• Español
  • Join Now

Find doctors and make appointments online!

With ZocDoc, you can find local doctors in your insurance network and book appointments instantly.

    • Albany

Why do I have a dull pain on my right side just under my rib cage after I drink alcohol?

I am a 22 year old woman and I am not necessarily what you would consider a big drinker. I have two or three cocktails with friends two days out of the week. However, sometimes I notice that after I do this, I start to get a dull ache in my abdomen on the right side. The pain sometimes seems to move from the front to the back, as well. Any idea what this could mean?
It is important to get this pain checked out. Alcohol when taken in moderation can have health benefits and is not harmful to the body. However, three drinks may be more than recommended for your body size and gender. Excessive intake of alcohol can cause inflammation of the liver (hepatitis), which can present with a dull pain in the right upper portion of the abdomen. Other symptoms to look out for would be yellowing of the skin or eyes, darkening of the urine, or a light color to the bowel movements. Similarly, alcohol intake can worsen gall bladder sludge or stones, which can also give pain in this area. Other symptoms might be nausea and diarrhea or greasy bowel movements with meals. Alcohol intake can also be associate with pancreatitis, which can present with severe or more chronic abdominal pain located in the middle of the abdomen, sometimes going to the back. Finally, alcohol can cause gastritis, an inflammation of the stomach lining, which can cause pain and heartburn symptoms. I recommended getting checked out as soon as possible by your primary care doctor to determine what might be going on and whether further workup of your pain might be needed.
This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under ZocDoc’s Terms of Service.
Who answers these questions?
Answers are written by doctors from top institutions:
  • Cleveland Clinic
  • Boston Children's Hospital
  • NYU Langone Medical Center
  • Brigham and Women's Hospital
  • Johns Hopkins Hospital
  • Mass General Hospital
  • Beth Israel Medical Center
Share This Answer
Have further Questions? See a doctor!
With ZocDoc, you can find local doctors in your insurance network and book appointments instantly.