Pain under the right breast can result from injuries, infections, muscle strains, inflammation, and gastrointestinal issues. It can sometimes be a symptom of an underlying health condition.

Strain and injury are common causes of pain under the right breast, and the pain usually gets better on its own.

However, it can also result from conditions affecting the underlying tissues and organs. Additionally, the pain may extend to the right breast from another body area, such as the stomach.

This article explores some potential causes of pain under the right breast, along with their main symptoms and treatments.

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Injuries to the ribs or chest area are common and can be very painful. Depending on where the injury occurs, this pain may manifest under one or both of the breasts.

Possible causes of chest injuries include:

  • knocks or blows to the chest area
  • falls
  • severe coughing

Other symptoms of an injury can include swelling and bruising. More forceful injuries may result in bruised or fractured ribs.

People recovering from surgery to the breasts or chest area may experience pain or discomfort under one or both breasts.

A person can usually treat minor chest injuries at home with rest and over-the-counter (OTC) medications, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen.

Staining or overstretching the chest muscles can result in soreness and pain. This pain may occur under a single breast, depending on which muscles a person strains.

Chest muscle strains can result, for example, from throwing, heavy lifting, and using heavy tools or equipment.

Muscle strains usually get better with rest. Taking OTC pain relievers and applying a cold compress to the affected area may help reduce chest discomfort.

Learn more about muscle strains.

Hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle can cause the breasts to become swollen and tender.

This tenderness usually occurs a week or so before a person’s period, and it can affect one or both breasts.

Taking OTC pain relievers and drinking plenty of water can help reduce breast tenderness from menstrual hormonal changes. The symptoms usually resolve before a person’s period is over.

Learn more about the menstrual cycle and breast pain.

Costochondritis is an inflammation of the cartilage in the costochondral joint, which is the area where the ribs meet the sternum, also called the breastbone.

The main symptom of costochondritis is chest pain, which can occur on one or both sides of the chest.

This pain can be dull or sharp and may worsen when taking a deep breath or coughing. There may also be tenderness around the breastbone.

Costochondritis does not usually cause severe symptoms, such as shortness of breath, fever, or dizziness.

Costochondritis often gets better on its own, but it may last several weeks.

Learn more about costochondritis.

The gallbladder is a small organ on the right side of the body that stores bile from the liver. If bile contains too much cholesterol or bilirubin, or if a person’s gallbladder does not empty properly, gallstones can form.

Most gallstones pass without causing problems. However, gallstones that block bile flow in the bile ducts can cause pain and inflammation.

The episodes of pain resulting from these blockages are called gallbladder attacks or biliary colic.

The pain from a gallbladder attack usually occurs in the upper right abdomen and can last for several hours.

Learn more about gallstones.

A hiatal hernia occurs when part of the stomach slides up through the hiatus, an opening in the diaphragm. The diaphragm is a large, thin sheet of muscle that separates the chest cavity from the abdomen.

Hiatal hernias do not always cause noticeable symptoms, but they can increase a person’s risk of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Some examples of symptoms:

  • chest pain
  • heartburn
  • problems swallowing
  • shortness of breath
  • nausea and vomiting

Learn more about hiatal hernias.

The pleurae are large, thin membranes that are folded over to form two layers. One layer wraps around the lungs, and the other lines the inside of the chest cavity. The space between these two layers is called the pleural space.

Inflammation of the pleura is called pleurisy, and it can cause the two layers to rub against each other. This friction can lead to sharp chest pain when coughing or breathing deeply.

In different pleural disorders, air, gas, fluid, or blood collects in the pleural space, which can also cause sharp chest pain.

Other symptoms of pleural disorders include:

  • coughing
  • shortness of breath
  • fatigue
  • chest tightness

Treatment for a pleural disorder depends on the underlying cause and the severity of a person’s symptoms.

For example, if a bacterial infection is causing the condition, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics. They may also recommend anti-inflammatory medications or pain relievers to help reduce a person’s discomfort.

Some people require a procedure to drain gas or fluids from the pleural space.

Pneumonia is an infectious inflammation of the tiny air sacs in the lungs, which causes them to fill up with fluid.

It can lead to various symptoms, including sharp chest pain that typically worsens with deep breathing or coughing.

Other symptoms of pneumonia include:

  • fever and chills
  • a persistent cough that produces green, yellow, or bloody mucus
  • a loss of appetite
  • fatigue and low energy levels
  • confusion
  • nausea
  • shortness of breath or other breathing difficulties

Early symptoms of pneumonia can be similar to those of a common cold or the flu and may come on suddenly or gradually worsen over a few days. Symptoms can vary from mild to severe.

The most common cause of pneumonia is a bacterial infection, but pneumonia can also result from viral or fungal infections.

Learn more about pneumonia.

Speak with a doctor if the pain under the right breast gets worse, does not go away, or interferes with daily activities. Also, seek medical attention if the pain accompanies other concerning symptoms.

Some symptoms that require immediate medical attention include:

  • severe, sharp, or sudden chest pain
  • chest pain that radiates to other parts of the body, such as the jaw, arms, or shoulders
  • a bluish tint to the lips or skin
  • difficulty breathing
  • coughing up blood
  • confusion, dizziness, or loss of consciousness

Pain under the right breast is rarely a cause for concern and often results from muscle strains or minor injuries.

However, it can indicate a more serious condition, such as an infection, chest inflammation, or a gastrointestinal issue.

It is best to contact a doctor if the pain gets worse, does not go away, or occurs with other concerning symptoms. Seek immediate medical attention for severe chest pain or pain that accompanies breathing difficulties.

Read the article in Spanish.