It is common to feel abdominal pain in the right or left part of the abdomen, but what are its causes and what is it due to? Should we worry? We reveal everything you need to know.
Throughout our body it is possible to feel -or suffer- certain pains whose causes do not really have to be serious, although we may feel worried or alarmed especially if that pain occurs several days in a row, or if tends to be stronger. When we talk about flank pain, we are referring especially to pain that is located on one side of the body between the upper abdomen (ventral area) and the back.
Regardless of whether its location is on the right or left side, in both locations it can be a sign of a kidney problem (although in most cases when the problem is with the kidneys, it is usually accompanied by other symptoms, such as urination frequent, fever, chills, or blood in the urine).
However, many other organs are found in this area and obviously other causes are just as possible. Be that as it may, it is known medically by the name of flank pain and its causes can be very varied: from a slight muscle spasm to liver disease, including discopathy, spinal infection, arthritis or cholecystopathy.
But it is also possible to feel pain in the lower abdomen, either on the right side or on the left side. This is why it is always useful to differentiate between the causes of abdominal pain on the left side and the causes of abdominal pain on the right side.
Causes of abdominal pain on the left side
It consists of the inflammation of the pancreas, a gland of a certain size that is located behind the stomach. The pancreas becomes inflamed when digestive enzymes begin to digest the pancreas, which can be acute or chronic. Be that as it may, it is serious and can cause complications.
Fortunately, pancreatitis tends to be acute in most cases, and usually goes away within a few days when appropriate medical treatment is given. Among the most common causes we find the presence of stones in the gallbladder. As common symptoms we can mention: intense pain in the upper abdomen, vomiting and nausea.
Diverticulosis or diverticulitis
Diverticula are small pouches that bulge into the large intestine or colon. Precisely when these bags appear, a condition known as diverticulosis occurs. In most cases there are no symptoms, although sometimes it can cause mild cramps, constipation or abdominal swelling.
But when the bags become inflamed or infected, the condition is known as diverticulitis, causing abdominal pain on the left side, as well as fever, nausea, vomiting, colic and constipation.
Also known as kidney stones, they are a common problem that can cause pain in the right or left side, depending on which kidney is affected. As we have already mentioned on other occasions, a kidney stone consists of a solid mass made up of small crystals.
Although it is true that when they form they do not cause symptoms, when they begin to go down the tubes through which urine empties into the bladder they can block the flow of urine from the kidneys, causing intense pain that begins sudden and may suddenly disappear.
Causes of abdominal pain on the right side
It is probably one of the most common causes of pain in the abdomen on the right side. It consists of the swelling or inflammation of the appendix, which is a small bag that we find attached to the large intestine. It usually arises when the appendix is blocked by a foreign body or by stool.
The first of the symptoms that appears is to feel pain that is located around the navel. At first this pain is mild, and then it becomes more acute and severe. It can also cause nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and (low) fever.
As happens with abdominal pain located on the left side, since we also have a kidney on the left side, when kidney stones are located in the left kidney, they tend to cause discomfort in this part of our body.
In addition to the symptoms listed above, we must also remember that it is usually a pain that radiates to the side and back.
Gas and flatulence
Did you know that the different disorders that are most often associated with the intestines, and that cause pain, are usually felt mainly in the right area? In many cases it is due to the accumulation of gases and flatulence. Its causes are very varied: from having eaten foods that produce gas to having eaten very quickly and with stress, especially when we digest poorly.
The most common symptom is feeling like stitches in the abdomen, accompanied by a bloating sensation that feels more and worse when we bend over.
The liver is a large organ that we find located on the right side of our abdomen, a little above the abdomen. However, when the pain is due to a liver problem, this discomfort usually tends to radiate towards the lower abdomen.
In general, the most common cause of pain or discomfort in the liver is related to the pathology known as fatty liver (the accumulation of fat in this organ), and inflammation of the liver.
Peptic or abdominal ulcers
Peptic ulcers are sores that occur in the lining of the stomach or duodenum (the first part of the small intestine). Its most common symptom is burning in the stomach, and feeling discomfort that is located especially on the right side.
Among its most common causes we can mention prolonged consumption of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen or aspirin) and Helicobacter pylori infection.