What Causes Sharp Lower Right Abdominal Pain On Your Side?

The causes of sharp lower right abdominal pain in women and men are very serious and a common reason for emergency room visits.

The right lower quadrant  (RLQ) area is situated below an unreal horizontal line that is drawn under your lower right ribs. It is also to the right of an imaginary straight up line that runs along the belly button.

The abdominal pain felt in this right side quadrant is normally acute and can sometimes be spontaneous or chronic. The pain can either be classified as sharp, dull, diffuse or localized. The associated symptoms can vary from nausea, soreness, gas pains (which you can easily get rid of), as well as appetite loss.

There are many body parts in the lower right region of your abdomen from which the pain can originate especially if you went through a recent mesh implant surgery. The internal organs in this area include; the colon, appendix and the fallopian tube. Any malfunction in these organs can lead to sharp pain in the lower right side of the abdomen.

Causes of Sharp Pain In Lower Right Abdomen


female with lower-right-abdominal-pain

Young girl holding her right side abdominal pain.

This is the most common cause of pain in that region of the body. It occurs in about ten percent of the human population and most commonly in people between the ages of 10 and 30. However, it can occur in a person of any age. Appendicitis can be caused by infections or blockages that lead to swelling and inflammation.

The symptoms usually start with an aching pain near and around the belly button or in the center of the upper abdomen which then moves to the lower right region. After several hours, the pain gets sharper and when the region is exposed to pressure, it feels tender and painful.

The application and release of pressure to this abdominal region causes a sharp pain. The associated symptoms are nausea, a low grade fever, diarrhea and constipation, among others. If you have any of these symptoms, you should visit a doctor as soon as possible.

Ovulation pain

Pain that is associated with the ovulation process can occur on either the right or left side of the lower abdomen. This pain does not need any medical attention because it goes away on its own and it is not serious. In some cases, these symptoms are mistaken for appendicitis due to the locality of the pain.

The process of ovulation usually occurs two weeks before the menstrual period is expected. It occurs when an egg is discharged from the ovary. The pain is usually dull and cramp like in some cases. In others, it is sudden and sharp. However, it is not severe in most cases and can be accompanied by vaginal bleeding.

Woman in sitting fetus position to relieve her pain.

The pain can be alleviated by pain killers and rest. However, when fever and nausea accompany the pain, other causes should be looked into.

Infection of the right kidney

An infection of the urinary tract can spread to the kidney resulting in pain and inflammation. An infection in the kidney is characterized by flank pain, pain in the groin region, back pain as well as lower abdominal region pain.

One feels the constant urge to urinate and the urination can be painful. Fever is an accompanying symptom and the urine can be tinged with blood or pus. If left untreated, this infection can lead to a widespread infection and also damage your kidneys.

Therefore, you need to visit a doctor as soon as you experience any of these symptoms. An antibiotic treatment is the most common route of treatment.

Kidney stones


Young man holding his abdominal.

The right kidney is located in the lower right abdominal area. Kidney stones occur when little, crystal deposits form inside your kidneys. This usually happens when the urine becomes highly concentrated.

The stones can pass through all parts of the urinary tract including the bladder. They are painful but they do not usually cause permanent harm. The symptoms of kidney stones include; severe pain below the ribs, on the side and the back.

This pain usually spreads to the lower right abdomen side and to the groin in some cases. The pain is usually intermittent and it varies in severity.

The symptoms associated with kidney stones include; colored urine that can be unclear and smelly, painful urination, chills, vomiting and constant urination. In some cases, the pain can be alleviated by drinking plenty of water and taking pain killers. However, if you experience severe pain, you should visit a doctor. The stones might need to be removed.

Right ovarian cysts

Sometimes, the ovary produces sacs that are filled with fluid on its surface. These sacs can grow large and cause you to have discomfort. Although the sacs are harmless in most cases because they go away on their own, they can get twisted as they enlarge thus causing abdominal pain.

The pain resulting from ovarian cysts can be aching, dull and intermittent. It also radiates to the thigh and the lower back region. Pelvic pains are usually experienced towards that beginning or end of the menstrual period. Cysts can also cause irregular menses.

Although they mostly resolve on their own, you need to visit a doctor if you feel any sudden sharp pain that is accompanied by fever and/or vomiting.


Young man knowing what he did to cause his pain.

Lower right abdominal discomfort can also be caused by constipation. Constipation occurs when a person is unable to pass regular stools easily. A constipated individual usually passes tough stools less than thrice per week.

Straining, bloating as well as rectal pressure are common accompanying symptoms. The pain on right side disappears when you have a bowel movement and is not usually accompanied by other symptoms.

Constipation can be relieved by modifying the diet. You can also take a stool softener or a laxative to help you have regular bowel movements.

Ectopic pregnancy

An ectopic pregnancy happens when a fertilized egg gets implanted outside the uterus. This fertilized egg can get lodged in the right ovary or the fallopian tube thus causing a lot of lower right abdominal pain in women.

If an ectopic pregnancy occurs in the right side, abdominal pain will ensue, as it can easily be mistaken for appendicitis. Most women can recognize an ectopic pregnancy after missing a period and then checking with a doctor.

Vaginal bleeding as well as early symptoms of pregnancy may also accompany this pain. If you suspect that you have an ectopic pregnancy, seek medical aid because your fallopian tube may rupture causing heavy bleeding.

Therefore, if you have any abdominal pain on right side then you should not ignore it no matter how mild it is. Visiting a doctor in time could be the key to saving your life. Also, do not try to diagnose your ailment by looking up the symptoms.

Only a doctor can diagnose your pain correctly and perhaps end up saving your life. Make sure that you visit a reputable doctor when you experience a right sided abdominal pain.

RLQ Contents:

Right Lower Quadrant (RLQ)Appendix, cecum, ascending colon, bladder, right ovary, uterus if enlarged, right spermatic cord, and right ureter.

Need more info regarding your sharp pain in lower right abdomen? Watch this video: