Breast pain is fairly common. With nearly 70% of women tolerating breast pain sometime in their life, it is generally not an immediate cause for concern. Due to shifts in hormones, pain in right breast is typically associated with the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause. Learn more below.
What Do I Need to Know about Breasts?
Breasts consist of a collection of fat cells, otherwise known as adipose tissue. Although muscles lie under each breast, they don't sit within the breast itself. Glands and ducts lead to the nipple and the surrounding colored area - the areola. Under the areola, ducts that fill with milk during lactation are found. When young women reach puberty, hormonal changes cause the ducts to grow and fat deposits in the breast tissue to increase in size.
Breast pain falls into two categories: cyclical and non-cyclical.
Cyclical breast pain
Cyclical breast pain can be identified as pain felt in the left or right breast before or during each menstrual cycle. Cyclical breast pain is associated with the rise and fall of hormones that occur near a woman's monthly cycle.
Non-cyclical breast pain
Breast pain that is not related to the menstrual cycle is known as non-cyclical. This category of pain is commonly experienced by women going through menopause or postmenopausal women who no longer have periods.
Why Do I Have Right Side Breast Pain?
While it is unknown why one breast may hurt more than the other, pain in either breast can most commonly be attributed to an imbalance in estrogen levels, causing the breasts to increase in size, resulting in possible pain above or under the right breast.
If your hormone levels are fluctuating, as they often can during the menstrual cycle as well, you may find that pain under your right breast is worse than under the left, or vice versa.
Nevertheless, there are many other causes of breast pain in one or both breasts. These include:
Breast trauma. Breast injury, surgery, etc. may be a more likely cause of breast pain that is localized to one breast instead of both.
Oral contraceptive pills. Mild breast pain or enlargement may occur after starting birth control pills, though usually it gets better after a few weeks.
Mastitis. This infection, common during breastfeeding, can cause pain, swelling, redness, and an increase in body temperature.
When to See a Doctor
Routine self-check-ups and mammograms should be an integral part of every woman's life. It is important to consult a physician if you have sharp pain in the right, or either breast, that persists, or if sharp pain is centralized to your nipple area and causes the breasts to become red and swollen.
How to Deal with Pain in Right Breast
Although breast pain happens to over half of women over the course of their lives, it doesn't have to be tolerated. Slight alterations to your daily routine could make a big impact on relieving breast pain. Likewise, there are effective self-care measures as well as natural and medical treatments that can relieve the symptom. Click on the following link for more specific information on breast pain treatments.
- Mayo Clinic. (2019). Breast pain: Symptoms & causes. Retrieved March 14, 2019, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/breast-pain/symptoms-causes/syc-20350423
- Mehmet, A. et al. (2016). Retrospective Analysis of Women with Only Mastalgia. The Journal of Breast Health, 12(4), 151-154. doi: 10.5152/tjbh.2016.2944
- National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. (2016). Breast Anatomy. Retrieved March 14, 2019, from https://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-anatomy