The groin area is located at the same place in men and women—at the junction where the upper body or abdomen meets the thigh. It is an area of the hip and is comprised of five muscles that work together to move your leg.
What is groin pain a symptom of?
Groin pain is most commonly encountered in people involved in sports activities. It is a result of pull to the muscles, ligaments or tendons. The pain may follow immediately after the injury or develop after a certain number of days or weeks.
Groin pain can also be a symptom of
- Avulsion fracture (a bone injury at the attachment of the tendon or ligament with the bone)
- Bone fracture
- Bursitis (joint inflammation)
- Muscle strain
- Osteoarthritis (disease-causing the degeneration or breakdown of joints)
- Avascular necrosis (death of the bone tissue due to limited blood flow)
- Pinched nerve
- Epididymitis (testicle inflammation)
- Hydrocele (fluid buildup in the scrotum causes the scrotum to swell)
- Inguinal hernia
- Kidney stones
- Orchitis (inflamed testicles)
- Spermatocele (fluid buildup in the testicles)
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Testicular cancer
- Testicular torsion (twisted testicles)
- Urinary tract infection (UTI)
- Varicocele (enlarged veins in the scrotum)
How does the doctor diagnose the cause of groin pain?
Doctors perform a physical examination of the groin area and check to see if there is any hernia. In men, the doctor will check if there are any problems with the testes. In women, the doctor will evaluate if there is an ovarian twist. They will order tests such as an X-ray and ultrasound to check for conditions such as a hip fracture, testicular torsion and an ovarian cyst. The doctor may order blood tests if they suspect an infection.
What is the treatment for groin pain?
The treatment for groin pain depends on what’s causing the pain. Mild groin pain can be treated at home with simple measures such as applying ice packs for 15 to 20 minutes three to four times a day. Over-the-counter analgesics such as acetaminophen can help relieve the discomfort and pain. Temporarily discontinue athletic activities. You need rest to heal any strains or sprains to your groin.
If the pain persists even after following home care for three days, the doctor may order certain tests to identify the cause. They will prescribe you anti-inflammatory medications in a pill form or as injectable. If the groin pain is severe, there may be serious conditions such as a hip fracture for which surgery is required. Testicular torsion is an emergency condition for which emergency surgery is needed. An inguinal hernia will also need to be operated on.
If a sprain is the cause of the groin pain, the doctor will refer you to a physical therapist. The physical therapist guides and assists you in performing exercises that help improve mobility of the groin area and help relieve groin pain.
When to seek immediate medical help for groin pain
Not every type of groin pain can be treated at home initially. Some types need urgent medical attention. Seek medical attention if you experience groin pain that is
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Washington University Physicians