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Groin pain

Definition

Groin pain refers to discomfort in the area where the abdomen ends and the legs begin. This article focuses on groin pain in men. The terms "groin" and "testicle" are sometimes used interchangeably. But what causes pain in one area does not always cause pain in the other.

Alternative Names

Pain - groin; Lower abdominal pain; Genital pain; Perineal pain

Causes

Common causes of groin pain include:

  • Pulled muscle, tendon, or ligaments in the leg: This problem often occurs in people who play sports such as hockey, soccer, and football. This condition is sometimes called "sports hernia" although the name is misleading since it is not an actual hernia. It may also involve pain in the testicles.
  • Hernia: This problem occurs when there is a weak spot in the wall of the abdominal muscle that allows internal organs to press through.
  • Disease or injury to the hip joint.

Less common causes include:

  • Inflammation of the testicle or epididymitis and related structures
  • Twisting of the spermatic cord that attaches to the testicle (testicular torsion)
  • Tumor of the testicle
  • Kidney stone
  • Inflammation of the small or large intestine
  • Skin infection
  • Enlarged lymph glands
  • Urinary tract infection

Home Care

Home care depends on the cause. Follow your health care provider's recommendations.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your provider if:

  • You have ongoing groin pain for no reason.
  • You have burning pain.
  • You have pain with swelling of the scrotum.
  • Pain affects only one testicle for more than 1 hour, especially if it came on suddenly.
  • You have noticed changes such as a testicular growth or change in skin color.
  • There is blood in your urine.

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

The provider will do an exam of the groin area and ask questions about your medical history and symptoms, such as:

  • Have you had a recent injury?
  • Has there been a change in your activity, especially a recent strain, heavy lifting, or similar activity?
  • When did the groin pain start? Is it getting worse? Does it come and go?
  • What other symptoms do you have?
  • Have you been exposed to any sexually transmitted diseases?

Tests that may be performed include:

References

Buttaravoli P, Leffler SM. Muscle strains and tears. Buttaravoli P, Leffler SM, eds. Minor Emergencies. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 122.

Gerber GS, Brendler CB. Evaluation of the urologic patient: History, physical examination, and the urinalysis. In: Wein AJ, Kavoussi LR, Novick AC, Partin AW, eds. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 3.

Larson CM, Birmingham PM, Oliver SM. Athletic pubalgia. In: Miller MD, Thompson SR, eds. DeLee and Drez's Orthopaedic Sports Medicine. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 83.



Review Date: 8/31/2015
Reviewed By: Jennifer Sobol, DO, urologist at the Michigan Institute of Urology, West Bloomfield, MI. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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