10 causes of pain below the ribs and treatment options | Hover (2023)

The 7 most common causes

BADgastric ulcerIllustration of different health options. dyspepsiaCalledlung infectionGastritisgallstones

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What causes rib pain?

Pain below the chest can be caused by organs in or just below the chest cavity (which are protected by the ribs). These include the lungs, diaphragm, intestines, stomach and gallbladder.

The pain under the ribs can feel dull or sharp. The pain may go away quickly or last. Depending on the cause of the pain, you may only feel discomfort on one side of your body.

Conditions that cause pain under the ribs often cause other symptoms as well. These symptoms include fever, nausea, vomiting, gas, chest pain, cough, back pain, or pain that gets worse when inhaling.

Some conditions that cause pain below the ribs, such as B. a pulmonary embolism, can be life-threatening and require emergency treatment.

If you have chest pain, shortness of breath, or upper abdominal pain that radiates to your jaw, neck, or arm, call 911.


1. Constipation


  • Dor belly
  • nausea
  • swelling
  • Hard stools that are difficult to pass
  • Less frequent bowel movements (usually fewer than three a week)

Constipation occurs when bowel movements become harder, more difficult to pass, and/or occur less frequently than normal. It is common to experience constipation for short periods of time. However, for some people, constipation can be a chronic problem.

Constipation is usually caused by a low-fiber diet, lack of water, and lack of exercise.

The way to treat constipation depends on what caused it.

  • Eat more high-fiber foods (like fruits and vegetables)
  • You may need to take a fiber supplement.
  • drink more water
  • do more exercises
  • Establish a "bowel routine" by trying to have a bowel movement at the same time each day

2. Indigestion


  • Pain in the upper abdomen, also below the ribs
  • feeling of fullness during a meal
  • Unpleasant feeling of fullness after a meal
  • nausea
  • swelling
  • Asia

Digestive disorders (dyspepsia)it is usually caused by your eating habits. It can happen when you eat too much or too quickly, eat fatty or spicy foods, or drink too much caffeine, alcohol, or fizzy drinks.

Smoking and anxiety can also cause indigestion. Certain medications (antibiotics, pain relievers) and vitamin and mineral supplements can also trigger this condition.

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The way you treat your indigestion will depend on what caused it. If you follow these tips for two weeks and don't see improvement, see your doctor to rule out more serious conditions.

  • You may need to eat smaller, lighter meals and eat them more slowly.
  • Avoid spicy and greasy foods, caffeinated and aerated drinks, and alcohol, as these can irritate your stomach.
  • stop smoking.
  • Try to manage stress with techniques like meditation.
  • If you think a drug is causing indigestion, talk to your doctor about taking another drug that might ease your stomach.

expert advice

Some patients find the longer they have symptoms, the worse they must be. While you should talk to your doctor any time you experience symptoms that last more than 2 weeks, it doesn't necessarily mean your symptoms are more life-threatening. —Dra. Chandra manuelpillai

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3. BAD


  • Asia
  • Belching of acidic/acidic material
  • chest pain
  • difficulty swallowing
  • sore throat
  • Heiser

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs when stomach acid rises up into the esophagus and causes symptoms. It is a very common condition and is reported in up to28% of the population in North America.

Everyone experiences some degree of reflux, but it doesn't usually cause bothersome symptoms. Between the esophagus and the stomach is a muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) that prevents food or acids from flowing up. When the LES is weak, acid can more easily travel up the esophagus and cause symptoms.

Treatment may include lifestyle changes, over-the-counter medication for milder symptoms, or prescription medication for more severe symptoms. Lifestyle changes include changing your diet, e.g. such as fatty or spicy foods, and avoiding triggers that make reflux symptoms worse. Losing weight and quitting smoking are also important lifestyle changes.

Over-the-counter medications include antacids such as Tums or Milk of Magnesia or Pepto-Bismol. Prescription drugs include histamine-2 receptor antagonists (H2RAs) or proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). These medicines reduce the amount of acid produced in the stomach, which helps relieve symptoms. PPIs are prescribed for the most severe symptoms.

4. Ulcer


  • Pain in the upper abdomen, also below the ribs
  • swelling
  • Inability to tolerate fatty foods.
  • Asia
  • nausea

An ulcer is a sore that develops on the skinStomach (stomach ulcer)or small intestine (duodenal ulcer). Wounds form when the acids that help digest food wear down the lining of one of the organs.

Some ulcers develop due to chronic infection with H. pylori, a type of bacteria. It is not known how H. pylori infection is spread, but it can occur through close contact (such as kissing), water, or food.

Other ulcers are caused by regular use of certain medications. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (Advil, Aleve, Indomethacin) are the most common culprits.

Treatment depends on the cause of your ulcer. If it is due to H. pylori, antibiotics will be prescribed. If a medicine you are taking caused your ulcer, your doctor will likely lower your dose or switch you to a different medicine. They may also recommend medications that block or reduce the amount of acid your body produces.

5. Gastritis


  • Upper abdominal pain that may get better or worse with eating
  • nausea
  • to vomit
  • Fullness in upper abdomen after eating

Gastritis is inflammationthe gastric mucosa. It can happen suddenly (acute Gastritis) or gradually (chronic gastritis).

The causes of gastritis are the same as ulcers: H. pylori infection or regular use of certain medications. Too much alcohol can also cause gastritis.

Treatment is similar to ulcers. If your gastritis was caused by drinking alcohol, you may need to limit or stop drinking.

6. Pneumonia


  • shortness of breath, which may get worse when you are active
  • Stabbing chest pain that worsens when breathing in and coughing
  • shortness of breath
  • fatigue
  • Feverand chills
  • nausea
  • to vomit
  • Diarrhea

Pneumonia is an inflammation of the lungs.. It is caused by a bacterial or viral infection. Pneumonia can be mild or life-threatening. It's more serious in infants, young children, people over 65, and people with weak immune systems.

If you think you have pneumonia, see your doctor.

Treatment depends on the type of pneumonia you have. Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial pneumonia but not viral pneumonia. Your doctor may also recommend treating your symptoms with cough and fever medicines and pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

Bacterial infections usually get better within a few days of starting antibiotics. However, it can take weeks or months for bacterial and viral pneumonia to fully recover.

7. Gallbladder disease


  • pain in the upper right abdomen
  • Pain that worsens when breathing in, pressing on the right side of the upper abdomen, and after eating fatty foods
  • nausea and/or vomiting
  • fever and/or chills
  • Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes.
  • dark urine
  • clay colored chairs

Conditions affecting the gallbladder cause pain under the ribs on the right side because that is where the gallbladder is located. The gallbladder stores bile, which is necessary for digestion.

gallstonesare a common cause of gallbladder pain. These stones can be as small as a grain of sand or as big as a golf ball. You can develop just one gallstone or several at a time.

It's not clear why gallstones occur. It could be that your gallbladder is having trouble releasing bile. Or your bile may contain too much cholesterol or a chemical called bilirubin.

Sometimes gallstones don't cause any symptoms. Sometimes when gallstones prevent the gallbladder from releasing bile, they cause pain in the upper-right part of the abdomen, just below the ribs. Nausea or vomiting may also occur. It is often worse after eating.

If the gallstone gets stuck, you can develop itan infection called cholecystitis. This leads to inflammation of the gallbladder. If left untreated, cholecystitis can cause life-threatening problems, such as B. gallbladder rupture and serious infections.

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Treatment for gallstones depends on the severity of the symptoms and their frequency. If the pain is mild and intermittent, treatment can be as simple as taking pain relievers and avoiding fatty foods.

If you have symptoms often, or if your symptoms are severe, you may need surgery to remove your gallbladder. If your gallbladder becomes infected, you'll need to be hospitalized for antibiotics, IV fluids, and pain relievers. The gallbladder may also need to be removed.

expert advice

The ribs are a very important structure in our body. They protect many of our vital organs, including those in the chest wall, like the heart and lungs, and those in the upper abdomen, including the diaphragm, stomach, liver, gallbladder, and spleen. —Dr. Manuelpillai

8. Splenic or hepatic flexure syndrome


  • Sharp pains or cramps below the left or right side of the ribs
  • Pain that worsens when breathing in
  • swelling
  • Called
  • increased gases
  • burping

Splenic and hepatic flexion syndromes are caused by trapped gas or feces in the intestines. Flexions are areas of the intestine that make sharp turns.

Splenic flexure syndrome occurs when gas or feces become trapped in the splenic flexure. It is located in the upper left part of the abdomen (above the spleen). In hepatic flexure syndrome, gas or feces become trapped in the hepatic flexure (above the liver). It is located in the upper right part of the abdomen.

Liver and spleen flexion syndromes are not dangerous, but they can be extremely painful.

They can be treated with over-the-counter pain relievers and gas relievers. Constipation can be treated with laxatives if necessary. Stretches that affect the abdomen, such as Certain yoga poses, for example, can also help you release gas. The best way to avoid them is to avoid gas-producing foods like beans, broccoli, and dairy.

9th side point


  • Stabbing and/or cramping abdominal pain, usually on the left or right side

Stitches in the side usually occur when you play sports, e.g. B. when running.

The cause of the side stitches is unknown. Experts believe this could be related to not drinking enough water, drinking sugary beverages, or eating too much or too soon before a workout. You may also feel a spot in your side if your abdomen and/or diaphragm are irritated.

You can relieve side stitch pain by resting, stretching, and drinking water.

Pain test under the ribs

Get tested to find out what's causing your pain.

Pain test under the ribs

10. Pulmonary embolism


  • shortness of breath, which may get worse when you are active
  • chest pain
  • Cough that may produce blood
  • racing heartbeat

Apulmonary embolism(PE) is a blood clot in a blood vessel in the lungs. PE blocks blood flow to the lungs and reduces oxygen levels in the blood. The lungs can be damaged.

These clots don't usually form in the lungs. Instead, they develop in the lower leg, then break off and travel through the blood vessels to the lungs. Blood clots in the leg are called deep vein thrombosis (DVT). People with DVT may also have pain and swelling in their legs.

PE and DVT are life-threatening conditions. If you have symptoms, call 911 or go to the emergency room right away.

Treatment depends on the severity of the clot. A large, life-threatening clot may require surgery or drugs called thrombolytics to break up the clot. Your body can break up less dangerous blood clots using blood-thinning medicines called anticoagulants.

Other possible causes

There are other conditions that can also cause pain under the ribs, but these are not usually among the main symptoms:

  • Heart attack (pain is usually in the chest but can also be in the upper abdomen)
  • Kidney stones
  • Appendicitis

When to call the doctor

  • Symptoms do not improve after 1 week


The more detail you provide, the easier it will be to determine the cause of your symptoms. So be sure to include the location of your pain and whether it seems to be moving or radiating to another location, a description of the pain (sharp, dull, burning, aching, etc.), how long it lasts, when it occurs (after eating, exertion, etc.), whether anything makes it better or worse, and any associated symptoms. —Dr. Manuelpillai

Should I go to the emergency room for pain under my ribs?

You should go to the emergency room if you:

  • Sudden severe abdominal pain
  • uncontrollable vomiting
  • Unable to eat or drink
  • Vomiting with blood or a substance that looks like coffee grounds
  • cough up blood
  • Diarrhea with blood or black
  • dizziness or confusion
  • Blue lips or nails
  • palpitations
  • chest pain
  • Upper abdominal pain radiating to the jaw, neck or arm
  • Upper abdominal pain with dizziness, sweating, chest pain or shortness of breath
  • Fever with yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes


home care

  • If the pain is caused by a digestive problem, such as indigestion, over-the-counter antacids and other antacids may help.
  • If the pain is due to constipation, over-the-counter stool softeners may help.
  • Avoid certain foods that can cause gas and/or irritate the stomach, such as: B. greasy and spicy foods.
  • Limit the use of medicines that can cause ulcers (if this is not possible, ask your doctor if you can switch to another medicine).
  • If your pain is due to constipation, eat more fiber, drink more water, and get regular exercise.
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The stories shared below were not written by Buoy employees. Boya does not endorse any of the information in these stories. If you have any questions or concerns about a medical condition, you should always consult your doctor or healthcare provider.

Damage to the rib or costal cartilagePosted on October 11, 2021 by A.

I fell into the dryer around October 5th or 6th. My lower right rib cage or rib cartilage hit the dryer. As it hit, I heard a noise. I don't think it was a pop, but maybe it was more of a pop or something. If you stick your stomach in, the ribs stick out, right? Well, at one point mine goes in (around rib 8 or 9), also a little further in (I think where the costal cartilage connects to the rib is a bulge). days. I can't even lie comfortably on my back today (I had to get up at 3am because of the pain). Stomach (on the right side). From the pics I can only imagine what muscles these might be, but around the same area as the axial muscles, maybe external oblique, external intercostal, internal intercostal, or internal oblique. So far, just sitting in a chair relieves the pain (at least most of it). Going to bed was fine, but not today. I can still breathe very well, no fever, but it still hurts when I cough, laugh, sneeze etc. I've been taking ibuprofen to help with inflammation if any.

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Concerned about rib painPosted on June 30, 2021 by M.

I am a 52 year old female who was just diagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis but I have known something is wrong for over a year and a half. The specialist I see is trying to put my liver into remission with prednisone and another drug. My liver enzymes are returning to normal with the drug, but I have constant pain under my right rib cage. Sometimes it gets difficult to breathe. I thought it was my liver pain. I'm a flight attendant, so when you reach 37,000 feet, your body naturally expands, which causes more pain and shortness of breath. The pain is a dull ache. It feels like someone is pinching my right side. I'm supposed to have a CT scan in 2 1/2 weeks but I'm wondering if I should be more concerned and try to get one sooner.

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Dra. Chandra Manuelpillai.

dr Manuelpillai is a specialist in emergency medicine. He received his BA in Health Science Studies from Quinnipiac University (2002). She then graduated from Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science/The Chicago Medical School (2007), where she served on the Student Executive Council and as an AMA/ISMS-MSS G...Lee's full biography

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