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Upper-Right Side Abdominal Pain After Eating Steak

author image Diane Marks
Diane Marks started her writing career in 2010 and has been in health care administration for more than 30 years. She holds a registered nurse license from Citizens General Hospital School of Nursing, a Bachelor of Arts in health care education from California University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Science in health administration from the University of Pittsburgh.
Upper-Right Side Abdominal Pain After Eating Steak
Upper-right side pain may be related to various conditions. Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Pain that develops in the upper-right side of your abdomen may be a concerning symptom that will need to be evaluated by your doctor. Your abdomen is divided into four quadrants, each providing your physician with a general idea of what’s causing your symptoms. One cause of upper-right side abdominal pain after eating steak could be a gallbladder attack. Most gallbladder attacks occur after eating foods that contain a lot of fat, such as a steak. The pain may be related to other conditions, though, that are not as serious.


Gallstones are common in the U.S., according to MayoClinic.com. Gallstones are pebble-like hard deposits that develop in your gallbladder over time. Gallstones develop in various shapes and sizes -- as small as sand or as large as a golf ball. You can develop one or more gallstones at a time. Doctors think gallstones develop when your bile contains too much cholesterol or bilirubin or when your gallbladder doesn't empty properly. If your gallbladder isn't emptying completely, bile becomes concentrated, which can contribute to gallstone formation.

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Gallbladder Attack Symptoms

Many people with gallstones do not experience any symptoms, but if a large gallstone blocks either the common bile duct or the cystic duct, you may feel cramping pain in the upper-right abdomen. Other symptoms include pain from eating, fever, jaundice, the feeling of being full, clay-colored stools, nausea and vomiting. Individuals who have symptoms either need surgery immediately or after a short period of time, according to PubMed Health. Gallstones that don't cause any symptoms normally do not require treatment.


Pancreatitis is a commonly confused condition with gallbladder disease because it can cause similar symptoms. Your pancreas is a gland behind your stomach that secretes enzymes to help digest proteins, sugars and other components of food. If the pancreas becomes infected and inflamed, you may develop severe abdominal pain in your right side after eating, according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. The pain from pancreatitis will not come and go but will remain consistent and get worse. This condition is serious and needs emergency medical attention.

Other Possibilities

After eating a steak, you may develop indigestion or heartburn from eating too much or from the seasoning used on the meat. Indigestion occurs when stomach fluids enter your esophagus, causing a full feeling and discomfort in your chest. Indigestion can cause heartburn, which is a burning pain felt in your upper chest and in your abdomen. It’s caused by irritation to the soft tissues in your esophagus.

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