Causes pain in the lower right abdomen

Pain in the lower right abdomen can be a warning sign of severe disease. Save Pixland / Pixland / Getty Images

Pain in the lower right abdomen is common and may pose a serious illness. This type of pain may originate in the gastrointestinal, urinary, cardiovascular or reproductive tract. More specifically, within each of these organ systems it is not common and common conditions that can cause pain in the lower abdominal right. There are also several warning signs associated with right lower abdominal pain that motivate you to seek urgent medical assessment.

gastrointestinal causes

Most organs in your belly belong to the gastrointestinal system. So it is not surprising that the right lower abdominal pain often have a gastrointestinal origin. Usually, the pain is not the result of something dangerous and can occur from excessive gas or constipation. Less common but more serious causes of right lower abdominal pain include appendicitis, which may be associated with nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite. Intestinal obstruction can also cause pain in this area and occurs when the intestines are blocked. Other less common causes of pain in the lower abdomen right are colon cancer, and Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, two inflammatory diseases that can cause recurrent abdominal pain.

urinary causes

Your right kidney and ureter, the tube that drains urine from the kidney to the bladder, are on the right side of your abdomen. The problems here also may cause pain in the right lower abdomen, most commonly due to renal calculi. Kidney stones cause pain when they get stuck between the kidney and bladder, preventing urine drainage. This pain can be intense, and accompanied by nausea, and may come and go. Less often, an infection in the kidney can cause this type of abdominal pain. Other symptoms include fever, back pain and painful urination. In all cases, a urine test may help clarify the diagnosis.

cardiovascular causes

Although there are no common cardiovascular causes for abdominal pain in the lower right, a rare but serious diagnosis should be considered. An abdominal aortic aneurysm is an abnormal dilation of the aorta, the body's largest blood vessel. A large aneurysm may rupture or tear, which can be life threatening. Even if it does not break or just a tear, an aneurysm of the aorta can cause pain as it grows. This condition is more likely if you are an older man, especially if you are a smoker.

Causes reproductive system

The components of the male and female reproductive system can cause abdominal pain in the lower right. If you're a woman, ovarian cysts are a common cause. An ovarian cyst is a small, fluid-filled structure that can be found on the surface or within an ovary. If it is large or ruptures, it can cause pain. Less common but more serious causes of lower right abdominal pain in women include abnormal twisting of an ovary in the blood supply, called ovarian torsion and ectopic pregnancy. With this condition, pregnancy occurs in an inappropriate place. If you are a man, testicular torsion can cause abdominal pain, because the nerves which collect testicle pain can "referencing" the abdomen.


While all unexplained right lower abdominal pain should be seen by a trained medical professional, there are some warning signs that should motivate you to seek immediate medical attention. These include, but are not limited to progressive or severe pain, especially if it is a sudden onset, pain associated with fever, nausea or vomiting, and pain associated with weight loss, change in blood bowel habits or the feces. If you're a woman, the pain associated with vaginal discharge or bleeding also requires immediate medical evaluation.