There are a variety of reasons why an individual may experience pain under the right breast. Following are some medical ailments that have been linked with pain developing in this area.
Rib Injury – Our rib cage is a structure of bone that consists of the sternum, ribs, thoracic vertebrae, and costal cartilages. Blunt force trauma can often damage the sternum or ribs, causing cracks or fractures to develop. Situations where a rib injury may occur are motor vehicle accidents, a fall, having a heavy object fall on the chest creating a crush injury, or a hard blow to the chest, such as one would experience in a physical assault. There are also muscles contained in the rib cage that can be strained if stretched past their allowable limit.
Costochondritis – When there is inflammation at the meeting point of where we see costal cartilage joining the end of the ribs to the breastbone, it is referred to as costochondritis. Causes of costochondritis would be any trauma to the chest, bacterial, viral, or fungal infections of the costosternal joint, repetitive strain injuries, or violent coughing.
Pancreatitis – The pancreas is the glandular organ found behind the stomach. The right side of the abdomen is where the head of the pancreas is situated. When the pancreas becomes inflamed it is referred to as pancreatitis. This condition can be a chronic one or acute. Causes of inflammation are excessive drinking of alcohol, infections, elevated levels of triglycerides, cholelithiasis (forming of gallstones), or an obstruction of the pancreatic duct or common bile duct. An inflamed pancreas can cause pain to be felt under the right breast area.
Gallbladder Disease – In the upper right area of our abdominal cavity, just under the liver, we find a pear shaped sac called the gallbladder. The gallbladder is what stores and releases the digestive juices, called bile, that the liver produces. Cholesterol, bile pigments, and bile salts are all present in bile. When these bile pigments (or cholesterol) becomes crystallized, it forms gallstones in the bladder. This is referred to as cholelithiasis. Individuals affected by this will often experience a dull or stabbing pain located in the upper right area of the abdomen (just under the breast).
Kidney Stones – When the crystallization of acid salts and minerals that are present in the urine occurs, hard, stone-like deposits called kidney stones (or renal calculi in medical terms) form. In many cases small kidney stones are able to pass through the urinary tract unnoticed. But in situations where the kidney stones are much larger, agonizing pain can be felt as the kidney stone becomes lodged in the ureter or kidney. One of the most well known symptoms of this ailment is pain in the flank. So, if the right kidney is being affected, pain will be experienced that seems to radiate through to the lower right area of the rib cage.
Hiatal Hernia – When there is a protrusion of part of the stomach through a hiatal opening in the thoracic cavity, it is referred to as a hiatal hernia. The vagus and esophagus nerves both pass through a small opening located in the diaphragm, known as esophageal hiatus. It is meant to allow the esophagus to pass through. In cases where the esophagus has become larger than it’s normal size, a section of the stomach may protrude from this opening and towards the chest.
Pleurisy – Inflammation of the pleura, a serous membrane that lines the walls of the chest cavity and lungs, is referred to and pleurisy. Some of the causes of pleurisy are pneumonia, upper respiratory infections, trauma to the chest, and exposure to asbestos or other highly toxic chemicals. The most common sign of this ailment is pain in the chest that becomes worse with movement. Coughing, and inhaling deeply are also known to cause the pain to become worse.