Abdominal pain is a common, yet scary, occurrence for anyone. Our first thoughts upon encountering abdominal pain is appendicitis, and being admitted to a hospital.
Depending on which side of the abdomen the pain originates in or is focused at, the causes can vary. Here, we talk about the 6 most common causes of lower-right abdominal pain. Usually, such lower abdominal pain indicates a problem in the large intestine.
What Causes Lower-Right Abdominal Pain?
1. Crohn’s Disease Begins As A Mild Cramp
Crohn’s disease is a chronic condition that develops over time. If not addressed quickly, it leads to severe pain in the lower-right abdomen. The disease often builds up as mild cramping over a period of a few months before a full-blown attack. In a checkup, a doctor is likely to ask about episodes of diarrhea, vomiting, and will look for tenderness or a mass in the lower abdomen.1
2. Diverticulitis Causes Inflammation In The Intestine
Simply put, diverticulitis is the inflammation of the intestinal diverticulum. Mild cases produce intermittent pain in the lower abdomen, but severe cases can cause you to convulse in pain. If you can feel a mass in your lower abdomen accompanied by mild fever, consider diverticulitis as a potential problem. In the case of a rupture, a septic shock is imminent, so never ignore pain that gets worse over time.2
3. Appendicitis Induces Pain In The Lower-Right Abdomen
The most common and widely known cause of lower-right abdominal pain is also one of the most dangerous. For now, our understanding of the appendix is limited, but we know that when it is inflamed and ruptured, it can make you very sick. If the pain begins in a diffusive manner and gets concentrated in the lower-right region of the abdomen, visit the ER immediately. Appendicitis usually starts as a dull pain but can get worse very quickly.3
4. Lactose Intolerance Causes Bloating And Gas
If you notice a tenderness in the abdomen and a gassy feeling that gets worse after consuming milk or milk products, you may be lactose intolerant. In most cases, lactose intolerance is diagnosed in early childhood and people with the condition should avoid dairy.4 In case you drink milk accidentally, you might experience bloating, gas, vomiting, and diarrhea. If this happens, check the product labels of foods you ate in the last 24 hours.
5. Kidney Disorders Affect The Abdomen
While back pain is a most common characteristic of kidney disease, sometimes, the infection may be severe enough to manifest as pain in the abdomen. If accompanied by blood in the urine and chills, you must see a doctor immediately. It could be a simple case of cystitis or it could be slightly more severe in the form of a kidney infection.5
6. Colon Cancer Can Begin As An Itch In The Abdomen
Cancer of the large intestine can often cause pain in the lower quadrant where it is present. Colon lesions on the right side often cause a characteristic itch in the region. An examiner will likely find a palpable mass on the right-hand side of the lower abdomen. A biopsy is often the way forward to identify the nature of the mass. 6
|↑1, ↑2||Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Interpreting Signs and Symptoms. Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, 2007.|
|↑3||Balthazar, Emil J., Bernard A. Birnbaum, Joseph Yee, Alec J. Megibow, Julia Roshkow, and Cynthia Gray. “Acute appendicitis: CT and US correlation in 100 patients.” Radiology 190, no. 1 (1994): 31-35.|
|↑4||Barr, Ronald G., Melvin D. Levine, and John B. Watkins. “Recurrent abdominal pain of childhood due to lactose intolerance: a prospective study.” New England Journal of Medicine 300, no. 26 (1979): 1449-1452.|
|↑5, ↑6||J. Carlson, Karen. The New Harvard Guide to Women’s Health. Harvard University Press, 2004.|