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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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What causes pain in the upper abdomen on the right side?

I have been having moderate gallbladder referred pain on my right mid-back for a number of years. Now I am also getting moderate pain on the upper right side of my abdomen and referred pain on my left mid-back. I am worried that my pancreas is involved. The pain is only moderate and I have no fever or nausea.
Thu, 21 Feb 2019
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General & Family Physician 's  Response

Normally if the gallbladder is starting to cause symptoms it is recommended to have a surgery especially if there are stones causing the symptoms. The reason is to prevent severe gallbladder infection from happening and then need for urgent surgery.

Another reason for surgery when the gallbladder stones start to cause pain is to prevent them from moving down in the bile tubes and causing blockage of the pancreatic ducts or other possible complications. In your case I would recommend you to have an ultrasound done, this would visualize the pancreas and also the gallbladder.

Sometimes blood tests might be needed to rule out pancreatic involvement and the doctor might ask for those as well. The ultrasound will also rule out problems with the aorta, the big artery going by there and that might cause abdominal and back pain (this is quite rare and generally more often in elderly).

If the ultrasound and the blood tests rule out pancreatic involvement then the stomach or the bowel can be considered as the cause of the symptoms and they are generally not well visualized by ultrasound. Your doctor might consider gastritis or constipation and treat you accordingly.

Hope I have answered your query. Let me know if I can assist you further.
Dr. Antoneta Zotaj,
General & Family Physician
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