What causes groin swelling?

Groin swelling can be caused by relatively minor conditions, such as a lipoma (a fatty growth) or small hernia that is not causing any other symptoms. Groin swelling can also be caused by a wide variety of infectious diseases that lead to swelling of the lymph nodes in the groin area. In some cases, groin swelling is a symptom of a serious or life-threatening condition, such as testicular torsion or malignancy (cancer).

Infection-related causes of groin swelling

Groin swelling 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 or gonorrhea

Other causes of groin swelling

Swelling in the groin area can accompany other conditions including:

  • Allergic reaction

  • Cancer such as testicular cancer or lymphoma

  • Cyst (benign, fluid-filled pocket of tissue)

  • Drug reaction

  • Hydrocele (swelling of the scrotum)

  • Inguinal hernia

  • Injury to the groin area

  • Kidney stones

  • Lipoma (benign fatty growth)

  • Lymphatic obstruction

  • Pulled muscle or other strain

  • Testicular torsion (twisting of the spermatic cord)

Questions for diagnosing the cause of groin swelling

To diagnose the underlying cause of groin swelling, 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 swelling by providing complete answers to these questions:

  • When did the swelling start?

  • Did the swelling develop slowly or suddenly?

  • Are any other body areas swollen?

  • Does the swelling or lump get larger when you cough or strain?

  • What other symptoms are you experiencing?

What are the potential complications of groin swelling?

Complications associated with groin swelling can be progressive and vary depending on the underlying cause. Because swelling can be due to serious diseases, failure to seek treatment can result in complications and permanent damage. It is important to visit your health care provider when you experience any kind of persistent swelling 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 including:

  • Fertility problems

  • Spread of cancer

  • Spread of infection

  • Surgical repair of hernia

  • Testicle removal


  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.

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 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.

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What other symptoms might occur with groin swelling?

Groin swelling may be accompanied by other symptoms depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. For example, groin swelling due to an infection may be accompanied by fever, redness, and warmth around the affected area. Symptoms that may occur along with groin swelling include:

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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.