Do you experience sharp pain under your right rib cage and are unsure whether to take it seriously? The part of your body below your right rib cage is the upper right quadrant (RUQ). Pain in this area can affect nearby organs, including the right kidney, gallbladder, and liver. Although not every kind of pain is anything to worry about, it’s essential to know what is causing it and when to see a doctor.

Pain under the right rib cage: Should I get medical help?

Ask yourself the following questions if you have pain under the right rib cage:

  • Is the pain severe or persistent?
  • Do you also have a fever?
  • Are you short of breath?
  • Is there blood in your stool?
  • Did you cough up blood?
  • Is your urine darker and stool lighter than usual?
  • Do you have jaundice?
  • Have you lost weight?

Immediately visit a doctor if you answer “yes” to any of these questions because these symptoms could be a sign of a serious medical condition. But if your answer is “no” to these questions, read along to know the possible causes of the pain below your right rib cage.

Sudden Sharp Pain Under Right Rib Cage: Causes

As mentioned earlier, there are several important organs just below the right side of your rib cage, including the gallbladder, liver, right kidney, pancreas, and intestines. Sudden pain in the RUQ is not always a point of concern. Some people experience this pain because of gas accumulation in the large intestine (known as a hepatic flexure) near the rib cage. This could be a reason, especially if you often suffer from gastrointestinal discomfort.

Another reason for this pain could be strained or injured intercostal muscles. These muscles facilitate the movement of your rib cage. For instance, if you’ve turned or twisted your body and pulled up the muscle, you can experience pain under your rib cage. In this case, you should rest to alleviate symptoms.

Pain below the right cage: When is it an emergency?

Sometimes, sharp pain in the right upper quadrant can signify a serious medical condition. In most cases, people have developed gallstones when they experience excruciating pain after eating a large meal. This condition occurs when there’s excessive cholesterol in the bile.

Liver problems can also cause pain near the right rib cage. They can be due to an abscess formation, hepatitis, or cancerous growth. Their symptoms typically include nausea, fever, tenderness near the affected area, dark urine, and fatigue.

You can also experience this pain due to kidney problems, including cancer, infection, and kidney stones formation. Symptoms include fever, nausea, fatigue, blood in urine, and pain while urinating.

If you notice any of the mentioned symptoms, visit a qualified health professional as soon as possible.


If you face sharp, sudden pain in the right upper quadrant or under the right rib cage, please visit Epic Heart & Vascular Center. We will diagnose your issues and address whether you require urgent treatment. Call us today at 832-432-1951 Houston and 832-952-1951 Willowbrook for an appointment.