The abdominal cavity located below the right rib cage is home to numerous organs such as the gallbladder, liver, appendix, right section of the large bowel, right kidney, and right fallopian tube and right ovary in women. Problems in any of these main organs can result in dull pain under right rib cage.
Causes of dull pain under right rib cage
Some of the common causes of dull pain under right rib cage are listed below:
- Liver damage: Liver problems include hepatitis, live infection, liver cancer, abscess in liver, liver enlargement, cirrhosis, fatty liver disease, and blots clot development leading to obstructions in liver blood vessels. All these can cause dull pain under right rib cage. Early diagnosis and treatment of such pain can prevent the occurrence of serious liver health complications.
- Pancreatitis: It is marked by inflammation or infection of the pancreas. Most patients suffer from sharp pain, but dull pain can also occur. Such pain may migrate to the sides and the back; it may occur along with other symptoms like yellowing skin, fever, nausea, vomiting, and rapid heartbeat.
- Ectopic pregnancy: It refers to embryo development in the fallopian tubes. Affected women may experience continuous dull pain under right rib cage which may spread towards the upper right quadrant. The intensity and form of pain differs from one woman to another. Occurrence of ovarian cysts can also result in similar symptoms.
- Costochondritis: Marked by rib cage muscle inflammation, it can occur due to viral and respiratory infections, and/or infectious mononucleosis. Inflammation of the cartilage occurring between the rib cage and breastbone can also cause dull pain under right rib cage, especially in the area where the rib cage joins the breastbone. Patients may also suffer from extreme fatigue, sore throat, and fever.
- Pulmonary conditions: Pneumonia, lung infections, pleurisy, and other lung disorders can cause chest pain which can spread to just under the right rib cage. Patients may elicit constant discomfort and pain due to associated breathing problems and/or increased coughing.
- Trauma: Minor injuries or fractures of the rib cage as well as of the organs like the heart, lungs, etc., that it protects can result in sharp or dull pain in the chest region as well as under right rib cage.
- Kidney stones: It usually causes sharp pain the upper abdominal cavity which then spreads as dull pain under right rib cage, to the sides, and towards the back.
- Gallstones: Movement of gallstones into the ducts is what causes dull pain under right rib cage. It may be accompanied by vomiting, fever, nausea, and fast heartbeat, etc. Gallbladder cancer, bile flow obstructions, gallbladder inflammation, and other gallbladder diseases can also cause such pain, which may sometimes move to the shoulders.
- Other causes: Dull pain under right rib cage can also occur due to cancers of different abdominal organs, appendicitis, and gastrointestinal conditions like acid reflux, IBS, food poisoning, parasitic infections, peptic ulcers, and endometriosis, etc. Excessive smoking, alcohol abuse, and intake of certain medications are other known causes.
It is important to consult a doctor for chronic cases of dull pain under right rib cage. He/she will diagnose the cause and offer relevant standard treatment options. For example, gallstones are treated with medications or surgery.