Sharp Stabbing Pain on Right Side after C-Section: What’s the Cause?

The first six weeks after the delivery are incredibly fragile. It is the time required by your body to heal from the C-section. A routine vaginal delivery shows a fast recovery. However, when it comes to a C-section, it can be exhausting due to the afterpains. Are you suffering from sharp stabbing pain on right side after C-Section? If yes, then don’t’ worry; we’re’ here to help you!

A smooth pregnancy is a blessing, but postpartum pain is what usually all mothers have to go through. It is a physically demanding process, no matter how the child makes it to the planet! Postpartum pains include pain in the ribs, hips, and abdominal area.

The uterus shrinks, giving rise to such problems, and you’re’ not the only mom going through it! So, here we’ll’ tell you about the causes and treatment of the long-term pain after C-section. So, even if you are a first-time mom, you’ll’ never regret reading the whole article!

Sharp Stabbing Pain on Right Side after C-Section

Causes of Pricking Pain after C-section? 

During standard vaginal delivery, the pain is maximum when the contents of the fetus are expelled out from the body. However, a C-section is entirely different. It’s’ a surgical process in which incisions are made in the abdomen and uterus. A surgical procedure is stressful and traumatic for the human body.

Healing might take too long, but the outcome is worth it. Sudden contractions after nine months of expansion will undoubtedly be intense! Let’s have a look at the possible reasons for sharp stabbing pain on right side after C-Section,

Afterpains

Afterpains are caused due to the shrinking of the uterus. You must be thinking, why does it shrink? The uterus is an elastic, distensible pear-shaped organ that can expand more than 500 times its actual size. As soon as the fetus is taken out from the body, the uterus returns to its original size. This causes severe cramps called afterpains.

The cramping might be similar to menstrual pains. These contractions can be severe during breastfeeding. However, they are most intense in the first week and fade away after a few weeks of the delivery.

Afterpains are biologically significant; you can’t’ stave them off. All you can do is, reduce them. You can use hot water pads and painkillers as per your doctor’s advice. The first-time moms don’t’ usually go through intense pain, but the pain worsens in the mothers after multiple children. 

Constipation

Whatever the delivery is, a mother suffers from fluctuating hormones, debilitate pelvic floor, and has a uterus that is ready to contact. These are all common causes of pain, but did you know about constipation? Yes, you read that right! A reason for severe abdominal pain after section can be “Constipation.” It usually pairs up with cramping that intensifies the abdominal pain.

 Following are the possible causes of this disorder,

  • High progesterone levels
  • Low fiber diet
  • Stress
  • Low acidity level

You might have experienced it during the pregnancy; that’s because of the uterus that presses the colon. On the contrary, postpartum constipation is somewhat unavoidable too. This is because of the pain medications, which decrease the body’s metabolism.

Post-Cesarean Wound Infection and More

Post-C-section wound infection includes internal and external infections. Further, it can also lead to septicemia, which is a rare type of infection. 

  • Internal InfectionsAnother reason for the pricking pain after C-section can be an internal infection. A surgery exposes the internal human body to the normal environment. Hence, there is always a higher risk of infections after an operation. When it comes to a C-section, microbes can easily infect the body tissues. The first sign of an internal infection is fever. For the treatment, doctors generally recommend antibiotics. 
  • External Infections – The site of the surgical incision is always prone to infections. When the infection is external you might observe a red and swollen site of the incision. The infected area also oozes pus sometimes. In that case, you must consult your doctor to curb the spread of infection.
  • Septicemia – The most dangerous and rare post-cesarean wound infection is called septicemia or sepsis. The symptoms include high fever, increased heart rate, and breathing. It is an extreme blood poisoning that must be treated urgently.

Sharp Stabbing Pain on Right Side after C-Section

During pregnancy, the external changes are pretty obvious, but internal changes remain hidden. These internal changes might be unseen, but their after-effects are prominent! Surgeons try their best to avoid any nerve damage during the operation, but it is nearly impossible to penetrate the uterus without touching the nerves. Three nerves are running closest to the site of the incision including,

Sharp Stabbing Pain on Right Side after C-Section
  • Ilioinguinal nerve 
  • Iliohypogastric nerve
  • Genitofemoral nerve

If you’re’ experiencing a sharp stabbing pain on right side after C-Section, then stay relaxed because it is nerve damage only. This is because a chopped nerve produces numbness instead of despair. Following are the common sites that usually suffer from unbearable sharp stabbing pain on right side after C-Section. 

Pelvic Pain after C-section on the Right Side

Post-caesarian pain is inevitable. Hence, every woman has to go through discomfort after the delivery. A ubiquitous site of pain is the pelvic area. Let’s dig into the details of postpartum pelvic pain.

The pelvic cavity is located below the abdominal cavity, and it consists of the following organs,

  • Reproductive organs
  • Urinary bladder
  • Distal ureters
  • Proximal urethra
  • Colon
  • Rectum
  • Anal canal

During the gestation period, the size of the uterus keeps on increasing, which directly affects the bladder and urethra. You might have heard about frequent urination during pregnancy. Do you know why it takes place? Well, it is because of the uterus pressing the bladder and hormonal changes. 

One of the primary reasons for pain in the pelvic region is overstretching of the muscles. A stretching of nine months won’t’ vanish in a single day. However, the duration varies from woman to woman. 

There is one more possibility called pelvic organ prolapse. In this condition, pelvic floor musculature lacks the strength of supporting the organs. It can lead to pain and bulging in the pelvis. Moreover, it can cause stabbing pain due to nerve damage. 

Now, you must be thinking about how to get rid of it? In that case, all you need to do is breathe! Well, it isn’t’ as simple as it seems. Breathing exercises can help relieve pain, but you need to perform other activities to boost your muscle strength and activate them. Lastly, you must focus on your body posture! Improving the body mechanics and seeking medical advice for a good posture can help get rid of pelvic pain. 

Stabbing Pains in Stomach and Lower Right Abdominal Pain after C-section 

You must remember that if you’ve’ opted for a C-section, then sharp stabbing pain on right side after C-Section is normal. After the vaginal delivery, abdominal pain fades away within ten days. On the contrary, after a C-section, you might suffer from sharp stabbing pain on right side of the abdomen.

The contractions after involution are caused due to a hormone called “oxytocin.” This birth hormone helps in stretching of uterus and is also released during breastfeeding. 

Sharp Stabbing Pain on Right Side after C-Section

Well, this doesn’t’ stop here. You might be suffering from the irritation of the ilioinguinal nerve! Yes, it could be the Ilioinguinal neuralgia that is causing severe pain in your lower abdominal and pelvic region into the groins and genitals. This might cause a sharp stabbing pain on right side after C-section. 

This disorder is characterized by damage to the ilioinguinal nerve. This nerve passes down the abdominal muscles; hence it can be easily damaged during a caesarian section. If you’re’ looking for an answer to the question “How to treat nerve pain after C-section?” then you must consult your doctor. Don’t’ experiment with your health. 

To treat the sharp stabbing pain on right side after C-Section, doctors usually prescribe anti-convulsants, anti-depressants, topical patches, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories along with some injection therapies. 

Pain in the Right Rib after C-Section 

Do you feel a tight knot at the right side of your rib cage? Is there pain between your shoulder blades? If your right shoulder hurts a lot, then cholelithiasis might be the culprit! This non-obstetric disorder is caused due to high estrogen and progesterone levels in the body. 

Fact: “Pregnant mothers in their forties have about a 12% chance of developing stones.”

Older women are at higher risk of gallstone formation. The common causes include:

  • Obesity
  • High cholesterol diet
  • Having age above 40
  • Diet high in fats
  • Insulin resistance

To prevent them, you must use a low-fat diet. Avoid cholesterol-rich meals and enhance physical activities. Sometimes, these gall stones become asymptomatic, and there isn’t’ any need for treatment in such cases.

Fact: “In 60% of patients, gall stones fade away soon after childbirth.”

However, if the symptoms persist, then the surgery called cholecystectomy is performed. This surgery involves the removal of the gall bladder. Other than this, another reason for postpartum rib pain is intercostal muscle strain. 

Sharp Stabbing Pain in the Right Hip after C-Section

If sharp pain in the right hip after C-section is what you are going through right now, then don’t’ worry! This isn’t’ something new. Restoration of the pre-pregnancy state isn’t’ easy. It requires lots of patience. When it comes to hip pain, it might be due to nerve damage. 

Sometimes, when the incision site starts healing, the scar tissue attaches itself to the surrounding tissues. This attachment can cause severe back and hip pain.  

To treat this problem, you must include growth boosters in your diet—for example, Vitamin C and iron. Furthermore, excess weight might be one of the possible reasons for hip pain. For that, you must put effort into losing the extra weight you’ve’ gained throughout the pregnancy. 

Lastly, make sure you seek a bit of medical advice and act upon what your doctor says. Be careful with medications soon after the delivery because your diet directly affects the metabolism of the baby. 

Why my C-section Scar Hurts Years Later

It won’t be wrong to say that the Cesarean section has long-lasting adverse effects on deliveries! When you go through the process, there is a scar left on your abdominal region. This might not be a big deal for many, but it matters a lot for those concerned about their appearance!

They not only affect appearance, but C-section scars can even cause pain after 10 years of surgery. If the scar is still causing discomfort, then you must consult your doctor. 

Some patients go through a hypertrophic problem called Hypertrophic scarring. This disorder is associated with extensive tissue growth, which exceeds the limits. These tissues are thick and usually appear as lumps. 

One of the significant reasons for bowel obstructions in adults is the development of adhesions (binding of tissues). They are painless and can lead to complex problems once identified. 

Conclusion

Either it’s’ your friend or you, who is suffering from sharp stabbing pain on right side after C-section, there isn’t’ any need to worry. The complications mentioned above vary from person to person. So, whenever you notice the “red flag,” don’t’ panic and immediately seek medical advice. 

FAQ

Is it normal to have sharp pains after C-section?

Suffering from sharp stabbing pain on right side after C-Section is somewhat standard. This is because the uterus shrinks, giving rise to post-birth cramps. So, yes, sharp pains are normal, but doctors must monitor the incisions for any signs of infection. 

Why does my right side hurt after C-section?

The sharp stabbing pain on right side after C-Section is due to the uterus shrinking back to its normal position. It causes severe distress, which is somewhat similar to menstrual cramps. These pains are called afterpains. 

What are ominous signs after C-section?

The bad signs include infection, blood clots (deep vein thrombosis), bladder injury, bowel injury, and excessive bleeding during the delivery might lead to blood transfusion. 

How do you know if you have an internal infection after C-section?

Most of the time, the “bacterium Staphylococcus aureus” is responsible for an internal infection. The symptoms are:

  • Fever
  • Flu-like symptoms (rare)
  • Foul-smelling discharge from the wound
  • Difficulty in urination (only when urinary tract/bladder is involved)
  • Severe abdominal pain

Dr. Omair Ansar, MBBS, MSc

Dr. Omair is a skilled medical doctor with a degree in Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery from Baqai Medical University. In 2018, he completed a Master of Science degree in Healthcare Management with distinction from Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, UK. With 9 years of clinical and non-clinical experience, Dr. Omair has gained hands-on experience and extensive knowledge in the medical field. He is currently working in a multinational healthcare organization in Saudi Arabia where his primary responsibility is to train doctors, pharmacists, and nurses about the most updated clinical guidelines as well as conduct case discussions with various specialties to ensure patient safety and satisfaction. Dr. Omair is also an exceptional medical reviewer with expertise in the field of healthcare, pharmaceutical, food and nutrition as well as medical insurance. He has years of experience in writing and reviewing medical articles.

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