Several different conditions can cause pain in the lower right area of the abdomen. Appendicitis is one of the most common causes, while indigestion, cramps and kidney disease can also cause pain.

The abdomen is the area between the chest and the pelvis. It contains vital organs involved in digestion, such as the intestines and the liver. In addition, the lower right portion of the abdomen includes a part of the colon and the right ovary in women.

This article will outline the potential causes of pain in the lower right abdomen, their symptoms, and whether someone should seek medical assistance for them.

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In some cases, a pain in the lower right abdomen can indicate a more serious condition that will require immediate medical assistance.

Appendicitis

When the pain is specific to the lower right abdomen, appendicitis is one of the most common causes. The appendix is a tube-like structure attached to the large intestines.

Appendicitis occurs when the appendix inflames, causing pain in the middle of the abdomen that spreads to the right lower abdomen, where the pain becomes severe.

Other symptoms can include:

In some cases, it may be necessary to remove the appendix to relieve the pain. Appendix removal poses no additional health risks.

Kidney stones

Nephrolithiasis, also known as kidney stones, is a common condition. Minerals build up in the kidney to form stones, most composed of calcium.

The size of kidney stones can vary. The smaller stones can pass through the urinary system with ease, but larger stones can get stuck and cause severe pain around the lower back, side, abdomen, and groin.

As the stones move throughout the urinary system, the pain will vary in location and severity.

Other symptoms can include:

Kidney infection

Bacteria in the urinary system can infect one or both kidneys. As a result, pain typically occurs in the lower back, side, and groin. However, one can also feel pain in the lower abdomen.

Medical intervention may be necessary to prevent permanent damage from a kidney infection. Higher-risk patients such as those that are pregnant, have diabetes, or received a kidney transplant, may be more likely to require medical assistance.

Symptoms can include:

Kidney infections can be mistaken for urinary tract infections, such as cystitis, with similar symptoms.

Hernia

A hernia is where internal organs or tissues push through a weakening in a muscle or tissue wall and cause a small lump. The condition most commonly happens around the abdominal area.

Groin and femoral hernias often occur on the right side, and their severity may increase over time. Depending on the severity of the hernia, someone may or may not require surgery or other treatments.

Irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic digestive system condition.

IBS can cause pain in the abdominal area along with other symptoms, including:

Inflammatory bowel disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a group of conditions that affect the digestive system.

Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease both cause an inflammation of the gut and make up most cases of IBD. They can cause pain in the lower abdomen plus:

Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.

Pain in the lower right abdomen can mean several different things. Furthermore, it can often be brief and requires no medical attention. These less severe causes include the following.

Indigestion

People feel pain in the lower abdomen region due to indigestion accompanied by other symptoms, such as heartburn and flatulence.

Indigestion is easily managed with over-the-counter medication but may require medical attention if symptoms last more than two weeks.

Intestinal gas

Gas can build up in the intestines when food does not digest properly, causing feelings of discomfort and bloating in the abdominal region.

There are significant anatomical differences between the abdomens of males and females. These differences mean pain in the lower right abdomen can have gender-specific causes.

These conditions also require immediate medical attention. Causes specific to birth-assigned females include the following.

Menstrual cramps

Women can experience abdominal pain before or during their period. They may also experience aches in their back and chest, and feelings of nausea or headaches.

Ovarian cyst

Cysts are sacs that can develop on the ovaries. They are often harmless, but larger ones can cause dull or sharp pain in the abdomen. Other symptoms can include:

Endometriosis

Endometriosis is where endometrial-like tissue grows in other areas, like the ovaries or the stomach. It is a chronic condition and can cause pain in the lower abdomen or back. Endometrial tissue forms the lining of the uterus.

The severity of symptoms varies and can include:

Pelvic inflammatory disease

Pelvic inflammatory disease is an infection of the genital tract. It can cause abdominal pain, but symptoms are often mild and infrequent. They can include:

Ectopic pregnancy

An ectopic pregnancy can occur when a fertilized egg is present outside the uterus, such as in one of the fallopian tubes. It can cause pain in the abdomen and other symptoms, including:

Ovarian torsion

The ovaries can twist with surrounding tissues, restricting blood flow and causing severe pain in the lower abdomen. Other symptoms can include:

  • pelvic pain
  • flank pain
  • nausea
  • vomiting

Causes specific to birth-assigned males include the following.

Inguinal hernia

Inguinal hernias typically occur when fatty tissue or a part of the bowel pushes through passages in the lower abdomen. These hernias are the most common type of hernia and usually occur in males.

An inguinal hernia causes a small lump to develop at the top of the thigh and can cause abdominal pain.

The spermatic cords that attach to the testicles can twist and restrict blood flow, causing pain in the abdomen and other symptoms including:

  • a testicle in a higher position
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • pain and swelling in the scrotum

Treatment will depend on the cause of the pain.

At home treatments

People may be able to treat less severe causes of pain in the lower-right abdomen with home remedies, rest, and over-the-counter medications.

Causes such as abdominal gas and indigestion can pass without the need for treatment.

People with IBS may be able to manage pain and discomfort from the condition with dietary and lifestyle changes, medications, and therapy.

However, in more severe cases of abdominal pain, pain relievers and home remedies may not enough to treat symptoms.

Learn more about managing symptoms of IBS here.

When is it an emergency?

If pain is severe or continuous, a person may require medical assistance. For example, a person with a kidney infection would require antibiotic medications to remedy their pain.

Surgery may be necessary for some people with severe abdominal pain. For example, appendicitis requires removing the appendix, known as an appendectomy, and kidney stones often require intravenous (IV) pain management while a stone passes, or surgery such as lithotripsy.

Some conditions that cause this pain, such as endometriosis and IBD, are chronic, and only the management of symptoms is possible.

Whatever the treatment, seeking care for persistent or severe pain in the lower-right abdomen can help an individual resume a good quality of life.

In most cases, pain in the lower right abdomen is not a cause for concern. Likewise, gas, indigestion, and menstrual cramps do not typically require a visit to the doctor. However, it is necessary for a person to seek medical attention in many cases of lower right abdominal pain.

The efficacy of further treatments will determine a person’s individual outlook.

Abdominal pain has several possible causes in which many of the same symptoms overlap, such as nausea and vomiting.

Everyone should listen to their body and always speak to their doctor if they’re concerned, especially if symptoms persist or interfere with daily life.