Weight Loss With Pain in the Right Side

scale with the meter to measure the weight and height
Scale at a doctor's office (Image: ChiccoDodiFC/iStock/Getty Images)

Unintentional weight loss, especially if accompanied by abdominal or side discomfort, could be a warning sign of a potentially serious health problem. Some of the organs on your right side include your liver, pancreas, gallbladder and right kidney. A problem with any of these could cause pain on the right side, and some conditions can also cause loss of appetite and weight loss. Report any troubling or persistent symptoms to your doctor.

Gallstones

A gallstone occurs when digestive fluids in the liver harden into a stone-like object. If these stones get caught in the tube connecting your gallbladder to your intestine, you may have a gallbladder attack, which causes discomfort or severe pain in the upper right abdomen, sometimes spreading across your back. It can also cause nausea, vomiting and, if allowed to progress, weight loss. Since having a painful gallbladder attack may predispose you to having more, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove your gallbladder.

Liver Problems

Any illness or condition that affects your liver can cause discomfort or pain in your upper right abdomen. Any abdominal cancer or cancer in the lungs or breasts can travel to the liver. Cirrhosis, or a chronic injury to the liver, can also cause these symptoms. If you have a problem with your liver, you may also experience jaundice, fever, night sweats, nausea and fatigue. Certain medications and alcohol may cause liver damage. If you have any symptoms of liver problems, see your doctor right away.

Kidney Problems

Your kidneys are located below your waist toward your back. Several conditions affecting the right kidney, including kidney stones, kidney disease and kidney infection can cause pain on your right side. These conditions can also cause you to have a loss of appetite, which can lead to unintentional weight loss. Other symptoms of kidney problems include blood in your urine, frequent urination, painful urination, persistent itching, fatigue and swelling of your feet and ankles.

Other Causes

Other causes of unintentional weight loss or abdominal or back pain on the right side include pancreatitis, bacterial or viral intestinal infections or an ectopic pregnancy. Any condition that causes vomiting and diarrhea or loss of appetite can also cause weight loss, and may cause abdominal discomfort as well. Persistent vomiting or diarrhea may be cause for concern, especially when accompanied by fever or severe pain. See your doctor promptly if you experience these symptoms.

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