Flank pain occurs in many body regions: digestive, kidney or other. Its intensity can also be variable. A medical consultation is often necessary to make a definite diagnosis and adapt the treatment.
Definition: what is the flank pain?
The abdomen is classically separated into 9 parts: the right and left hypochondria, the epigastrium, the right and left flanks, the periumbilical region, the right and left pelvic fossae and the pelvis. Right flank pain is pain in the middle of the stomach, to the right of the navel.
Symptoms of flank pain may include any of the following
- urinary disorders
- difficult transit
- hard abdomen
The characteristics of pain in the right flank depend on its cause. The signs accompanying this pain such as intestinal transit disorders, urinary disorders or fever will make it possible to suggest certain diagnoses. Palpation of the abdomen is an essential step because in the presence of a defense or a contracture (that is to say a very hard abdomen), it can be a surgical emergency.
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The causes of pain in the right flank are numerous and are generally linked to the dysfunction of one of the organs located opposite this area: the colon, the gall bladder or the kidneys. One of the most common is due to gallstones: an obstacle in the bile duct that slows down or blocks the excretion of bile.
It could also be a kidney problem: a kidney stone ( renal colic) or an infection ( pyelonephritis ). It is also possible that pain at this level is due to a herniated intestine, constipation or intestinal obstruction.
In women, the presence of ovarian cysts or an ectopic pregnancy can cause pain in the right flank. Finally, pain in the lower right abdomen can lead to suspect appendicitis, and go up to the right flank, because the appendix is not always positioned in the right iliac fossa.
Other disorders causing flank pain include sudden obstruction of blood flow to a kidney or intestine, ruptured or sometimes unruptured abdominal aortic aneurysms, problems with the spine or spinal nerves, musculoskeletal injuries and tumors involving the retroperitoneum, located behind the abdomen.
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The diagnosis of right flank pain is first made by examining clicks and describing the type of pain. Depending on this and other associated signs, an abdominal ultrasound and / or an unprepared abdominal x – ray will be prescribed, as well as a laboratory workup for infection or inflammatory syndrome and possibly an examination of cytoplasm-bacteriological urine. Sometimes the pregnancy test can also be relevant. Finally, an abdominal scan is sometimes necessary.
The treatment of right flank pain begins with treating its cause. This can sometimes be surgical. Pain may be relieved with antispasmodics or, in renal colic, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Laxatives can provide relief when the pain is due to constipation. Rest always helps relieve abdominal pain.
We must never forget to mention an attack of appendicitis in the face of pain in the right flank, the appendix may be in the retro-coecal position, that is to say higher in the abdomen.