Feeling pain on your right side underneath the ribs is somewhat common. This symptom is typically associated with gastrointestinal disorders or severe trauma. The rib cage is intended to provide protection for the lungs and heart, but they also create a chamber where the lungs can expand when during respiration. Given the close proximity of several organs, pain in the lower area of the rib cage can also be attributed to additional disorders. Treatment should depend on the root cause.
Causes of Pain on Right Side under Ribs
1. Liver Diseases
The liver is located in the upper right quadrant of your abdomen and is essential to ridding the blood of toxins. If you note a sharp pain beneath the rib cage it may be a symptom of a liver disease. Hepatomegaly or enlargement of the liver, liver cirrhosis, hepatitis or fatty liver disease may cause the upper right section of the abdomen to feel pain. Excessive use of drugs or alcohol, exposure to certain toxins, injury or autoimmune disease may lead to liver damage that can cause this pain.
2. Gallbladder Problems
The gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac located below the liver that is responsible for storing and releasing bile. Pain in the right quadrant of the abdomen may be an indication that you are suffering from cholecystitis or inflammation of the gallbladder. Cholecystitis may appear due to the presence of gallstones. This pain may become worse after finishing a meal, particularly if this meal includes fatty foods. It is vital to have these symptoms checked as soon as possible to avoid further damage.
The appendix is a small finger-like pouch that attaches to the large intestine on the right side of the abdomen. If the appendix becomes infected it can become inflamed, causing pain on the right side of the abdomen. If this infection becomes severe the appendix may rupture. This condition may be fatal if not dealt with immediately.
4. Crohn’s Disease
This inflammatory bowel disorder may affect any portion of the gastrointestinal tract. It is frequently caused by an infectious agent or a bowel obstruction that leads to inflammatory lesions forming on the walls of the digestive tract. Those suffering from Crohn’s disease will frequently experience vomiting, abdominal pain and pain beneath the right section of the rib cage.
Ulcers are open sources that can cause abdominal bleeding due to the presence of Hpylori bacteria or the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Peptic ulcers commonly affect the duodenum and may require surgery immediately as they are more detrimental. If these ulcers continue to swell or scar it can lead to pain beneath the rib cage.
6. Acid Reflux
Acid reflux is commonly associated with throat pain or heart burn but some patients also experience pain lower in the abdomen. Those that experience LRR pain may find that taking medication designed to block stomach acid can cause this discomfort to subside.
If the costal cartilage at the junction of the sternum and ribs becomes inflamed it is known as costochondritis. This condition may be caused by trauma to the chest wall or a viral infection in the area. Pain from this condition is typically experienced in the chest but viral infections may also cause discomfort that radiates out toward the lower sections of the rib cage. You may note tenderness in your costosternal joint or pain while breathing should this condition affect your body.
8. Rib Injuries
Your ribs are very strong but they can still break if they are exposed to blunt trauma such as that experienced during a vehicle accident. Any time your chest receives a harsh blow there is a possibility that your ribs may become cracked or bruised. Severe injuries can lead to rib fractures. When the lower ribs are exposed to trauma it can lead to a sharp pain beneath the rib cage. In this case it is likely that your pain will become more severe if you twist or bend your body.
As we eat, food passes from the esophagus through the hiatal, or a small opening in the diaphragm that opens into the stomach. If the hiatal should open just far enough for food to pass. If it opens farther a portion of the stomach may protrude through this opening into the chest cavity. When this occurs the lower sphincter muscle will not be able to function properly, limiting the body’s ability to prevent backflow of stomach contents into the esophagus. This will cause pain in the chest or heartburn. If the hernia is situated lower it may cause pain below the rib cage.
10. Intercostal Strain
A varieties of muscles known as intercostal muscles are located beneath the ribcage. These expand to allowing the rib cage to make room for the expanding lungs when inhaling then contract as you exhale. This allows the body to expel air or draw in oxygen as necessary. Twisting the torso rapidly may cause these muscles to become strained, leading to pain beneath the rib cage. This pain may be more noticeable while breathing.
11. Typhoid Fever
Typhoid fever is an infection caused by Salmonella typhi bacteria. This infection is uncommon in industrialized nations but still a common threat in developing nations. You may contract typhoid fever by coming into contact with another who is infected or contaminated food and water. Symptoms include a fever of 103-104 degrees F, headache, abdominal pain, fatigue, diarrhea, sore throat, rash or constipation. These symptoms often move in gradually. This pain should quickly subside after the administration of antibiotics.
12. Diabetic Ketoacidosis
This complication of diabetes is defined by a high level of ketone or blood acid production. This largely occurs in those with type I diabetes when a person has a sufficient amount of insulin in their body. Insulin is used to break down fats which can lead to the generation of toxic ketone acids leading to ketoacidosis. Symptoms of this condition include excessive thirst, abdominal pain, nausea, frequent urination, loss of appetite or anorexia, fatigue, weakness, fruity-smelling breath or shortness of breath.
13. Ectopic Pregnancy
Constant pain beneath the ribcage may be a symptom of ovarian cysts or ectopic pregnancy. This is the implantation of an embryo within the fallopian tube. Pain from this condition will cause pain in the upper quadrant of the abdomen, but the severity of this pain will vary amongst patient.
14. Excessive Vitamins
Regular consumption of a multivitamin may cause the patient to overdose on certain vitamins. Excessive consumption of vitamins A, D, E, iron and others may lead to pain in the abdomen and other symptoms. It may take two weeks after the cessation of your use of vitamin supplements for this discomfort to subside.
15. Other Causes
Pain experienced in the lower right side of the ribs may be caused by a medical condition. Pancreatitis is a condition that caused the pancreas to become inflamed, leading to pain below the rib cage. IBS is a condition that may lead to distressing symptoms including gas, constipation or bloating. An infection in the lungs such as pneumonia or an infection of the lignin of the lungs can cause pain beneath the rib cage. This may be accompanied by constant discomfort or difficulty breathing.
Treatments for Pain on Right Side under Ribs
Because abdominal pain beneath the ribs may be caused by a variety of conditions it may require further study to diagnose the root of your discomfort. Those that suspect they have suffered a rib injury should consult a doctor as quickly as possible. Your physician can evaluate the properties of your pain, the onset, duration and site of the pain to better understand how it may be treated. Resting the body is essential to healing in the shortest time possible. Drug therapy may be used to help reduce the pain, but you may require surgery to address multiple fractures or a displaced rib.