Common causes of groin pain include injury and hernia. Less common causes include issues with the testicles. The pain can often be treated at home, but seek immediate medical attention if you also have symptoms like swelling and fever.
The groin is an area of your hip between your abdomen and thigh, located where your abdomen ends and your legs begin.
The groin or medial compartment of the thigh, is made up of the adductor muscle group:
Groin pain is any discomfort in this area. The pain typically results from an injury caused by physical activity, such as playing a sport. A pulled or strained muscle in the groin is one of the most common injuries among athletes.
Groin pain is a common symptom and can happen to anyone. Some potential causes of groin pain are more common than others.
Most common causes
Common causes include:
- inguinal hernia
- kidney stones
- bone fracture
If you play a contact sport like rugby or hockey, you’ve likely had groin pain at some point.
Injury is also common in sports that require movements like twisting and kicking. Examples include tennis and soccer.
An inguinal herniaoccurs when intestinal tissues push through a weak spot in the abdominal wall near the groin region. This can cause pain and a bulging lump in your groin.
Kidney stones are small, hard mineral deposits in the kidneys and bladder.
A bone fracture is another term for a broken bone.
Less common causes
Less common disorders and conditions that can cause groin pain or discomfort include:
Talk with a doctor about your symptoms if you have moderate to severe pain in your groin or testicles for more than a few days.
Contact a doctor immediately if you:
- notice physical changes in the testicles, such as lumps or swelling
- notice blood in your urine
- experience pain that spreads to your lower back, chest, or abdomen
- develop a fever or feel nauseous
If you experience any of these symptoms along with your groin pain, seek emergency medical care. They could indicate a more serious condition, such as a testicular infection, testicular torsion (twisted testicle), or testicular cancer.
Also, seek emergency medical care if you have severe testicular pain that occurs suddenly.
Most cases of groin pain don’t require medical attention. However, contact a doctor if you experience severe, prolonged pain accompanied by swelling or fever.
The doctor will evaluate your symptoms and ask about any recent physical activity. This information will help them diagnose the problem. Then they’ll perform a physical examination of the groin area along with other tests, if necessary.
Complete blood count (CBC)
This type of blood test can help determine whether an infection is present.
The doctor will insert one finger into the groin area and ask you to cough. Coughing raises the pressure in the abdomen and pushes your intestines into the opening of a hernia, making a hernia easier to detect.
The treatment for your groin pain will depend on the underlying cause.
You can often treat minor strains at home. More severe pain may require medical treatment.
If your groin pain is the result of a strain, at-home treatment is probably your best option. Resting and taking a break from physical activity for 4 to 8 weeks will allow your strain to heal naturally. Your doctor will let you know when you’re able to resume your normal activities.
You may take pain medications, including acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), to manage your pain and discomfort.
If home care methods don’t work for your strain, a doctor might prescribe medications that reduce inflammation to help relieve your symptoms. If those medications don’t work and you have recurring strains, a doctor might advise you to go to physical therapy.
There are a few steps you can take to avoid groin pain or the conditions that cause it.
For athletes, gentle stretching is one way to help prevent injury. Doing a slow, steady warm-up before physical activity can help reduce your risk of a groin injury, especially if you warm up consistently.
Drinking more water and staying properly hydrated may help prevent kidney stones. Taking steps to build healthy bones, such as getting enough calcium and vitamin D, may make you less vulnerable to some bone fractures.