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Causes of Fluttering in Upper Right Abdomen: Know Your Facts

When you eat something spicy or heavy, you will experience a burning sensation in your upper right abdomen. If you feel these burning sensations or other movements in your abdomen and find them unbearable, this is the time to seek help from the doctor.

So, what is meant by fluttering in upper right abdomen?

It could mean an illness in which the right upper abdominal area experiences repeated involuntary contractions. Fluttering in the upper right abdomen can be due to gastric reflux, acidity, a structure at the duodenum, or a hernia. Celiac diseases and digestive tract disabilities may also cause it.

That left you with even more questions right? Here we take a deep view of these questions. Let’s get started.

Table of Content

What Is a Fluttering Sensation?

A quick wavering or flapping movement in your abdomen or digestive tract felt as fluttering. It may be of many forms and varies from person to person like stomach fluttering. However, it is not too serious for you to worry. Various reasons may cause your fluttering sensation in the upper right abdomen. Fluttering is a subjective feeling.


Some people experience feelings like pulls, plucks, twists, or tugs in their bellies. These all are normal, but sometimes they become unusual and severe. At this time, they should be concerned about the problem. The diaphragm is mainly responsible for these feelings, a thin layer of muscles that separates the chest and the abdomen.

How Does The Diaphragm Contribute to Fluttering?

A dome-shaped muscle called the diaphragm is located inside the trunk. It is fused with the outer coverings of the heart and lungs. It highly contributes to the respiratory process. All the abdominal organs like large and small intestines, spleen, liver, and kidneys touch the diaphragm to some extent.


Because all of these organs are direct or indirect attachments to the diaphragm, any abnormality in their functioning can cause fluttering in the diaphragm.

Symptoms When Pregnant

If you are pregnant, you might experience specific movements of the baby like:

  • Turn over
  • Hiccups 
  • Stretching muscles
  • Kicks 
  • Bending

Symptoms When Not Pregnant

Sometimes you feel movements even when you are not pregnant. Typical symptoms might be: 

  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhea
  • High fever
  • Severe pain
  • Burning sensations
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Blurred sight
  • Swelling of body parts
  • Chronic headaches 
  • Vaginal discharge with foul smell

You must look for a doctor if you experience these symptoms.

11 Causes of Fluttering In Upper Right Abdomen

The diaphragm flutters in the upper abdomen because it is fused with the abdominal organs. But there are other reasons why one feels fluttering in the upper abdomen. 


Digestion is a criterion in which the food we eat passes through the digestive tract to the stomach and then to both intestines for further absorption. But opposite to this process is indigestion, in which the food is not digested correctly. 


The symptoms of indigestion may be nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, heartburn, and bloating. At home, you can treat indigestion by using antacids. But if you undergo severe and chronic indigestion, you should consult with a doctor.

Diaphragm Spasms

Diaphragm spasm is an involuntary, unusual contraction and relaxation of the muscle, and these diaphragm spasms can cause fluttering in your upper stomach. It might be due to dehydration in the body. Some of the spasms are mild that might go on their own. But if these spasms become worse, there is a need to seek help from a healthcare provider.


You might undergo various feelings and sensations during your period cycle. Some women experience severe cramps at the start of their menstrual cycle that may cause abdominal muscles to tighten. That seems to be a movement sensation. 

You might experience sensations of pops and jumps in your abdomen during menstruation. This might be due to the stretching of the ovary to release an egg. These sensations are mild and temporary as well. 

Allergic Reactions

Sometimes, the food you eat that does not suit you may cause allergic reactions in your digestive tract. Your abdomen feels fluttery as a result. This could be the result of an abnormal reaction to gluten. You can alleviate these symptoms by avoiding foods containing gluten. If you experience these symptoms persistently, a consultation from a doctor might help in this regard. 


The condition in which your digestive tract is affected causes abdominal pain, constipation, and diarrhea. It can also cause cramps in your abdomen. If not treated on time, diverticulitis may lead to severe symptoms like blood in stools, constant pain in the abdomen, rectum bleeding, nausea, and vomiting. You should make an appointment to see any healthcare provider if you experience these symptoms. 


Phantom Kicks

The feeling that the baby is in the abdomen even if it’s not is called phantom kicks. Pregnant women may experience phantom kicks soon after delivery. But some women might experience it even for years. Mainly, women with miscarriage and abortion may experience movements in their abdomen. But it is not a sign to be a worry. 

Intestinal Obstruction

The blockage of the digestive path of food is called intestinal obstruction. Particles of digested food pass through the stomach to the intestines before excretion from the body. Sometimes blockage occurs in this digestive tract. Some people may also experience severe muscle cramps with vomiting, swelling, boating, etc. You cannot treat it at home. 


Synchronized contractions of the diaphragm are known as hiccups. If you eat fastly and swallow too quickly, gas starts accumulating into the stomach, which causes hiccups. These hiccups may be the reason behind fluttering sensations. Hiccups are not dangerous, so there is no need to worry.   


A hernia is a situation in which the opening of the esophagus becomes too high ample. Due to this, the diaphragm and stomach get irritated and cause fluttering in the upper abdomen. If you feel pain in the abdomen, breathing difficulty, chest pain, and heartburn, it is best to contact a doctor. 


Pregnancy and Fluttering

Pregnancy might be responsible for fluttering sensations. When the fetus moves inside the womb, the mother feels movements in the upper stomach. This may occur at 20 weeks of the pregnancy

Stress or Anxiety

Stress and anxiety are common causes of abdominal pain and other GI symptoms. It disturbs your hormone and neurotransmitter balance. It may result in foods normally digested easily, such as protein, being digested poorly, resulting in fluttering.

How Fluttering in The Upper Abdomen Can Be Treated?

Although fluttering in the upper abdomen is not a severe problem, there is nothing to worry about. You should take the following steps to avoid the fluttering sensation:

  • Avoid spicy and oily foods
  • Eat a small portion of the meal
  • Eat food rich in fibers
  • Do regular exercises.
  • Remain happy and avoid Stress
  • Quit alcohol consumption and smoking
  • Stretching and warming up before exercising
  • Maintain a healthy weight

Fluttering usually goes away on its own. But if your symptoms are serious, you should see a doctor. The doctor will advise you on how to stop the fluttering. A physician can prescribe antibiotics, antacids, proton pump inhibitors, pain relievers, etc., can be prescribed by a physician.


Question: What to do if you feel fluttering in the upper stomach?

Answer: Normal fluttering may not cause concern, but continuous fluttering with some severe symptoms may be a severe condition; then see your doctor and follow his advice. Moreover, it would be best to take safety precautions to avoid fluttering.

Question: Why do I feel movements in my upper abdomen when not pregnant?

Answer: If you feel movements in your upper abdomen without pregnancy, there might be other reasons. You might have acidity, digestive problems, anxiety, hiccups, and infections. Sometimes you eat spicy and heavy food that causes the stomach to flutter. Other conditions like hernia and intestinal obstruction might also be the reason behind the feelings of movement in your upper abdomen. 

Question: Can anxiety cause stomach spasms?

Answer: Yes, anxiety and nervousness can cause stomach spasms, Just because of psychosomatic thinking. This means that the mental condition has a significant influence on the body. For example, before an exam, presentation, or on a first date, you might undergo fluttering in your upper stomach just because of anxiety and nervousness. Don’t worry, it is normal. 


Fluttering in upper right abdomen is not a serious thing. It can be due to muscle spasms, indigestion, ovulation, and anxiety. Standard fluttering can go away with time. Intestinal obstruction is a serious issue that should be treated quickly. If you experience severe symptoms and too much pain, you should visit a doctor. Mostly, fluttering movements are not something serious, so there is no need to worry.

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