Unravel the mystery of Right Upper Quadrant (RUQ) Abdominal Pain

abdominal quadrants

The abdominal region of your body encases organs which are vital for the proper functioning of our body. These organs often work in a mutually symbiotic relationship inside your body. To understand the anatomy and function of these organs they are divided into 4 equal abdominal quadrants. This division helps clinicians to localize, identify, and diagnose if the patient is suffering from abdominal pain.

The four-division are chartered out by a vertical line called (media plane) linea alba that splits the abdomen in vertical half and the transumbilical plane divides it into horizontal half. These two planes intersect each other at an umbilicus separating the four quadrants and giving them a distinct appearance.

4 Abdominal Quadrants

abdominal quadrants

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The four quadrants are easy to remember because they are mostly named as  

Left Upper Quadrant (LUQ)

Left lower Quadrant(LLQ)

Right Upper Quadrant (RUQ)

Right Lower Quadrant (RLQ)

Here are some major organs you will find in each of the  quadrants

Left Upper Quadrant (LUQ)

abdominal quadrants

Source: slideserve.com

  • Stomach
  • Spleen
  • Left lobe of the liver
  • The main part of the pancreas
  • Proximal ileum
  • Jejunum
  • The superior part of the colon
  • Left kidney

Left lower Quadrant(LLQ)

abdominal quadrants

 

Source: grepmed.com

  • Left ovary
  • A part of the large bowel system
  • Left ureter
  • Uterus
  • uterine tube
  • ductus deferens
  • urinary bladder
  • part of colon

Right Upper Quadrant (RUQ)

abdominal quadrants

Source: grepmed.com

  • The right lobe of the liver
  • Gallbladder
  • Pylorus of stomach
  • Part of duodenum
  • Right Kidney
  • Part of colon

Right Lower Quadrant (RLQ)

abdominal quadrants

Source: grepmed.com

  • Appendix
  • Right ureter
  • Ascending part of the colon

These organs appear as a meshwork and often proves difficult to pinpoint the pain associated in the abdomen. 

Various diseases associated with Right Upper Quadrant (RUQ)

abdominal quadrants

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Here are few diseases to check out if you have experienced right upper quadrant pain and symptoms associated with it.

Hepatitis

Hepatitis is a disease caused by the virus. The most common viruses are
HEP A: It is a mild Hepatitis caused by contaminated water and food.
HEP B: It is a severe form of Hepatitis which may lead to cirrhosis or liver failure
HEP C. It is a chronic viral disease caused by infected blood. This may also lead to inflammation and damage to the liver
Hepatitis causes inflammation of the liver which in turns hampers its functionality
The symptoms associated are fatigue, dark urine, jaundice, and flu.

Cholecystitis

An infection ensued by gallstones in a gall bladder is called Cholecystitis. The gallstones are a mixture of bile and digestive juices. This mixture gets deposited in the gallbladder or inside a cystic duct (neck of a gallbladder) resulting in excruciating pain between shoulder and back. There are no noticeable symptoms however mild symptoms such as nausea and vomiting could be noticed. The incidences of Cholecystitis is higher in females as compared to males.

GERD- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disorder

IT is a chronic digestive disease that causes esophageal burning and heartburn. The stomach propels the acid towards the chest through the Oesophagus and out of the mouth.

Causes of GERD– It is caused when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), a ring of muscle doesn’t tighten or close properly to stop the acid regurgitation toward the chest. When it is working properly the LES relaxes as you swallow the food then it tightens and closes itself.

Pregnant women are more likely to suffer from GERD.

Kidney issues

Any kidney problems such as renal infection, kidney stones or UTI can radiate its pain into the RUQ of the abdomen. The symptoms typically include micturition, foul odor of your urine, vomiting, and fever.

Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. It is situated in the upper area behind the stomach.

The main role of the pancreas is to secrete insulin and regulate blood sugar levels. Pancreatitis is often accompanied by the onset of fever, abdominal pain after consuming food, rapid pulse rate, etc.

Liver Abscess

An abscess or pus is formed inside a liver. The pus is festered with bacteria which may result in septicemia. The primary manifestation of symptoms is dark-colored urine, grey stool,  Pain in the right abdomen, weight loss, jaundice, night sweat, and chills.

Shingles

Shingles appear as rashes and blisters on the upper part of the abdomen. They are caused by a viral infection. They appear in a ring formation around the upper abdomen. The symptoms are tingling, burning, fever itching, and headache.

Gastritis

An inflammation of the mucosal lining of the stomach often associated with a complaint of periodic abdominal pain over a fairly large area, which is triggered after consuming food. Alcohol abuse, frequent consumption of pain relievers, and variable bacterial infection accounts for the majority of cases worldwide. The symptoms are associated with nausea, vomiting and bloating

Peptic ulcers

Peptic ulcers, a harbinger of abdominal pain is often accompanied by perforation or penetration. It affects the inner lining environs of the stomach and may result in a burning sensation in the upper part of the abdomen.

Pregnancy

Abdominal pain often reflects a higher incidence in females as compared to males. The cardinal reason for abdominal pain in women is pregnancy.  In pregnant women, as the baby grows, the abdominal cavity stretches itself to accommodate the grown-up fetus thus inviting pain in lower right abdomen in female

Cancer

Cancer, a silent killer starts showing symptoms way ahead of its malignancy. But it can only be detected in later stages. However, if you have a metastatic or tumor there could be persistent pain in your abdomen. The symptoms in later stages could aggravate if overlooked.

How to diagnose right quadrant (upper and lower)abdominal pain

abdominal quadrants

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A doctor may ask you to perform an array of the test to ascertain the causes of pain.

  • CBC, electrolytes, and Liver function tests can determine the causes of underlying diseases.
  • Urinalysis may be used to assess your kidney function or renal stones
  • A stool culture could be asked to look for pathogenic infections.
  • Although comprehensive tests like endoscopy, ultrasound, X-Ray, and CT scan could pinpoint the tricky complications involved with pain.

Also Read: Some Of The Main Causes Of Stomach Pain

Treatment for pain in the right quadrant (upper and lower)abdominal pain

abdominal quadrants

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A cause is identified now a treatment seems to be a cakewalk for you and your doctor.

  • Antibiotics and antiviral therapy prove to be a choice of treatment for bacterial and viral infections respectively. 
  • Kidney infections, Shingles and Cholecystitis can be treated with an accurate dosage of antibiotics and antiviral
  • An antacid or proton pump inhibitor is the holy grail for stomach ulcers, GERD or Gastritis.
  • Kidney stones or gall bladder stones can be removed surgically
  • Cancer could be treated by radiotherapy or chemotherapy
  • A tumor could be removed by surgical procedures

Outlook

The causes of the abdominal pain and its treatment can absolve in its entirety if treated on time. However, if left untreated it may herald major complications. The mild ailments like gut problems could be easily treated with painkillers or antibiotics. The major complication of liver or kidney or cancer associated with any organ needs to be addressed with proper treatment and under the guidance of your clinical practitioner.

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