9 causes of groin pain

Groin pain is a common reason for consultation worldwide. The timely medical approach improves the prognosis and favors rapid relief of symptoms.

Last update: 06 April, 2022

Groin pain is a common cause of discomfort in men. Similarly, some women may also have discomfort in this area, associated with pregnancy or as a result of inflammatory conditions. Here are the 9 most common causes of groin pain.

Discomfort in the groin region is result of muscle, tendon, vascular or nerve problems. In addition, certain diseases in internal organs can also manifest themselves with pain at this level.

The most common causes of groin pain

The groin or inguinal region is the area located in the highest part of the thighs, right at the junction with the pubic area and the abdomen. Through it run the ligaments, muscles, nerves and blood vessels that go to the scrotum and the labia majora of the vagina.

Groin pain can come on suddenly, after an injury, or it can come on gradually over weeks or months. Similarly, it manifests as a stitch, burning or persistent discomfort. The characteristics of the pain guide the clinician in the diagnosis.

1. Groin hernia

Inguinal hernias originate when a small portion of intestine protrudes through a weakness in the abdominal wall. It is common for the hernia to follow the course of the inguinal canal and can be palpated through the testicle. In advanced cases, the hernia comes out completely and displaces the scrotum.

This condition is a common cause of groin pain in men. Studies affirm that the pain is unilateral, sharp, burning and extends to the thigh, the lower back and the scrotum.

The discomfort is often made worse by coughing, leaning forward, carrying weight, or playing sports. Other common symptoms are the following:

  • discomfort when walking
  • Protruding lump in the groin.
  • Sensation of occupation and heaviness in the area.

As usual, the main complication is strangulation of the hernia. Some warning signs include fever, color changes in the area, and increased pain intensity. The repair of the hernia defect is performed surgically.

Hernia pain can be persistent for months, until finally the protrusion of the bulge becomes evident.

2. Muscle Strain

Muscle and tendon strain is one of the main causes of groin pain. It is common in people who practice high-impact sports for the lower limbs, such as hockeyfootball and basketball. This discomfort is usually acute and worsen with movement.

In most cases, the strain presents with swelling and redness of the groin. In addition, before a direct blow it is possible to show a bruise in the area. Fortunately, these types of injuries have a high recovery rate.

Medical treatment is based on rest and the application of cold compresses to the region. Similarly, the professional may prescribe pain relievers and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce discomfort. In serious injuries, physiotherapy sessions may be necessary.

3. Orchitis and epididymitis

Orchitis is an inflammatory process of one or both testicles. Usually result of a bacterial infection or appears after a picture of mumps. Sometimes, it is associated with inflammation of the epididymis or epididymitis, this being the region of the testicle where sperm are stored.

Both pathologies are accompanied by pain and swelling in the groin and testicle. They present with fever, chills, malaise, nausea and vomiting. In addition, the enlargement of the lymph nodes in the region can also be evidenced.

4. Infectious processes

Bacterial infections at the level of the genitals are usually accompanied by pain in the groin due to swollen lymph nodes. Such is the case with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as syphilis and lymphogranuloma venereum.

Studies affirm that lymphogranuloma caused by chlamydia usually causes painful inguinal lymphadenopathy in the second stage of the disease. These infections require antibiotic treatment and ongoing monitoring. by a health professional.

5. Pregnancy

Pain in the groin is common during pregnancy. the same It is usually more intense at the beginning and in the last trimester. of gestation. It is due to the relaxation of the hip joints and the hormonal changes in the pregnant woman’s body that prepare her for childbirth.

In most cases, groin discomfort worsens with physical exertion, climbing stairs, lying on your back, and spreading your legs wide. Professionals recommend stretching exercises and the use of special underwear to reduce tension in the area.



6. Ovarian cyst

Ovarian cysts are small, fluid-filled nodules that form inside or on the surface of the ovary. Small ones usually go unnoticed and do not generate symptoms. However, larger lesions are accompanied by the following manifestations:

  • Dull pain in the lower abdomen.
  • Discomfort in the groin and pelvic floor.
  • Feeling of abdominal heaviness.
  • Fever and vomiting in severe cases.
  • Swelling of the abdomen.

Diagnosis is based on clinical and imaging studies. Treatment depends on the size of the cyst and its evolution, so in some cases watchful waiting is maintained. Similarly, the doctor may indicate oral contraceptives and surgery in case of large cysts or those suggestive of cancer.

7. Sciatic nerve injury

Pain caused by injury to the sciatic nerve is called sciatica. The most common causes include herniated discs and spinal compression.

These cause discomfort along the path of the sciatic nerve, which crosses the back and goes to the legs, passing through the pelvis, groin and buttocks.

The pain can range from a burning or stabbing sensation to an electric shock. It usually affects only one side of the body and is intensified by prolonged sitting, coughing, or sneezing.

8. Kidney stones

The pain associated with kidney stones is known as renal colic. It occurs when stones or calculi travel down the ureter into the bladder and urethra. There are severe pain, dark and cloudy urine, increased urinary frequency and discomfort with urination.

Research suggests that typical renal colic pain occurs in the lower back and spreads in a wave to the lower abdomen, groin, thigh, and genitalia. Treatment is based on analgesics, antispasmodics, stone destruction by lithotripsy, and surgical removal.

Small stones can be expelled with the urine, but when they exceed a certain diameter, all that remains is to remove them with shock waves or surgical extraction.


9. Testicular torsion

Testicular torsion is a painful condition caused by rotation of the testicle on its own axis with obstruction of blood flow to the scrotum. This condition is common in young men and presents with severe pain in the testicle and groin.

Other symptoms are as follows:

  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Scrotal swelling.
  • Discomfort in the lower abdomen.
  • Color change in the skin of the testis.
  • Increased frequency of urination.

It is usual that the pain suddenly wakes the person up at night or in the morning. Diagnosis is based on symptoms and assessment by imaging studies.

On the other hand, a surgical approach is necessary to correct the torsion. After 6 hours of onset of symptoms, the possibility of having to remove the testicle increases.

A symptom not to be taken lightly

Groin pain can be caused by a wide variety of conditions. The most common causes in men include muscle strain, hernias, orchitis, and testicular torsion. On the other hand, in women this symptom can appear during pregnancy or due to the presence of ovarian cysts and sexually transmitted diseases.

It is essential to go to consultation if inguinal discomfort occurs that do not go away after a couple of days or that increase in intensity. In addition, the presence of fever, vomiting, color changes, sweating and loss of consciousness are indicative of greater severity.

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