A Lump on the Lower Right Abdomen
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Lumps on the lower right abdomen explained
If you're experiencing a lump on your lower right abdomen, you might prefer to ignore it. The abdomen is rarely anyone's favorite feature. If you're concerned, it's important to pay close attention to the problem and give as much information as you can to your physician. Abdominal lumps can vary in size and other qualities and occur for various reasons.
Common characteristics of lower right abdominal lumps
Other symptoms of a lump on the lower right abdomen may include:
What causes lumps on the lower right abdomen?
A lump in the abdomen can be caused by a superficial problem (such as on the skin) or one deeper within the body (such as an organ or tissue). The abdomen is made up of the intestines and other organs that may become noticeable through the skin with certain medical issues. You and your physician can discuss your symptoms, that may point to one of the causes below.
Causes that can be seen on the surface of the abdomen may include the following.
- Insect bite: If the bump is red, itchy or and swollen, it's possible that an insect or other animal is to blame. Even if you haven't been outside, think about other offenders like bed bugs or fleas.
- Cyst: A collection of fluid or other material can grow underneath the skin of the abdomen.
- Skin tag: Freckles and other bumps may pop up on the skin, especially with age.
- Wart: This is a bump caused by a virus passed between people by skin-to-skin contact.
- Lymph node: Your body may be responding to an infection, which has led to swollen lymph nodes.
- Fat: In certain circumstances, fat cells (adipose tissue) may form a hard lump.
- Abscess: This is an infection caused by bacteria that may enter through breaks in the skin or in the hair follicles. An abscess is usually red, swollen and painful.
- Hematoma: If you've injured yourself, a hematoma (or bruise) may form as a collection of blood underneath the skin.
- Scar: A previous injury, cut or surgery may leave a lumpy scar as the healing process concludes.
Causes of a lump in the lower right abdomen can be found within the body, such as the following .
- Hernia: This occurs when a part of your intestines escapes its usual location and pokes out underneath the skin, sometimes after heavy lifting or surgery in that area.
- Constipation: Stool may build up in the intestines if you haven't been able to go to the bathroom in a while.
- Previous surgery: Operations will commonly leave behind marks and bumps where the surgeon operated.
- Cancer: In rare cases, that lump or bump may indicate something serious like cancer. Cancer may begin on the skin or spread to the area underneath your skin.
Lipoma is a word that translates as "fatty tumor," but a lipoma is not cancer. It is simply a growth of fat between the muscle layer and the skin above it.
The exact cause is not known. The condition does run in families and is associated with other unusual syndromes such as adiposis dolorosa, which is similar. Lipomas most often appear after age 40.
Symptoms include a soft, easily moveable lump beneath the skin, about two inches across. A lipoma is painless unless its growth is irritating the nerves around it. They are most often found on the back, neck, and abdomen, and sometimes the arms and upper legs.
It is a good idea to have any new or unusual growth checked by a medical provider, just to make certain it is benign.
Diagnosis is made through physical examination, biopsy, and imaging such as ultrasound or CT scan.
Most of the time, treatment is not necessary unless the lipoma is unsightly or is interfering with other structures. It can be removed through surgery or liposuction.
Top Symptoms: skin-colored groin bump, marble sized groin lump, small groin lump
Symptoms that always occur with lipoma: skin-colored groin bump
Urgency: Wait and watch
Uterine fibroids are benign growths in the wall of the uterus and most often appear during childbearing years. Fibroids are almost never associated with cancer.
Those at higher risk include black women and women who started their periods at a young age. Other risk factors are vitamin D deficiency, poor diet, obesity, drinking alcohol, and family history of fibroids.
Fibroids can cause pelvic pressure and pain, severe menstrual cramping, and heavy menstrual bleeding that leads to anemia. Quality of life is diminished due to the chronic pain and discomfort. Though fibroids don't always make it impossible to become pregnant, infertility and pregnancy loss may occur as well as pre-term delivery.
Fibroids can be diagnosed through a routine pelvic exam or ultrasound in a doctor's office.
A gynecologist can prescribe various medications to ease the symptoms and regulate the menstrual cycle. There are also a number of surgical techniques, some minimally invasive, to shrink or remove the fibroids while leaving the uterus in place. Hysterectomy, or removal of the uterus, is an option in some cases.
Top Symptoms: vaginal bleeding, pelvis pain, abdominal cramps (stomach cramps), painful periods, irregular period
Urgency: Primary care doctor
A cyst is a small sac or lump, filled with fluid, air, fat, or other material, that begins to grow somewhere in the body for no apparent reason. A skin cyst is one that forms just beneath the skin.
It's believed that skin cysts form around trapped keratin cells – the cells that form the relatively tough outer layer of the skin.
These cysts are not contagious.
Anyone can get a skin cyst, but they are most common in those who are over age 18, have acne, or have injured the skin.
Symptoms include the appearance of a small, rounded lump under the skin. Cysts are normally painless unless infected, when they will be reddened and sore and contain pus.
Diagnosis is made through physical examination. A small cyst can be left alone, though if it is unsightly or large enough to interfere with movement it can be removed in a simple procedure done in a doctor's office. An infected cyst must be treated so that the infection does not spread.
Top Symptoms: skin-colored armpit bump, marble sized armpit lump, small armpit lump
Symptoms that always occur with skin cyst: skin-colored armpit bump
Urgency: Wait and watch
A skin abscess is a large pocket of pus that has formed just beneath the skin. It is caused by bacteria getting under the skin, usually through a small cut or scratch, and beginning to multiply. The body fights the invasion with white blood cells, which kill some of the infected tissue but form pus within the cavity that remains.
Symptoms include a large, red, swollen, painful lump of pus anywhere on the body beneath the skin. There may be fever, chills, and body aches from the infection.
If not treated, there is the risk of an abscess enlarging, spreading, and causing serious illness.
Diagnosis is made through physical examination.
A small abscess may heal on its own, through the body's immune system. But some will need to be drained or lanced in a medical provider's office so that the pus can be cleaned out. Antibiotics are usually prescribed.
Keeping the skin clean, and using only clean clothes and towels, will help to make sure that the abscess does not recur.
Top Symptoms: rash with bumps or blisters, red rash, red skin bump larger than 1/2 cm in diameter, pus-filled rash, rash
Symptoms that always occur with skin abscess: rash with bumps or blisters
Urgency: Primary care doctor
During her reproductive years, a woman's ovaries release a single egg cell each month. But sometimes the egg remains on the surface of the ovary, where the follicle that enclosed it continues to grow. It then becomes a fluid-filled ovarian cyst.
Ovarian cysts may be caused by hormonal imbalances; by endometriosis tissue, if it attaches to the ovary; and by severe pelvic infections that spread to the ovaries. Cysts may also form during pregnancy.
Small ovarian cysts often cause no symptoms. Larger cysts may cause pelvic pain, backache, unexplained weight gain, abnormal vaginal bleeding, and/or pain during sex. Ovarian cysts are almost never a form of cancer.
Sudden, severe abdominal pain could indicate a ruptured cyst. This is a medical emergency and the patient should go to an emergency room or call 9-1-1.
Diagnosis is made through ultrasound.
Hormonal birth control, such as the pill, injection, or patch, prevents ovulation and therefore prevents the formation of cysts. Surgery to remove the cyst may be necessary in some cases.
A dermatofibroma is a common skin growth that usually appears on the lower legs, but may appear anywhere on the body. These growths are benign (noncancerous). Dermatofibromas are most common in adults and are rarely found in children.
Symptoms include a hard, raised growth that is red, pink, ...
Mature cystic teratoma of the ovary
The ovary is an important part of the female reproductive system. An ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled sac in the ovarian tissue. It is not a cancerous growth but because it is in such a small organ it can cause pressure and pain.
Rarity: Ultra rare
Top Symptoms: abdominal pain (stomach ache), pelvis pain, painful periods, painful sex, spontaneous back pain
Urgency: Primary care doctor
A groin hernia, also called an inguinal hernia, means that a structure in the lower abdomen – a loop of intestine or a section of fat – has pushed through the muscles of the abdominal wall. This creates a bulge, or hernia, that can be seen and felt in the groin.
A hernia is caused by a weak spot in the abdominal wall muscles, which can separate under heavy lifting or repeated straining. The weakness may be inherited or may be from previous surgery, injury, or pregnancy.
Symptoms include a bulge low down in the abdomen, most visible when the person stands; and pain in the bulge with any strain on the abdominal muscles, such as lifting a heavy object or bending over.
A hernia will not heal on its own. There is the risk of serious complications if the blood supply to the herniated organ becomes reduced or cut off.
Diagnosis is made through physical examination and x-ray or CT scan.
A small hernia may need no treatment. A larger one can be repaired with surgery.
Top Symptoms: pain in the lower right abdomen, pain in the lower left abdomen, groin pain, testicle pain, groin lump
Urgency: Primary care doctor
Groin hernia requiring a doctor's examination
A groin hernia, or inguinal hernia, is the protrusion of an organ or other tissue – usually a loop of intestine – through a tear or weakness in the lower abdominal muscles. It can be easily felt beneath the skin, especially when the person is standing upright.
A groin hernia is most often found in men doing any kind of heavy lifting, though women can also be affected.
Symptoms include aching, burning groin pain with a sense of heaviness. The pain may be severe, especially on exertion. There may be an abdominal bulge that disappears when the patient lies on his/her back.
It is important to have a suspected inguinal hernia examined by a medical provider for possible treatment. A hernia can become strangulated, which means that its blood supply is cut off. A strangulated hernia is a medical emergency.
Diagnosis is made through patient history, physical examination, and sometimes ultrasound.
Treatment usually involves surgical repair of the hernia, although a small hernia may simply be monitored for any change.
Top Symptoms: nausea, nausea or vomiting, fever, groin pain, groin lump
Urgency: Emergency medical serviceconditions
Treatments for lumps in the lower right abdomen
There are many remedies for minor lumps and bumps in a local drug store. It's likely that your abdominal lump can be treated at home if it is due to a superficial cause. If you visit a physician, various tests and imaging studies may be ordered to determine the underlying cause of the lump.
At-home remedies that may soothe your abdominal lump include the following.
- Bandage: Cover up the lump for a few days and see if the extra cushion helps.
- Vaseline: This is a good first-line option to soothe the area and offer an extra layer of protection.
- Antihistamine: Benadryl, for example, can help if the lump is itchy or red.
- Anti-itch cream: Creams can be applied directly to the lump to soothe itchiness.
- Well-fitting clothes: Be sure your pants and underwear aren't rubbing against the skin in an uncomfortable way.
- Hot compress: Apply a heating pad or warm compress at a comfortable temperature to the area for a few minutes at a time.
- Ice: A few minutes of a cold compress or ice cube may help with an unsightly or uncomfortable lump.
When to see a doctor
You should consult your physician if the lump causes you discomfort, grows in size, or you experience pain that doesn't respond to at-home treatments.
- Physical examination: Your physician will take a good look at the area of concern, which can reveal a lot to a trained eye. You may receive a referral to a dermatologist (skin specialist).
- Imaging: Such as an ultrasound, CT scan or MRI.
- Biopsy: If warranted, a physician can take a piece of the bump and send it to the lab for further evaluation under a microscope.
- Drainage: A small incision may be made in the area to drain any fluid that has accumulated underneath.
- Surgery: For larger bumps and problems like hernias, the full repair must occur in the operating room under general anesthesia.
When it is an emergency
You should seek help or visit the emergency room without delay if you have:
Questions your doctor may ask about lump on the lower right abdomen
To diagnose this condition, your doctor would likely ask the following questions:
- What color is the bump?
- How would you describe the location of your abdominal lump/bump the best?
- Do you feel pain when you touch the bump?
- Do you have a rash?
Self-diagnose with our free Buoy Assistant if you answer yes on any of these questions.
Dr. Wilkinson received his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania and his BA from Princeton University where he was the Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Princetonian. He is currently a resident in psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco. Outside of the hospital, Jack worked as an editor at The JoongAng Daily of South Korea and a freelance writer.
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