Pain under the Right Breast: Possible Causes

Any form of breast pain is a reason for concern, especially if the problem is recurring. You need to see your doctor right away to make sure that this is not a symptom of a dangerous condition. Pain in the right breast can be caused by many different reasons, and a few of them require immediate medical attention.

Most Common Causes

Today, many women are worried that breast pain is a symptom of cancer. The good news is that this is actually a common condition caused by hormonal changes that occur in a woman’s body on a regular basis. It is indeed true that pain can be one of the symptoms of cancer, but in the majority of cases, the tumors produced by this disease are painless.

The most common causes of pain under the right breast are:

  • Costochondritis – This condition is characterized by inflammation of the area where cartilages attach the ends of ribs to the breastbone. In the majority of cases, this problem is caused by repetitive injury or an infection of the costosternal joint.If you have costochondritis, pain will get more severe when you move, even coughing and sneezing can aggravate the condition.
  • Rib injury – Cracked, bruised, or fractured ribs can cause a great deal of pain. The injured area will remain tender for a while and your movement will be limited due to the pain.Your ribcage must expand and contract all the time due to breathing, so it’s impossible to immobilize it completely. This slows down the process of healing for these injuries and makes them very painful.If one or more of your ribs are fractured, there is a risk of it piercing your lungs. If this happens, the consequences can be fatal. Therefore, it’s imperative to minimize your movement and follow all of your doctor’s instructions carefully.
  • Pancreatitis – The end of the pancreas is located at the right side of your abdomen. When this organ is inflamed, you will experience pain in the right side under your breast.This condition can be either acute or chronic. In the latter case, pain would be recurring.Pancreatitis is usually caused by infections, excessive consumption of alcohol, increased level of triglycerides, presence of gallstones, blockage of the pancreatic duct, etc. Other symptoms of the condition are nausea, bloating, vomiting, and tenderness of the abdomen. If the case is severe, pain can spread to your back and side.
  • Kidney stones – Kidney stones occur when minerals and acid salts crystallize inside your kidneys. This condition is dangerous because if the ureter is blocked, the results may be fatal. It causes agonizing pain that can radiate under either the right or left breast, to your back, or to the sides. Other symptoms of the condition are the frequent need to urinate, vomiting, nausea, painful urination and fever.It’s imperative to seek medical attention when you experience any kind of discomfort during urination or notice that you urinate more often.
  • Pleurisy – This condition occurs when your pleura is inflamed. Pleura is a membrane that lines the insides of your chest cavity and lungs. Pleurisy is mostly caused by exposure to toxic substances, pneumonia, or respiratory infections. When you have this condition, taking a deep breath will become painful. Pain can be localized under your right breast or in other areas of the chest. You will also experience shortness of breath and coughing. The latter will aggravate the condition and cause more pain.
  • Gallbladder disease – Gallbladder stores and releases bile, a digestive juice produced by your liver. Gallbladder disease is caused by the occurrence of gallstones, which form due to the crystallization of bile pigments or cholesterol. The most common symptom of this problem is dull continuous pain in the upper right side of your abdomen. This condition can lead to cholecystitis (gallbladder inflammation). In the majority of cases, the most efficient treatment is removing your gallbladder through surgery.
  • Menopause – Unstable estrogen levels usually cause pain under the right breast or inside it. This problem should disappear when a woman enters menopause.
  • Mastitis – This is an infection that commonly affects breastfeeding mothers. It is characterized by pain, redness and swelling. Both your breast and nipple will be very tender. It’s best to cease breastfeeding until the infection is cured to prevent any harm to the baby.
  • Hormonal changes – Menstrual cycle and taking contraceptive pills are the two most common reasons of hormonal changes that can result in different types of breast pain. You should consult your doctor about this issue. If there are no other underlying issues that can cause this problem, you will have to bear with the pain for a few short days every month.

When to Call a Doctor?

It is always best to consult with your physician if you experience any kind of breast pain, just to be safe. However, if you develop one of the following symptoms along with the pain, you must seek medical attention immediately:

  • Signs of inflammation (redness, extreme tenderness, pus, fever)
  • Discharge from the nipple (either clear or bloody)
  • A lump (either painful or painless)