The groin is the area of the pelvis where the genitals are located. From there it extends to the hip. A swelling in this area has many potential causes. Some are relatively benign, while others can be much more serious. You can find more information below.
What is groin swelling?
Groin swelling is a sign of fluid buildup or inflammation in the groin area. The groin area is basically where your stomach ends and your legs begin. The groin is also called the groin area and includes your upper inner thigh as well as the front area where your legs connect to your torso. Painful or painless swelling in the groin may appear as a hard or soft lump to the touch and may be tender. In men, swelling of the groin can also be a sign of swelling of the scrotum or testicles inside the scrotum.
Groin swelling can be caused by serious infections, inflammation, trauma, cancer , other abnormal processes such as hernia, muscle pulling, or testicular torsion . Depending on the cause, groin swelling can start suddenly and disappear quickly, for example, after a mild allergic reaction. Groin swelling that develops over time and comes with additional symptoms may be a sign of a more serious condition, such as an STD .
You should seek emergency medical attention and talk to your doctor about your symptoms , as painful or painless groin swelling or a lump in your groin can be a sign of a life-threatening condition such as testicular cancer in men . Any swelling in the groin, with or without pain, should always be examined by an experienced doctor.
What causes groin swelling?
Groin swelling can be caused by relatively minor conditions such as a lipoma (fatty growth) or a minor hernia that does not cause other symptoms. Inguinal swelling can also be caused by a wide variety of infectious diseases that cause swelling of the lymph nodes in the groin area. In some cases, swelling in the groin can also be a symptom of a serious or life-threatening condition such as testicular torsion or a malignancy (cancer).
Infectious causes of groin swelling
The cause of groin swelling may be due to various infections, including:
- Cellulitis (skin infection)
- Epididymitis (testicle inflammation or infection)
- leg infection
- sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia , genital herpes , or gonorrhea
For sexually transmitted disease tests, you can read our related article .
Other causes of groin swelling
Painful or painless swelling in the groin may accompany other conditions, including:
- allergic reaction
- Cancer such as testicular cancer or lymphoma
- Cyst (benign, fluid-filled sac)
- drug reaction
- Hydrocele (swelling of the scrotum)
- inguinal hernia
- Injury in the groin area
- Kidney stone
- Lipoma (benign fatty growth)
- lymphatic obstruction
- muscle tension or muscle pull
- Testicular torsion (twisting of the spermatic cord)
What are the possible symptoms accompanying groin swelling?
Groin swelling may be accompanied by other symptoms depending on the underlying disease, disorder, or condition. For example, groin swelling due to infection may be accompanied by redness and warmth around the affected area. Symptoms that may occur along with groin swelling include:
- Conjunctivitis (if infection has spread to the eyes)
- Flu-like symptoms (fatigue, fever, sore throat, headache , cough)
- Loss of appetite
- Pain or itching in the genital area
- painful urination
- rectal discharge
- groin pain
- Swollen lymph nodes in the groin or elsewhere
Serious symptoms that may indicate a life-threatening condition
In some cases, painful or painless groin swelling may occur with other symptoms that may indicate a serious or life-threatening condition that should be evaluated immediately in an emergency setting.
Seek immediate medical attention (call 112) if you or someone you are with is experiencing swelling with other serious symptoms, including:
- Bleeding symptoms such as bloody urine or bloody stools
- Change of consciousness or confusion
- Difficulty breathing, wheezing or shortness of breath
- Genital ulcers or blisters
- High fever
- Increased or decreased urine output
- Stomach ache
- nausea or vomiting
- Redness and warmth in the groin area
- Severe headache
- unusual rectal discharge
- Penile discharge or vaginal discharge (yellow, pus-like)
How is the cause of groin swelling diagnosed?
To diagnose the underlying cause of groin swelling, your doctor will ask you a few questions about your symptoms. You can best assist your doctor in diagnosing the underlying cause of groin swelling by providing complete answers to the following questions:
- When did the swelling start?
- Did the swelling develop slowly or suddenly?
- Is there swelling in other body parts?
- Do you have symptoms such as fever or cough?
- What other symptoms are you experiencing?
The doctor may use one or more of the following tests to help diagnose painful or painless swelling in the groin:
- Ultrasound imaging: This is a medical imaging technique that can reveal whether a bump contains fluid or tissue cells.
- CT scans and MRI scans : These are medical imaging techniques that create detailed images of structures within the body, such as organs and blood vessels.
- Blood and urine analysis: These tests can help identify infections.
- Biopsy: This is a medical procedure that involves taking a tissue sample for laboratory analysis.
- Cell culture: This is a medical procedure that involves taking a sample of pus or drainage for laboratory analysis.
How does groin swelling go away?
Treatment for a lump in the groin depends on the underlying cause. The following list summarizes some possible causes and associated treatment options:
- Cysts: A cyst can resolve without treatment. However, a painful cyst may require drainage using a hollow needle or an incision to allow the fluid to drain out. In some cases, the doctor may recommend surgical removal of the cyst.
- Swollen lymph nodes: If the lymph nodes are swollen due to a bacterial infection, the doctor may recommend a course of antibiotics.
- Inguinal hernia: In some cases, a doctor may successfully massage the site of an inguinal hernia. In other cases, they may recommend surgery to push the hernia into place and repair weaknesses in the abdominal wall.
- Femoral hernia: Surgery is typically required for a femoral hernia that is causing symptoms, is enlarged, or is stuck in the femoral canal. A doctor may recommend open surgery or laparoscopy.
- Femoral aneurysm: A doctor may recommend surgery to treat a femoral aneurysm. During the procedure, a surgeon will repair weakened or ruptured blood vessels. He or she may also place a graft to close the aneurysm and prevent the artery from tearing.
- Varicose veins: A person may seek treatment for varicose veins that cause pain, discomfort, or aesthetic concerns. Treatment may include exercising regularly and wearing compression stockings to increase circulation.
Can groin swelling be prevented?
It is not always possible to prevent bumps from forming in or near the groin. However, some types of swelling are more preventable than others.
For example, people can help prevent cysts and infections by practicing proper personal hygiene. This means washing regularly, especially after physical activity, and keeping the groin area dry.
Avoiding STDs is one way to prevent swollen lymph nodes. STIs can be prevented by using condoms during sexual intercourse and limiting the number of sexual partners.
Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly can help reduce the risk of developing enlarged blood vessels in the groin and elsewhere. Maintaining a healthy weight will also help reduce the risk of developing an inguinal hernia.
Complications of groin swelling
Complications associated with swelling in the groin, with or without pain, can be progressive and vary depending on the underlying cause. Because swelling can be due to serious illness, failure to seek treatment can lead to complications and permanent damage.
It is important to visit your doctor whenever you experience any persistent swelling or other unusual symptoms. Once the underlying cause has been diagnosed, following the treatment plan outlined by your doctor can reduce your risk of possible complications, including:
- fertility issues
- spread of cancer
- Spread of infection
- Surgical repair of hernia
- testicle removal
As a result
There are several possible causes of swelling in or near the groin. Cysts and swollen lymph nodes are common causes. Other possible causes include hernias and enlarged blood vessels.
In case of groin swelling, the person concerned should consult their doctor. He should seek emergency medical attention if the swelling grows larger or shows signs of infection, such as reddened skin, swelling, or tenderness.
Some bumps resolve without medical treatment. However, femoral aneurysms and hernias may sometimes require surgery.