An unexplained pain or pressure near the gallbladder, liver or lower abdomen could mean a number of things. The situation could get even more troublesome if the pain worsens or extends to other areas. Here are some of the most common disorders that produce pressure in the right side of abdomen.
1. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
IBS is a disorder of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. It is a functional disorder, affecting the normal working mechanisms of the GI tract. IBS is not a single disease; it is a group of symptoms that occur simultaneously or sequentially. IBS has been found to have both physical and mental causes (stress, anxiety, etc). Common symptoms include chronic pain and cramping in the abdomen, a change in the frequency of stools, pressure in abdomen, and altered bowel patterns.
IBS can usually be treated with dietary and lifestyle modification. Probiotics are also prescribed to help deal with the distorted abdominal environment. Moreover, changes in sleeping habits and therapies for any persistent mental health issues can also help relieve the symptoms.
2. Hepatomegaly - Enlarged Liver
Hepatomegaly is the medical term referring to enlargement of the liver. Its size could grow to as much as twice its normal size. Liver inflammation usually indicates a more serious underlying problem. Causes include infections, toxins, heart problems, hepatitis, alcohol, autoimmune liver disease, cysts, and even cancer. In extreme cases it may also lead to liver failure (part of the liver deteriorates). Common symptoms are abdominal discomfort and a continuous feeling of fullness. Fatigue, nausea, weakness and weight loss may also be experienced.
The treatment for hepatomegaly depends on its cause. Changing or improving diet is essential to prevent further damage, especially avoiding alcohol. In the case of some other underlying factor, medication or surgery may be advised.
Gallstones are solid, pebble-shaped deposits that form and accumulate inside the gallbladder. They vary in size from very tiny to as big as a golf ball. Gallstones can form due to a number of reasons. The most common are stones made of cholesterol and bilirubin gallstones (pigment stones), which form as a result of breakdown of red blood cells. Gallstones usually occur without any symptoms. However, they may cause distress if they become large enough to block ducts. Pain or pressure in the right side or middle of the abdomen, as well as in the back is a common symptom. Cramping, fever, nausea, and vomiting may also be experienced.
Gallstones are surgically removed if symptomatic. Medication may also be given if the stones are very small and few in number. This helps to dissolve them or to expel them naturally. Other techniques such as injecting chemicals into the gallbladder or shock treatment are not used very often.
4. Chronic Constipation
Generally, constipation is defined as having a stool frequency of less than at least 3 per week. Chronic constipation occurs when this condition persists for several months. Symptoms include compacted stools that are difficult to pass, stomachache, cramping and bloody stools resulting from hemorrhoids or anal fissures.
In most cases, constipation can be cured by consuming high-fiber foods and plenty of fluids. Exercise and improving mental health help as well. If the condition persists, mild laxatives or stool-softeners may be prescribed by your doctor. However, these may have side-effects and should be taken temporarily.
Other causes that may result in pressure in the abdomen are:
- Gas pains
- Abnormal digestion
- Muscle spasms
- Celiac disease (hypersensitivity to gluten)
It is necessary that you get yourself checked by your physician. He may also advise some laboratory tests that will help rule out dangerous conditions. Commonly required tests include:
- Complete blood test
- Liver function test
- Stool test
- Urine routine examination
- Ultrasound abdomen
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