This list includes some of the more common causes for pain in this area of the chest:
- Pain felt beneath the right breast can be due to a wide variety of causes. Although breast cancer is fairly common in the United States, it rarely causes pain or tenderness under the breasts. Pain is just not one of the symptoms of breast cancer. While pain under your breasts may be due to something in your chest area, it could also be a sign of a problem somewhere else in your torso.
- Costochondritis: Costochondritis is an inflammation of the cartilage that connects the ribs to the sternum. The pain is mostly felt on the left side of the chest. Sharp pain is also felt when one takes a deep breath. Viral, bacterial or fungal infections in the costosternal joint may cause costochondritis. Any trauma or repetitive injuries in the chest area may also cause a problem in this area of the chest, causing inflammation and pain under the breasts.
- Hiatal Hernia: The diaphragm has a small opening, called the esophageal hiatus, which allows the esophagus to pass through before it reaches the stomach. Sometimes the hiatus opens too much and a part of the stomach pushes up through the chest, causing what is called a hiatal hernia. These hernias cause pain beneath the breasts.
- Rib Injuries: The bony structure of the rib cage includes not just the ribs, but the sternum, the thoracic vertebrae and costal cartilage. Blunt force trauma, including car crashes, physical assault, falls, or heavy objects landing on the chest, can all cause bones to break in the sternum or ribs. The muscles in the rib cage can all be strained if stretched beyond their limit. It stands to reason that any broken bones or strained muscles in the rib area will cause pain below the breasts.
- Gallbladder Disease: The gallbladder, located by the liver in the upper right side of the abdomen, is a tiny pear-shaped sac that can become inflamed. Most often the pain from gallbladder problems is due to gallstones – tiny lumps of crystallized cholesterol and bile. The pain caused by gallstones is normally felt in the upper right side of the abdomen, under the right breast.
- Pleurisy: Pleurisy is an inflammation of the pleura, the membranes that line the lungs as well as the walls within the chest. The main symptoms are pain that feels worse with movement, or when taking deep breaths or coughing. Any upper respiratory infection, pneumonia, chest trauma or exposure to any kind of toxic substance can all trigger pleurisy.
- Pancreatitis: Pancreatitis literally means ‘inflammation of the pancreas’. This glandular organ lies right behind the stomach and can become inflamed due to a blocked pancreatic or bile duct, drinking too much alcohol, infections, gallstones, high triglyceride levels and any number of other reasons. The pain from pancreatitis is usually felt in the middle of the torso, and right underneath the right breast.