Sharp Pain Under Right Breast, Breathing, Coughing, Pregnancy, Dull-Causes & Treatment

What causes sharp pain under right or left breast bone when breathing, coughing and during pregnancy in female? What if you if the pain is dull? What does it mean the pain comes and goes? Can it come but no gallbladder? Read on find out more and what to do

Sharp Pain under Breast Female/Male

There are occasions when you get this sharp pain under your breast and it keeps you wondering what it is. It is simply a type of pain that you cannot comprehend. It even forces you to check it out on Google and other medical platforms.

sharp-pain under right breast female, male, causes, symptoms and treatment
Pain under breast

Then you find that there are more than two reasons and you suddenly have a long list of differentials that need to be outwitted by a doctor. Pain can be described as sharp or dull and this is a good indicator to the cause of the pain. You might have been informed by a doctor that dull pain is usually diffuse and is mostly due to visceral reasons.

This means that your internal organs are in pain. When the pain is sharp, it is normally localized and this can be referred to another part of the body according to a dermatome. Pain can also be described as achy, crushing, tight or burning.

What you should know about pain is that when you have it for the first time, you should take it as a big concern and take care of it by scheduling a consultation.

Remember, that there are organs on either side under the breasts and pain could be referring to particular organs.

Causes of Sharp Pain Under Breast

Among the reasons that you may get a sharp pain under your breasts whether on the right or left side include:

Trauma to the ribcage

The rib cage is responsible for protecting the inner organs. Sometimes there is a breach to this protection that results in a fracture of the cartilage and the ribs due to a vehicular accident or another form of trauma. If you have been hit by something or someone has hit you on the ribcage and you feel a continuous sharp pain afterwards, then this might be the reason.

Acid reflux

Acid reflux normally results in a sharp pain that starts from the epigastric region and proceeds upwards along the esophagus. This is commonly known as gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD). It occurs due to reverse movement of the acidic contents of the stomach up the gut perhaps due to a malfunctioning cardiac sphincter that normally prevents this.


This is a compensatory enlargement of the spleen in the face of an infection or hemolytic disease condition. Normally, the spleen’s reticuloendothelial system is involved in the elimination of abnormal or aged-up red blood cells or those that have an infectious inclusion.

When this happens too much perhaps due to excessive breakdown, then it may enlarge to compensate for this resulting in pain. During splenomegaly, there may be no symptoms in some cases but in most, pain or fullness in the left upper abdomen occurs with a referred pain to the left shoulder.

There are other cases in which your spleen may rupture and this also results in pain.

Colonic spasms

This uncontrollable contraction and relaxation of the colonic muscles may result in painful spasms. At times, there may be some gas stuck in the colon and if this gas is excessive, it may lead to a reverberating pain from the upper left side of the abdomen.

Gastritis and peptic ulcer disease

Gastritis refers to a condition in which there is overproduction of acid in the stomach due to an inflammation of the acid-producing cells, the gastric/peptic cells.

This acid overpowers the mucus produced to cushion and prevent corrosion of the stomach walls by the acid and leads to a sharp pain felt at the center below the angle of the ribcage and the left side. Peptic ulcer disease is a condition that results from long term hyperacidity that forms ulcers and pain.


This is an inflammation of the pancreas, an endocrine and exocrine gland. When the pancreas inflames, then there is an accompanying pain on the left hypochondriac region and the left lumbar region of the abdomen.

pancreatitis causes pain under breast bone rib chest

Basal pneumonia

This is an infectious inflammation that occurs in the lung tissue more specifically in the basal division of the lung. It is transmitted via airborne droplets and the pathogens that cause it are in myriads ranging from viruses, fungi to bacteria. This is normally accompanied by coughing, fever, general malaise and loss of appetite among many others.


This is a condition in which the cartilage is inflamed resulting from trauma, infection, violent coughing or strain. It normally occurs after you have sneezed or coughed producing stress on the cartilage.

This condition can be confused with Tietze’s syndrome that causes chest swelling and may last after the pain has resided (National Library of Medicine) and affects young adults under 40 mostly. To identify Costochondritis, the pain is usually made worse when lying down, when you exert some pressure on the chest. When you breath in deeply, cough or sneeze or during exertion.

Inflammatory bowel disease(IBD)

This is felt much lower in the left lumbar region as it occurs and it may be either Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis. Crohn’s occurs at any part of the digestive tract while ulcerative colitis occurs in the colon. Hence depending on the area where inflammation occurs, pain is felt at that particular place.

Kidney stones

This is one condition that leads to severe pain in the flanks of the abdomen. It is also known as nephrolithiasis. The pain to the left iliac region is felt alongside other systemic signs such as hematuria. Kidney stones is a more general term for stones in the urinary tract (urolithiasis) and ureter (uretolithiasis) where they can be found.


According to the American Heart Association, this is a condition in which the two thin layers of a sac-like tissue that surrounds the heart inflames. One common symptom that accompanies pericarditis is chest pain due to the thin layers rubbing against the heart when swollen.


The heart is lined with a layer known as pleura that contains pleural fluid. It is this fluid that is responsible for transmitting chest movements to the lungs. Its large surface tension leads to close apposition of the chest wall and the lungs. When the pleura is inflamed, it leads to a sharp chest pain when you breathe deeply.

This pain is at times also felt in the shoulder blade. It is exercabate when you cough or sneeze or upon exertion. It is associated with shortness of breath and a dry cough. It results from infection such as pneumonia, trauma or exposure to toxic substances such as asbestos.

Hiatus hernia

This is a type of hernia whereby abdominal organs such as the stomach slip through the diaphragm resulting in complications such as GERD (PubMEd). There are other symptoms such as chest pain (Roman, S; Kahrilas, PJ., 2014).


This refers to an inflammation of the gallbladder due a mechanical blockage by a gallstone in the cystic duct. It results in pain that is sharp in the upper right hand side of the abdomen. This pain is referred to the right shoulder (National Health Service).

Splenic flexure syndrome

At times considered as a type of irritable bowel syndrome, this is not so as this condition refers to something else. It is used to describe bloating and muscle spasms of the colon and discomfort in the upper abdomen due to entrapped gas at the splenic flexure in the colon.

It is associated with excruciating pain mimicking that of a heart attack due to the proximity of the splenic flexure with the diaphragm which results in referred pain to the diaphragmatic sensory nerves.

Pain under Right Breast when Breathing

Pain that occurs when you breathe in deeply may point out to something that is potentially serious. It may be due to knocking heart attack due to a myocardial infarction or coronary artery disease. Pain due to myocardial infarction is known as angina. It may also be due to a pulmonary embolus, pneumothorax, musculoskeletal pain or pneumonia.

Pain Under Left right Breast chest when breathing
Pain when inhaling

A crushing pressuring pain is what Zocdoc describes as referring to a heart attack and can be radiated to the left arm, left jaw and back. It is further characterized by diaphoresis (excessive sweating), shortness of breath and nausea.

Pleurisy can also be a differential when the pain is sharp when breathing and may be an indication of an infection or a pulmonary embolus which refers to a clot in the lung. Another reason for pleuritic chest pain is a pneumothorax which means that there is a tear in the lung mostly due to trauma. It is accompanied by cough and fever.

If it is musculoskeletal, there may be pain upon breathing. This is due to the use of accessory muscles that might be inflamed. To confirm this, you can swirl your arms or press the region. If it produces muscular pain then it is of musculoskeletal origin.

Such cases need a consultation and further tests to confirm and narrow down to a particular disease. Most probably, an X-ray will be recommended.

Sharp pain under right breast that comes and goes

There are sharp pains that you get once in a while and without you acting upon them, they are alleviated. Such causes include:

Exertional pain: the pain may be only imminent when you are walking or doing your house chores. This may therefore only occur when you are doing something but the underlying cause is certainly there even if you don’t feel the pain. This may occur in Costochondritis and pleurisy. Costochondritis is aggravated by coughing or sneezing. Angina pectoris, caused by myocardial infarction or coronary artery disease is also relieved by resting.

Infection: when you have an infection that results in pleurisy, and you take anti-inflammatory agents, they may mask the infection by relieving the fever and inflammation. But since you have not dealt with the underlying disease, the pain returns.

Peptic ulcer disease: this pain may be aggravated by the presence of food or during meal times. Hence, when the stomach pH is basic, when empty or 50 minutes after a meal, pain is usually absent.

You should visit your primary care doctor to have the infection treated with the correct antibiotics. Imaging diagnosis will be done to rule out other possibilities. If the pain is exertional, an angioscopy may be recommended to identify any occluded coronary artery and infarction. If you have PUD, then it would be important to take antacids or proton pump inhibitors or H1 antagonists (American National Formulary). An antibiotic may be prescribed if the PUD is thought to be due to H. pylori infection.

Dull pain under right breast

Dull and throbbing pains are mostly indicative of a gut issue. However, one gut issue remains a big problem and this is an inflammation of the pancreas. It is said to cause a steady dull ache on the right side under the breast.

Home remedies can be used for such problems especially chamomile and ginger tea but if it persists, especially if you are on certain medications or take alcohol, you should see a doctor.

Pain under right breast pregnancy

This pain is common between 34-36 weeks in gestation. At this point the uterus pushes against the fundus of the uterus and causes pain. It is important to recall that any condition causing pain in the non-obstetric patient may also occur in the obstetric patient.

Sharp pain below breast during pregnancy

In some cases, the growing fetus may lead to displacement of other intra-abdominal organs and lead to a localized pain.

There have been cases where an ectopic pregnancy causes a sharp pain below the breasts and this should remain a concern at all times.

Visit your obs-gyn when you get any pain on your abdomen.

Pain under right breast bone

When the joint junction where the upper ribs join the costal cartilage is inflamed, it results in pain and this is known as Costochondritis or retrosternal pain.

Pain below the xiphoid process or in the epigastric region results from peptic ulcer disease, gastritis, cholecystitis or pancreatitis.

These need further probing. However you can identify PUD and gastritis when the pain is alleviated upon taking antacids.

Pain under right breast no gallbladder

pain under breast no gall bladder

This has been reported by GPs as having occurred in 40% of patients following gallbladder removal. It is meant to go away with months but in some patients it doesn’t. Pain after a laparoscopic cholecystectomy occurs due to bile leakage resulting in tummy pain and swelling. This normally warrants clipping of the tube that links the gallbladder with the cystic duct but can still occasionally leak (National Health Services) and this occurs in 1% of cases.

Infections could also result in pain after removal which is seen as increased pain, redness and pus-formation when scoped.

Visit your doctor when you have such pain exceeding the period you were informed it would have stopped.

Pain under right breast when coughing

What it means, causes and what to do about it

This basically refers to an infection especially with the cough. It may due to pneumonia which is typically unilateral in characteristic. Coughing induces a bit of stress and while it may not be pneumonia, musculoskeletal pain may be a cause.

Treat the infection or muscular pain with antibiotics and analgesics respectively.


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