Pain Under Your Right Breast: What Is It and Should You Panic?

The area under the right breast consists of ribs, muscles, parts of the lung, and organs in the upper abdomen. The stomach, located on the left side of the abdomen, can sometimes be filled with gas when you swallow. The trapped gas may trigger nerve pain, which manifests as sharp pain under the right or left breast. Localized pain in the chest or the abdomen can be related to mild conditions, but also to severe and serious conditions.

To understand what might be causing your pain, I’ve compiled a list of conditions that manifest symptoms, like pain, under the right breast.

Rib injury

Whenever you suffer an injury, pain is the aftermath. That’s the case with a rib injury, as you will likely feel pain under your breast. The rib cage protects organs in your chest, and an injury to any of the structures in the rib cage causes bruising, tenderness, and, of course, pain. You’ll feel a sharp pain when you cough, take deep breaths, or even sneeze. If that’s the case, the first thing you need to do is schedule an appointment with your doctor.


This condition is described as inflammation of the cartilage attached to the rib. The condition manifests with trauma, violent coughing, and strain injury to the joint. Costochondritis is actually one of the common causes of chest pain. It can get worse with physical activity, sneezing, and coughing. The good news is that you can reduce the pain with over-the-counter pain relievers.


Another inflammation, pleurisy affects the lining of the lung and chest cavity. The result is a respiratory infection, sometimes even pneumonia. You can get it from exposure to toxic substances like asbestos. The pain occurs in your chest area, and as with many others, it gets worse with coughing and deep breathing. However, even moving will increase the pain. Aside from pain in the chest area, symptoms for pleurisy include shortness of breath and rapid breathing.


Pancreatitis is the next condition on the list. This condition affects the pancreas, a large organ located just behind the stomach in the left upper abdomen. The interesting aspect is that the pancreas is located on your left side, but you feel pain on the right side.

Inflammation of the pancreas can cause chronic and acute pain. The cause of pancreatitis usually is infection, alcohol abuse, gallstones, or high triglyceride levels. The pain might continue to other parts of your body, including the back and sides of the abdomen. You might also experience symptoms like nausea, vomiting, bloating, and fever. When you consume foods high in fat, the symptoms will worsen.

Gallbladder disease

I talked about gallstones as a cause of pancreatitis. But disease of the gallbladder is another cause of pain under the right breast. The gallbladder might be a small organ, but it can cause big pain. Located under the liver, the gallbladder’s primary function is to store and release bile. When the bile crystalizes, stones are formed in the gallbladder. What follows is an infection and inflammation of the gallbladder. The end result is pain, which can increase gradually and lead to symptoms like nausea, vomiting and fever.

Kidney stones

We had gallstones, but kidney stones are also problematic. Kidney stones are hard deposits that develop in the kidneys when acid salts and minerals crystalize in the urine. There is a difference between kidney stones and gallstones, but they both cause pain under the right breast. Small stones usually pass in the urine, but large ones cause severe pain. The pain caused by kidney stones is usually felt on the side of the kidneys. However, it can move and spread to the rib cage. Frequent urination, a burning sensation when urinating, and cloudy urine are possible signs of kidney stones.

Rib muscle stress

As I’ve said before, the ribs are not the only part of your body that experiences pain. You may have muscle pain as well, and in that case, the pain is the result of constant and frequent stretching. If you expose your muscles to too much strain, you will experience pain. Athletes and people working out are prone to this problem. If you exercise regularly, it is best that you rest your muscles, and not put constant stress on them.

Food blockages

When I was little, my parents constantly repeated “chew your food.” I didn’t understand it back then, but now I understand the work of the esophagus, a muscular tube that allows food to pass through. When you don’t chew your food properly, or you swallow food accidentally, the food can get stuck. And that will cause pain. You need to quickly get rid of the food blocking the esophagus.

Liver inflammation

I’m sure you know the liver is located far from the chest area. However, inflammation to this organ can cause pain that you feel just below the breast area. Drinking too much alcohol, or exposure to chemicals and toxins, usually cause liver inflammation.

Hiatal hernia

Hiatal hernia is not a well-known condition. Usually, a hernia occurs within the upper thigh, belly button, and groin areas. But it can also happen in the hiatal opening of the diaphragm. A hernia is a condition in which part of the stomach protrudes through a weak area. In addition to pain in the breast area, hiatal hernia causes shortness of breath, bloating after meals, and heartburn.

Should you panic?

Before you hit the panic button, there is one thing you need to understand. Sometimes, pain under right breast might be just a momentary pain. For example, if you’ve been exercising recently, and the pain/symptoms are not worsening, the sharp pain you feel is actually strain, and this pain might be resolved with rest and pain relievers.

However, if you’ve had a serious respiratory infection, and you start feeling pain under the right breast, it’s time to see the doctor. You might not be aware of the symptoms that are related to some other serious disease. Tests that the doctor might suggest include imaging exams, MRI, CT scan, or just simple blood and urine tests.

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