11 Causes of Pain on Your Right Side

Did you know that pain on your right side can be a sign of many health problems? In any case, the main thing you should avoid is self-medicating and go to the doctor for a checkup.
11 Causes of Pain on Your Right Side
Nelton Abdon Ramos Rojas

Written and verified by the doctor Nelton Abdon Ramos Rojas.

Last update: 15 December, 2022

Pain on your right side can occur for different reasons. Although some may not be serious, others may require immediate medical attention. Thus, it’s important to visit a doctor for an examination to rule out any serious problems.

It’s important to remember that there are vital organs involved in digestion and urinary function in this area of the body. Therefore, you shouldn’t rule out that the pain may be related to an alteration in these organs. In any case, if it occurs, you’ll have to be alert to other symptoms such as fever, diarrhea, or severe and prolonged pain.

If so, you should seek professional help as soon as possible. You should definitely avoid self-medicating or trying therapies that aren’t endorsed by your doctor. Doing so could worsen the problem. What are the most common causes of this medical condition?

Organs found on your right side

On your right side, we find several organs, of which several are considered vital; these are the following:

  • A kidney
  • One lung
  • The right lobe of the liver
  • The gallbladder
  • Part of the colon
  • The appendix
  • One ovary

Possible causes of pain on your right side

According to information published in the American Academy of Family Physicians, abdominal pain can be a manifestation of many conditions, ranging from benign diseases to surgical emergencies. Thus, and according to this same entity, the location of the pain is a useful starting point for further evaluation.

Considering what we mentioned above, you should bear in mind that pain on your right side may involve different problems associated with the organs of this region. Therefore, once your doctor evaluates your pain, they should suggest additional diagnostic tests. Below, we review some possible causes of pain on your right side.

1. Bone damage

Pain on your right side.

This is one of the main causes of pain on the right side around the rib cage. Injuries in this area are very painful, and it can be particularly painful to breathe as the rib cage expands. Additionally, it can also take some time to heal.

2. Pneumonia

Pneumonia is another possible cause, although it’s much less common. The pain is sharp and stabbing pain and gets worse when you breathe deeply or cough. This condition is also accompanied by symptoms such as cough, yellow mucus, fever, shivering, and difficulty breathing.

3. Gallbladder

Pain in the right side can also be caused by gallbladder problems such as gallstones. A patient with gallstones presents with a yellowish discoloration of the skin and fever. In addition, there is usually pain in the upper right or middle part of the abdomen.

4. Gases

Occasionally, gases are the cause of this pain. This occurs because the body didn’t digest correctly or also due to constipation. Pain on your right side from this cause tends to occur when gas is trapped or doesn’t move well through the digestive system.

5. Appendicitis

This is an inflammation of the appendix, the most common cause of pain in the lower part of the right-hand side of the abdomen, as a publication from the National Center for Biotechnology Information states.

It can happen to people of all ages, but it’s more common between the ages of 10 and 30 years old. The symptoms can begin with pain in the belly or in the upper abdomen, which then moves to the lower right-hand side. When pressure is exerted and then the hand is withdrawn, a sharp pain is felt.

If you have appendicitis, you may also experience nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, or diarrhea. In this case, you must go to the hospital immediately as you may require urgent surgical intervention.

6. Pancreatitis


The pancreas is found below the liver and behind the stomach. Medical conditions such as pancreatic cancer or pancreatitis can cause pain in the upper right-hand side of your abdomen.

7. Abdominal hernia

Abdominal hernia operations are very common to avoid a strangulated hernia. Depending on its position, the hernia can cause abdominal pain on the right side of your stomach, and the area will be painful to touch. It can also cause nausea or frequent vomiting.

8. Kidney problems

Bladder infections or infections in any other part of the urinary tract can extend to the kidneys and cause inflammation and pain. This pain is an abdominal pain beneath the right-hand side of the abdomen, which can later spread to the back.

9. Colon

The upper colon is found on the right-hand side of the abdomen, and it’s the final part of the digestive tract. The pain can be the result of intestinal inflammation, such as colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, or Crohn’s disease.

10. Ovarian cysts

Cysts are small growths that can be found on the surface or inside an ovary. Although they are mostly benign, if they’re large or rupture, they can cause pain.

11. Spinal problems

If the pain in the right side is located backward, in the back, it may be caused by a problem in the spine. This includes scoliosis, although there may also be rotation or displacement of the vertebrae, including impingement.

Diagnosis of pain on your right side

A person with abdominal pain.

As we’ve just seen, there are many possible causes of pain on your right side. For this reason, instead of assuming, it’s essential to consult a professional. According to information published in the International Journal of General Medicine, to make a diagnosis, your doctor should consider:

  • How long you’ve had the pain.
  • The other symptoms you have.
  • Location of the pain.
  • Duration and progression of the pain.
  • If the pain is in the area of the ribs, it’ll be necessary to know if you have a cough, a fever, have suffered an injury to that area, if you’re short of breath, or if you have any skin injuries.
  • Medical and surgical history.

In addition, this study also suggests that you may need to get the following diagnostic tests:

  • Inspection, auscultation, and percussion.
  • Peritoneal irritation tests.
  • Rectal exam.
  • Special abdominal exploration techniques.
  • X-ray of the spinal column.

For obvious reasons, the treatment to address this discomfort will depend a lot on the identified cause. While some cases can be resolved with lifestyle adjustments, others may require medication or surgery.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.