain is the first step in diagnosing upper abdominal pain. When the abdomen is rigid and tender to touch it is a serious sign. If the abdomen is gently pressed and then released, it is a symptom that the patient needs Immediate medical care.

In addition to a physical examination and medical history, blood and urine tests are commonly part of reaching a diagnosis. Endoscopy is often used to examine the interior of the digestive system to see if there are ulcers or gallstones or other problems.

A ruptured spleen is a medical emergency that needs immediate attention and is likely to require surgery.

Depending on the symptoms that come with the upper abdominal pain, your doctor will make the best diagnosis possible. Then a treatment plan can be set up.

Treatments for Upper Right Abdominal Pain

Treatment of right upper quadrant pain can vary from waiting it out, which is appropriate if it is short-lived and not too severe.

If your pain appear is accompanied by symptoms that are familiar to you, such as constipation or the feeling that you are unable to pass gas, you should increase your intake of water, and try an over the counter remedy such as Metamucil or another dietary fiber, or Gas-X, respectively.

Whatever you believe the cause of your abdominal pain to be, it is important to be aware of possible causes of abdominal pain that should prompt evaluation by a professional. If you have a history of abdominal pain, and you recognize common symptoms, then you might consider a more conservative approach. It is always important to be aware that right upper quadrant pain may be associated with conditions that range from fairly insignificant to life-threatening, and if your right upper quadrant pain is unusual in nature, or accompanied by other symptoms, don't hesitate to seek advice from a health care professional.

Quite often, 50% of cases,  specific reasons for upper abdominal pain are not clearly diagnosed. Consequently caution must be taken to administer the most appropriate treatments based upon the results of the various tests that have been give.

See your physician for abrupt onset of severe pain accompanied by fever, chills, nausea or vomiting. Any other symptoms, including pain with urination, jaundice (yellow skin or yellowed whites of the eyes), severe back pain, accompanying chest pain, sweating, or profuse diarrhea for longer than a day, should prompt a visit to your physician or the local emergency department immediately. An acute abdomen, or abdominal pain indicating a need for surgical intervention, is characterized by severe pain when you release pressure on your abdomen.