Have you ever felt a sharp pain under right breast when you breathe in deeply? Or when you are on your period? Or when you simply sleep in an uncomfortable position? The pain would generally arise from the right side of your rib.

Your rib cage plays an important role in protecting the entire cardiovascular system. This pain can cause you much discomfort, whether it is severe or mild. Generally, the pain occurs due to any change in your posture.,

But, an underlying medical issue can also cause such a pain. You must not ignore this pain. If you choose to ignore the pain under your right breast, it may turn worse and further lead to other medical complexities.

In this article, let us discuss the potential causes of this pain, it’s diagnosis and the treatment.

Causes Of Pain Under Breast

Causes Of Pain Under Breast
Causes Of Pain Under Breast

Pain under your right breast is a recognisable event, but it is important for us to acknowledge the causes of this pain. In most of the cases, this pain is a source of some health issues in your gallbladder.

The treatment might be painful but it is fairly simple to deal with. To fight this, it is important to figure out related symptoms and the causes of this discomfort and pain.

The area under your right breast consists of different structures, including your ribs and muscles in your chest, parts of your lung, and organs in your upper abdomen. Here are a few potential medical conditions associated with the sharp pain under your right breast:

1. Rib Injury

The organs that are in your chest are protected by the rib cage. The rib cage consists of ribs, cartilages, and the sternum. Any injury to these structures, for instance, a fracture from a direct blow on the chest or any injury from an accident can lead to tenderness, bruising, and pain in the affected area.

The pain may feel worse when you cough, or sneeze or just take deep breaths. It is advisable to get medical attention after such injuries to prevent further complications that might affect the organs.

2. Costochondritis

Inflammation of the cartilage attached to your rib is called Costochondritis. It may result from trauma, infection, violent coughing or just strain injury on the affected joint. This is a common condition that causes chest pain.

The pain feels worse during physical activities or when you simply sneeze or a cough. However, it is not that serious and it is usually relieved with OTC pain relievers and some rest.

3. Pleurisy

The inflammation of the lining of your lung and the chest cavity (pleura) result from respiratory infections, pneumonia, exposure to toxic substances like asbestos or trauma. This condition is called Pleurisy. It is typically characterised by severe chest pain which becomes worse with deep breathing, coughing and movement.

The other symptoms are rapid breathing, coughing and shortness of breath.

4. Pancreatitis

Pancreas happens to be a large organ located behind your stomach.  Precisely, it is on the left of your upper abdomen. Inflammation of this organ is called Pancreatitis, and it can cause a chronic pain that is transmitted to another part of the body.  This can be a probable cause for the sharp pain under your right breast.

Pancreatitis is caused by infections, high triglyceride levels, any blockage of ducts, alcohol abuse, or the presence of stones in your gallbladder. The pain may be transmitted to other areas, like the sides or the back of your abdomen.

This might cause other symptoms like, fever, nausea and vomiting, and bloating. These symptoms will feel worse after eating any meal that is high in fat.

5. Gallbladder Disease

The gallbladder is a little sac situated under your liver in the upper area of your abdomen. This stores and releases bile-a digestive juice produced by the liver. When the bile pigments due to the presence of salts, and the cholesterol, crystallises, it forms gallstones. This condition is called Cholelithiasis.

The infection might cause inflammation (cholecystitis), which leads to a sharp pain under your right breast. This pain is felt to the back and it causes other associated symptoms like fever, nausea, and vomiting.

6. Kidney Stones

Kidney stones or Renal calculi are solid deposits which form when acid salts and minerals crystallise in the urine. Small kidney stones generally pass in the urine and cause no problems. The larger ones might cause severe pain when they get wedged in the kidney or urethra.

The most common symptom is a flank pain, and it is felt on the side of the affected kidney. This pain radiates to your rib cage and causes sharp pain under your right breast. The other symptoms are fever, vomiting and nausea, frequent and cloudy urine, and a burning sensation when urinating.

7. Hiatal Hernia

This less common cause is when a part of your stomach herniates or protrudes, via a hiatus opening in the diaphragm. The diaphragm then opens into your chest cavity. Sometimes, a part of the oesophagus also herniates through the hiatus.

These conditions cause chest pain, heartburn, shortness of breath and bloating after meals. Immediate treatment is advisable to avoid any serious complications.

8. Too Much Gas

Sometimes it might happen that you overeat, and you do not realise it. Overeating makes your digestive system not function properly. As a result of this, the food you eat is not digested. When your body is having troubles digesting, your system produces too much of stomach acids and gas. This is bound to cause a lot of problems sooner or later.

The stomach gas might be trapped in various parts of the digestive system but it still causes pain right under the right rib cage.

9. Food Blockages

The oesophagus is where the food you eat, passes through.  When you have do not chew your food properly or when you accidentally swallow food, the food gets stuck somewhere in the pipe. This causes tenderness and pain right below your right breast. Immediate medical attention is advised to get rid of the blockage in your oesophagus.

10. Fibrocystic Breast

Fibrocystic breast is also known as fibrocystic breast changes or fibrocystic breast disease. It is a very common and a noncancerous condition where your breasts become lumpy and painful. It is not really a disease per se, it is considered as normal and affects women between 30-50 years of age. The pain in the breast spreads all over your thoracic region.

The exact cause of a Fibrocystic breast is unidentified, but doctors say it is related to hormone changes. A woman’s menstrual cycle results in hormone fluctuations, particularly an increase in the production of oestrogens and progesterone. These hormones make your breasts lumpy and sore.

11. Physical Trauma

Physical trauma can be another reason because of the sharp pain under your breast. If you hit any blunt object, meet an accident or simply just bump into any solid thing, and hit your chest, you will experience the pain as a recurring event.

Sometimes you might get hurt on your shoulder, lower abdomen or at the back; this will eventually lead to the pain transmitting throughout. In this process, the pain might also get transmitted to the area of your lower breast.

12. Intraductal Papilloma

An intraductal papilloma is a non-cancerous, breast tumour which forms in a milk duct. Generally, an Intraductal Papilloma comes out as a large lump near your nipple or as many small lumps away from your nipple. Intraductal papilloma usually leads to a surgery to remove a tumour and the duct which is affected. A tumour is made up of blood vessels and fibrous tissues.

Papilloma commonly affects women between the ages 35 and 55. There are no such risk factors related to intraductal papilloma. But, the tumour might cause a sharp pain during its onset. It is recommended that you get in touch with your doctor if you notice lumps on your breasts.

13. Mastitis

Mastitis is a breast tissue infection resulting in swelling and redness of your breast. If it is left untreated, blisters and boils may form. The blisters and boil eventually swell and cause pain throughout the thoracic region.

Mastitis develops when bacteria from your baby’s oral cavity gets in contact with your breast through the nipple when you are breastfeeding. Its treatment includes antibiotics and it is very effective at clearing up the infection. Sometimes, probiotics are also used.

Diagnosing Sharp Pain Under Right Breast

If you are experiencing such pain for the first time, it is advisable that you to your doctor immediately.  If you try to ignore the pain and live with it, it may endanger your health.

Diagnosing Sharp Pain Under Right Breast
Diagnosing Sharp Pain Under Right Breast

It is good to have a complete examination of your health before jumping to any conclusion. This will help the doctors understand the causes for the pain better.

The treatment includes close observation of the affected area in your body. The pain can be ruled out using several ways like ultrasound or radiology. It is then followed by a thorough consideration of any other internal issues and problems.

A combination of both these methods will give you a very clear diagnosis and help the doctor prescribe the specific medication to cure the pain.

This pain is not a life-threatening problem, so you do not need to get alarmed by this problem. It can be an immediate consequence of your current situation or the stress that you experience.

Stress gives rise to a lot of health problems and therefore it is advised to follow instructions given to you by your doctor.  You should remain relaxed and calm, follow a healthy diet and exercise regularly.

Stress gives rise to a lot of health problems and therefore it is advised to follow instructions given to you by your doctor.  You should remain relaxed and calm, follow a healthy diet and exercise regularly.

Treatment Of Pain Under Right Breast

There are a variety of causes that lead to the pain under your right breast. The treatment for them is, therefore, different depending on the underlying cause. Let us have a look at the treatments specific to the cause:

1. Treatment For Cholecystitis

First, you identify the particular gallbladder disease that is the cause of the pain under your right breast. Your doctor will ask about your medical history, perform an abdominal assessment, and then suggest a few of laboratory exams, like ultrasound, urine test and an x-ray.

You will be prescribed medicines to ease the pain and inflammation and for the muscle spasms. Surgery is another option if the pain becomes recurrent or a little more serious. If you don’t want a surgery, your doctor can prescribe medicines that dissolve the gallstones, like Ursodiol.

There is no model diet for gallbladder diseases. A low-sugar and a low-fat diet generally help to reduce the symptoms. Eating fibre-rich foods, like beans, fruits, oats, and vegetables is a good choice.

2. Treatment For Hormonal Changes

You do not need to do much for fibrocystic breast since it’s not a disease. To rule out the potential risk for cancer, you can opt for regular mammograms or a physical breast exam. You must limit or avoid caffeine. Restricting caffeine is a useful way of managing the pain associated with fibrocystic breast.

In some women, chocolates make the pain go worse. You must pay attention to your diet if that happens to you. Lowering the consumption of meals that are salty, will help you reduce the swelling. Meanwhile, a diet high in fibre and low in fat will help you lower your chances of breast cancer.

3. Treatment For Bruises And Fractures

Bruised and broken ribs heal on its own within three to six weeks. Therefore, there’s not much you can do about it. To keep the pain in control, you can take some anti-inflammatory drugs and painkillers, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen and naproxen.

You can take paracetamol for mild pain. If a paracetamol is not enough, you can take an anti-inflammatory drug or a stronger painkiller with it. They contain codeine that is good to ease moderate to severe pain.

Your doctor might suggest a few deep breathing exercises keep away pneumonia and other respiratory infections from budding. Make sure not to wrap your ribs when you are doing those exercises because that would prevent your lungs from fully expanding. It amounts to a risk of developing  Pneumonia. You must also avoid strenuous activities.

4. Treatment For Costochondritis

You can take oral medications to relieve the inflammation and the pain around the nerves. If it is severe, your doctor could inject Corticosteroids, which is an anti-inflammatory drug, and also a local anaesthetic for any short-term pain relief.

Exercises for intercostal neuritis help as well.  Start by expanding your chest area and then stretching the intercostal muscles to remove any pressure from the surrounding nerves and blood vessels.  It is recommended that you do these exercises in the presence of any qualified professional.

5. Treatment For Pancreatitis

If you have pancreatitis, you must see your doctor immediately for proper evaluation. You also need to undergo a few laboratory tests to confirm the medical rule out. You might have to be admitted to the hospital if you end up having acute pancreatitis. There is no general treatment for the inflammation.

You might have to be admitted to the hospital if you end up having acute pancreatitis. There is no general treatment for the inflammation.

Strong painkillers can be injected if it is necessary to ease the pain. Make sure you increase your fluid intake because pancreatitis causes dehydration.

Natural Remedies To Get Rid Of Pain Under Right Breast

Alternatively, there are also a few natural remedies to the sharp pain right under your breast. Some of which are:

1. Ice Pack

To get fast relief from the pain, use an ice pack. The cold temperatures will numb the tenderly affected area and reduce any swelling or pain. Simply put a few ice cubes in a zip lock bag. Make sure you wrap the bag with a handkerchief or a washcloth.

Usage:

  • Apply this ice pack for about 10 minutes on the affected area. You can repeat this a few times a day until you are better.
  • Alternatively, you can also use a warm compress. Alternating cold and warm compress reduce the swelling and the tenderness. Remember not to apply the ice directly to your breast.

2. Evening Primrose Oil

The best treatment for pain is Evening Primrose oil. It contains the active ingredient- Gamolenic Acid (GLA). It is a kind of a fatty acid which helps your body respond to hormonal changes. So, if your pain is due to various hormonal changes in your body, this might be the best option for you. This also eases your breast tenderness and the pain.

Usage:

  • Simply apply the oil externally on the affected area and massage it gently for about 15 minutes.
  • Another way is to orally take 240-500 mg of the standardised extract this oil. You can take it for about 3 months on a daily basis.  But make sure you do so only after consulting your doctor.

If you have epilepsy or if you are trying to get pregnant, you must not use evening primrose oil.

3. Castor Oil

Castor oil is full of Ricinoleic Acid. It has an analgesic and an anti-inflammatory property that helps relieve you of your pain. It is also believed to increase blood circulation. This way nutrients reach the cells, and the waste products and the inflammatory factors are eliminated from your body.

Usage:

Mix a tablespoon of Castor oil with 2 tablespoons of any other lighter oil, like olive oil. Use this mixture to massage the affected area. You can follow this remedy daily.

4. Dandelion

Dandelion is a natural diuretic and it contains potassium that helps you flush out the extra fluids out of your body and prevents water retention. This, in turn, reduces pain under your breast.

Usage:

Simmer a teaspoon of dried dandelion root in a cup of warm water for 15 minutes. Strain it and add a little bit of honey. Drink that up and you can continue having it for a week, thrice daily.

Conclusion

The pain under your right breast is not serious if it goes away after a few hours or minutes. But, if it comes back again and again, it is a cause for concern. Look for the causes mentioned in the article.

But always remember to consult your doctor for a better opinion. Make sure that you are aware of the other symptoms occurring alongside the pain so that the doctor can diagnose you properly.

Do not try to take in medications you are not sure of. You could first try the home remedies, as they do not counter attack your health. Try other drugs and medicines only after the doctor has prescribed you to do so.

Sometimes there can be a sharp pain due to excessive coughing. If you smoke you must try and quit it completely. If not, you can massage the area gently with lavender oil or garlic oil. Both the oils soothe the pain.

Lastly, you must stay healthy. A good diet and exercise is the key to a healthy life!

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Dr. Sania Siddiqui is a Unani medicine expert, who has completed her Bachelors in Unani Medicine & Surgery from Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi.She is an experienced Medical Content Writer and has been writing in the online space for the past 7 years. Her areas of expertise range from skin & hair care, women’s health, diet & nutrition, pregnancy, parenting, lifestyle and fitness.