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What does chronic pain on the right side of the body indicate?

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Quick Answer

Chronic pain on the right side of the body may indicate appendicitis or gallstones, according to Mayo Clinic. The pain of appendicitis begins on the lower right side and is often severe. It can also begin around the patient's navel and move to the lower right abdomen.

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Full Answer

The pain of appendicitis worsens if the person moves suddenly or coughs, says Mayo Clinic. Other symptoms are alternating constipation and diarrhea, bloating in the abdomen, loss of appetite, a low-grade fever, nausea, and vomiting. Appendicitis can be recurrent or chronic.

If gallstones are symptomatic, they cause pain in the upper right part of the abdomen that can last for hours, says Mayo Clinic. During a gallstone attack, the pain becomes quickly severe and radiates to the patient's right shoulder or the place between her shoulder blades. The patient might even feel pain under her left arm, according to MedlinePlus. Gallstone attacks often happen after the patient eats.

Gallstone complications include jaundice and a high fever accompanied by chills. The most popular treatment for gallstones is to remove the gallbladder, though some people who can't tolerate surgery are given medications. However, they may need to take these drugs for years, and the gallstones might return.

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