Pain on the right side of the abdomen can be caused by conditions such as appendicitis, hernia, kidney issues, reproductive system issues, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), indigestion, or even gas.

There are many possible reasons for discomfort in your right abdominal region. More often than not, pain in the lower right abdomen is nothing to worry about. It’ll go away on its own in a day or two.

If you’re experiencing persistent discomfort, though, you should see a doctor. They can assess your symptoms and make a diagnosis.

If you have lower right abdominal pain, you might be wondering if you need to go to the emergency room.

Most of the time, lower right abdominal pain isn’t serious. You should get immediate medical attention if you’re experiencing sudden, severe abdominal pain, or your abdominal pain is accompanied by any of the following symptoms:

If you notice these symptoms, call 911 or local emergency services or have someone drive you to the nearest emergency room. Treatment can help prevent these symptoms from becoming severe or life threatening.


Your appendix is a small, thin tube that’s attached to your large intestine. When your appendix becomes inflamed, it’s known as appendicitis. This condition is a common cause of pain in the lower right abdomen.

The pain may come on suddenly and get worse when you move or breathe.

Other symptoms of appendicitis can include:

  • loss of appetite
  • nausea or vomiting
  • abdominal swelling
  • fever
  • bowel problems, such as diarrhea, constipation, or being unable to pass gas

The condition often requires immediate medical attention. It’s possible for the inflamed appendix to burst, which can cause life threatening complications. So, if you’re experiencing symptoms of appendicitis, you should see a doctor right away or go to the nearest emergency room.

While antibiotics can clear some cases of appendicitis, surgery is sometimes needed to remove the appendix (appendectomy).

Kidney infection

A kidney infection is caused by bacteria that usually come from your urinary tract. One or both of your kidneys could be affected by the infection.

Although you may feel pain in your lower abdomen, discomfort from a kidney infection more often occurs in your back or sides. You may also feel pain in your groin, but it’s less common.

Other symptoms include:

When untreated, kidney infections can cause permanent damage and serious complications. If you think you could have a kidney infection, you should see a doctor right away.

Kidney stones

Kidney stones are a hard buildup of minerals and salts that can form inside your kidneys. You may not feel any pain if the kidney stones are small. If a large kidney stone begins to move around or pass into the tube that connects your kidney and bladder, you may feel severe pain in your lower abdomen, back, side, or groin.

The intensity and location of the pain may change as the kidney stone shifts and moves through your urinary tract.

Other symptoms include:

  • pain when you pee
  • pink, red, or brown urine
  • urine that’s cloudy or smells bad
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • feeling the constant need to pee
  • peeing more often than usual
  • fevers and chills, if infection is also present

If you have these symptoms, you should see a doctor.


A hernia happens when a part of your body pushes through the lining or muscle that holds it in place. Most hernias happen in the abdomen. They can cause pain or discomfort in the affected area.

Other common symptoms include:

  • swelling or bulging on part of your belly
  • pain while lifting, laughing, crying, coughing, or straining
  • feeling full or constipated

Sometimes, a hernia can cause complications. If you have a hernia and any of the following symptoms, get emergency care right away:

  • sudden, severe pain
  • inability to pass gas (fart) or have a bowel movement
  • vomiting
  • a change in the feeling or position of your hernia, for example, if it becomes harder, or you can no longer push it back in

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common long-term condition that affects your digestive system. It affects up to 12 percent of people in the United States.

IBS can cause:

  • abdominal pain
  • changes to your bowel movements, in the form of diarrhea, constipation, or both
  • bloating
  • the feeling that you haven’t fully completed a bowel movement
  • mucus in the stool

Doctors don’t know exactly what causes IBS, though it appears to be related to interactions between your gut and your brain.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

IBS shouldn’t be confused with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). IBD is a group of serious digestive disorders that cause changes in bowel tissue and increase your risk of colorectal cancer.

There are two types of IBD: ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Both conditions cause inflammation within your digestive tract, which can lead to abdominal pain.

IBD can also cause:

  • severe diarrhea
  • constipation
  • the feeling that you need to pass stool, even when you’ve just gone
  • the feeling that you haven’t finishing passing stool
  • weight loss
  • nausea and vomiting
  • fever
  • blood in your stool

IBD can lead to life threatening complications if left untreated. You should see a doctor immediately if you notice symptoms of IBD.


Indigestion, or dyspepsia, is a group of digestive symptoms. It typically happens after you eat or drink something, but it can happen at other times too. Pain usually occurs in the upper abdomen, though it may also be felt lower down. It may feel sharp, dull, or like burning.

Symptoms of indigestion also include:

Mild indigestion should go away fairly quickly and can usually be treated at home. If symptoms persist for more than 2 weeks, you should see a doctor to rule out underlying digestive issues.


Intestinal gas is air and other gases found in your entire digestive tract. It’s often caused by food that’s not broken down completely until it reaches your colon.

The more undigested food present, the more gas your body will produce. As gas builds up, it can cause abdominal pain, bloating, and a “knotted” feeling in your stomach.

Burping and passing gas (farting) usually provide relief. In fact, it’s typical for a person to expel gas up to 30 times a day.

However, excessive gas can sometimes be a symptom of a digestive disorder, such as IBS, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or lactose intolerance.

Intestinal gas can also happen from time to time when you swallow more air than usual, for example, due to overeating, chewing gum, or smoking.

Menstrual cramps

Menstrual cramps, or dysmenorrhea, are a symptom of menstruation. They can happen before or during your period. The cramps are most often felt on either or both sides of the lower abdomen, which is where your uterus is contracting to get rid of its lining.

Along with pain, other symptoms can include:

  • nausea or vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • headaches
  • dizziness


Although cramps are a common symptom of menstruation, they can also be caused by an underlying issue such as endometriosis. Endometriosis is a long-term (chronic) condition where cells that usually line the uterus, called endometrial cells, grow outside the uterus.

In addition to severe cramps and lower abdominal pain, endometriosis can cause:

  • pain during sex
  • pain during peeing or bowel movements
  • heavy periods

Endometriosis can cause significant symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to infertility. If you suspect endometriosis may be the reason for your abdominal pain, see a doctor. The sooner the condition can be treated, the less likely complications are.

Ovarian cyst

Ovarian cysts are sacs filled with fluid found on the ovary. Many cysts don’t cause pain or discomfort, and they may eventually disappear on their own. A large ovarian cyst, especially if it ruptures, can lead to serious symptoms.

These include:

  • dull or sharp lower abdomen pain
  • full or heavy feeling in your abdomen
  • pain during sex or exercise

You should see a doctor right away if you have sudden and severe abdominal pain, or if your pain is accompanied by any of the following symptoms:

  • fever
  • vomiting
  • cold and clammy skin
  • rapid breathing
  • weakness

A ruptured ovarian cyst can be a life threatening condition if it isn’t treated promptly.

Ectopic pregnancy

An ectopic pregnancy happens when a fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus.

In addition to abdominal pain, symptoms can include:

  • vaginal bleeding or brown discharge
  • pain where your shoulder ends and your arm begins
  • painful peeing or bowel movements

If the ectopic pregnancy ruptures your fallopian tube, you may also experience:

A ruptured fallopian tube is a medical emergency requiring immediate treatment.

Pelvic inflammatory disease

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is often caused by a bacterial infection, such as gonorrhea or chlamydia. Many of the infections that cause PID are transmitted during sex, but not all, such as bacterial vaginosis.

PID can cause pain in your lower abdomen, as well as:

  • unusual vaginal discharge that may have a bad odor
  • fever
  • nausea or vomiting
  • pain during sex
  • burning when you pee

Ovarian torsion

Ovarian torsion happens when your ovary, and sometimes fallopian tube, becomes twisted, cutting off the organ’s blood supply. The condition is also known as adnexal torsion, and can cause severe lower abdominal pain.

Other symptoms include:

  • nausea or vomiting
  • abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge
  • fever

These symptoms may come and go if the ovary twists and untwists. Ovarian torsion is a medical emergency, and surgery is often required to untwist the ovary.

Inguinal hernia

An inguinal hernia happens when fat or part of the small intestine pushes through a weak part of your lower abdomen. It’s the most common type of hernia. People assigned male at birth are most likely to experience this condition.

If you have an inguinal hernia, you may notice a bulge in your groin area between your thigh and lower abdomen, or in your scrotum.

Other symptoms include heaviness, aching, or burning in the groin. Your discomfort may be worse when straining, lifting, coughing, or standing. You may feel better when you rest.

Sometimes the hernia can become stuck or strangulated. This can be a life threatening condition. If you notice the following changes, get emergency medical care:

  • the hernia bulge suddenly gets larger
  • the hernia bulge stops going back into your abdomen (if it used to go back in)
  • fever
  • redness around the hernia
  • a sudden increase in pain
  • bloating, nausea, or vomiting

Testicular torsion

Testicular torsion happens when your testicle twists around the spermatic cord, which is a bundle of tissues that runs through your abdomen. This twisting can cut off blood flow to your testicle, leading to sudden and severe pain and swelling in your scrotum.

Other symptoms include:

  • unusual redness or darkening of your scrotum
  • nausea or vomiting
  • uneven testicle position
  • fever

Testicular torsion usually requires emergency surgery.

You should make an appointment to see a doctor if your lower right abdominal pain lasts more than a few days or causes you any concern. You can connect to a physician in your area using the Healthline FindCare tool.

In some cases, abdominal pain can have a serious underlying cause. If you have severe symptoms, get emergency care right away.

Mild cases of abdominal pain can usually be treated at home. For example, changing your eating habits can help prevent gas and indigestion, while certain pain relievers can help control menstrual cramps.