Upper Right Abdominal Pain: 6 Causes and When to Seek Medical Attention

Upper Right Abdominal Pain can be a distressing and uncomfortable experience. It’s not uncommon to feel worried or anxious when you experience this type of pain, as it can be caused by a variety of factors.

In this blog post, we will explore some of the common causes of upper stomach pain, their symptoms, and when to seek medical attention.

What Causes Upper Right Abdominal Pain? Understanding the Discomfort

1. Indigestion

One of the most common causes of upper stomach pain is indigestion, also known as dyspepsia. Indigestion can occur when your stomach struggles to break down food, leading to discomfort and pain in the upper abdomen.

However, Symptoms of indigestion may include a burning sensation, bloating, nausea, and even vomiting.  It is often triggered by overeating, consuming spicy or fatty foods, or drinking alcohol.

2. Gastritis

Gastritis refers to inflammation of the stomach lining. When the stomach lining becomes irritated or inflamed, it can lead to upper abdominal pain.

Common causes of gastritis include infection with Helicobacter pylori bacteria, excessive alcohol consumption, and the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen.

Moreover, Gastritis can cause gnawing or burning pain in the upper abdomen and may be accompanied by nausea and vomiting.

3. Peptic Ulcers

Peptic ulcers are open sores that develop on the lining of the stomach, small intestine, or esophagus. These ulcers can result in sharp, stabbing upper abdominal pain, often felt between meals or during the night.

Peptic ulcers can be caused by H. pylori infection, NSAID use, or excessive stomach acid production. If left untreated, they can lead to serious complications.

4. Gallstones

Gallstones are solid particles that form in the gallbladder, a small organ located beneath the liver. When gallstones block the bile duct, it can cause upper abdominal pain known as biliary colic.

The pain can be severe and is often accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Gallstone pain may radiate to the back or shoulder blades.

5. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

GERD is a chronic condition where stomach acid frequently flows back into the esophagus, causing irritation and inflammation.

While the primary symptom is heartburn, it can also lead to upper abdominal discomfort, especially after eating. Over time, untreated GERD can damage the esophagus.

6. Pancreatitis
Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas, an organ located behind the stomach. Acute pancreatitis can cause severe upper abdominal pain that may radiate to the back.

However, It often occurs due to gallstones or excessive alcohol consumption. Chronic pancreatitis, on the other hand, can lead to persistent pain and digestive issues.

When to Seek Medical Attention

While some cases of upper stomach pain can be managed with over-the-counter remedies or dietary changes, it’s crucial to know when to seek medical attention. Consult a healthcare professional if you experience:

  • Severe or persistent upper abdominal pain.
  • Pain accompanied by vomiting blood or passing dark, tarry stools.
  • Difficulty swallowing or persistent heartburn.
  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • A family history of gastrointestinal disorders or cancer.

Upper stomach pain can be caused by various factors, from indigestion and gastritis to more serious conditions like gallstones or pancreatitis. Understanding the underlying cause is essential for proper treatment.

If you experience persistent or severe upper abdominal pain, it’s important to consult a healthcare provider to receive the appropriate diagnosis and care.

Remember that early intervention can lead to better outcomes and relief from discomfort.

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