Sudden Change in Bowel Habits & Right-Side Abdominal Pain

Updated March 23, 2017

A sudden change in bowel habits along with abdominal pain on the right side may indicate specific health problems. It is important to monitor your symptoms closely and speak with your doctor regarding any pain or bowel changes you experience.


Appendicitis usually starts as a subtle pain around the belly button, and then moves quickly to the lower right abdomen. If the abdominal pain is associated with vomiting, reduced appetite or changes in bowel movements, it may indicate appendicitis, which is an inflammation of the appendix.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome is the most common condition associated with right abdominal pain and changes in bowel habits. Irritable bowel syndrome is typically triggered by specific foods and stress.


Constipation usually begins with a change in bowel habits, as it becomes increasingly more difficult to have a bowel movement. Eventually, this blockage results in abdominal pain and more complicated health risks.

Food Poisoning

Many food-borne illnesses act quickly, often resulting in a sudden and unexpected bowel movement. Food poisoning also results in severe abdominal pain on the left and right sides.

Bowel Cancer

Cancer of the bowel or colon is not very common, yet poses a serious health risk, especially among the elderly. Right abdominal pain connected with significant weight loss, changes in bowel habits and a loss of appetite could indicate bowel cancer. However, these typically are not sudden changes; they usually occur over several months.

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