What causes groin pain?

Groin pain can be caused by a wide variety of diseases, disorders and conditions including infectious diseases, trauma, malignancy (cancer), and other abnormal processes. Groin pain can also be due to a problem in another area, such as the hip. This is called referred groin pain. In some cases, groin pain is a symptom of a serious or life-threatening condition.

Injury-related causes of groin pain

Groin pain may arise from various injuries including:

  • Arthritis or fracture of the hip

  • Bursitis (inflammation of the bursa sac the cushions the hip joint, in which the pain radiates to the groin)

  • Hip injury or trauma to the pelvis

  • Injury to the groin area including the testicles

  • Pulled muscle or ligament sprain

Infection-related causes of groin pain

Groin pain can be due to various infections including:

  • Abscess

  • Cellulitis (skin infection)

  • Epididymitis (testicle inflammation or infection)

  • Leg infection

  • Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), such as chlamydia, genital herpes, and gonorrhea

Other causes of groin pain

A very common cause of groin pain is a groin pull, a strain of the inner thigh muscles that attach the thigh to the pelvis. Groin pulls are common sports injuries, especially in sports, such as hockey, running, track and field, football, soccer, and football.

Groin pain can be due to noninfectious conditions including:

  • Allergic reaction

  • Arthritis of the hip

  • Cancer, such as testicular cancer or lymphoma

  • Drug reaction

  • Kidney stones

  • Lower back injury or pinched nerve

  • Osteitis pubis (inflammation of the pubic bone of the pelvis)

  • Surgery

  • Testicular torsion (twisting of the spermatic cord)

Questions for diagnosing the cause of groin pain

To diagnose the underlying cause of groin pain, your doctor or licensed health care practitioner will ask you several questions related to your symptoms. You can best help your health care practitioner in diagnosing the underlying cause of groin pain by providing complete answers to these questions:

  • When did the pain start?

  • Did the pain develop suddenly or slowly?

  • Is there any swelling?

  • Does the pain get worse when you cough or strain?

  • What other symptoms are you having?

Provide your full medical history, including all medical conditions, surgeries and treatments, family history, and a complete list of the medications and dietary supplements that you take.

What are the potential complications of groin pain?

Complications associated with groin pain can be progressive and vary depending on the underlying cause. Because groin pain can be due to a serious disease, failure to seek treatment can result in complications and permanent damage. It is important to visit your health care provider when you experience groin pain or other unusual symptoms. Once the underlying cause is diagnosed, following the treatment plan outlined by your doctor can lower your risk of potential complications of groin pain or its underlying cause including:

  • Decreased athletic performance

  • Disability

  • Fertility problems

  • Spread of cancer

  • Spread of infection

  • Testicle removal

References:

  1. Groin lump. Medline Plus, a service of the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003100.htm.
  2. Hip pain. Medline Plus, a service of the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003179.htm.
INTRODUCTION

What is groin pain?

Groin pain is any discomfort in the groin area. The groin area is where your abdomen ends and your legs begin. The groin is also called the inguinal area and includes your upper inner thigh as well as the front area where your legs attach to your torso.... Read more about groin painintroduction

SYMPTOMS

What other symptoms might occur with groin pain?

Groin pain may be accompanied by other symptoms depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. For example, groin pain due to an infection may be associated with a fever, redness and warmth around the affected area.

Symptoms that may occur along with groin pain

Symptoms that m... Read more about groin painsymptoms

Medical Reviewer: Cynthia Haines, MD Last Annual Review Date: Aug 2, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.