According to the Merck Manuals Online Medical Library, pain that manifests in the abdomen, including the right upper abdominal quadrant, can be caused by the viscera or abdominal organs, structures outside the abdomen or the parietal peritoneum -- the membrane that lines the abdominal wall. When it arises suddenly, right upper abdominal pain may indicate a serious underlying health concern.
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Acute cholecystitis can cause pain in the right upper abdomen, below the bottom rib. According to MedlinePlus, acute cholecystitis is a sudden inflammation of the gallbladder that is characterized by extreme abdominal pain. Most cases of acute cholecystitis -- approximately 90 percent -- are caused by gallstones that trap bile, an important digestive aid, inside the gallbladder. Other possible causes of acute cholecystitis include gallbladder tumors and serious illness. Common signs and symptoms associated with acute cholecystitis include sharp, cramping or dull pain in the right upper abdominal quadrant, the sensation of abdominal fullness, clay-colored stools, fever, nausea, vomiting and jaundice -- yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes. MedlinePlus states that gallstones are more common in women than men.
Typhoid fever can cause pain on the right side of the abdomen, under the bottom rib. MayoClinic.com states that typhoid fever is caused by Salmonella typhi bacteria. Although typhoid fever is uncommon in industrialized nations, it is still a significant health threat in developing countries. Typhoid fever can spread in one of two possible ways: via contaminated food and water or through close contact with an infected individual. Typhoid fever-related symptoms tend to develop gradually. Common signs and symptoms associated with typhoid fever include abdominal pain, a fever of 103 or 104 degrees F, headache, weakness and fatigue, sore throat, diarrhea or constipation and a rash. According to MayoClinic.com, a person with typhoid fever who is treated with antibiotics will usually feel better within several days, although a small number of people may still die of complications.
According to MayoClinic.com, diabetic ketoacidosis is a serious complication associated with diabetes. Diabetic ketoacidosis involves the production of high levels of ketones, which are blood acids. Diabetic ketoacidosis, which occurs more often in type 1 diabetics, arises when a person has an insufficient amount of insulin in his body. Insulin plays an important role in regulating blood sugar. Without sufficient insulin, the body begins breaking down fat to help fuel the body. Fat breakdown generates toxic acids or ketones, which can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis if left unchecked. Common signs and symptoms associated with diabetic ketoacidosis include abdominal pain, excessive thirst, frequent urination, nausea, vomiting, anorexia or loss of appetite, weakness or fatigue, shortness of breath and fruity-smelling breath.