A groin lump refers to any lump that appears in the groin
area where the legs and trunk connect.
The lump can vary in shape and size, and it may or may not
be painful. You may have a single lump or a collection of lumps in the groin. Some
lumps may be mobile. A groin lump may remain skin-colored, or it may turn red
or purple. Some groin lumps may ulcerate, or break open, and form sores.
The shape and appearance of a groin lump depend on the cause.
See your doctor as soon as possible if you have a groin lump.
are the causes of a groin lump?
Many groin lumps are cysts. Cysts
are benign, or noncancerous lumps. They may enlarge to cause pain or
Some groin lumps can be indicators of a more serious
If you have an infection or illness, such as a cold, flu, or
mononucleosis, your groin lump could be a swollen lymph gland. Typically, these
will flare up at the same time as the lymph glands located in your throat or armpits
flare up. Your lymph nodes swell to mobilize an immune response against bacteria
and foreign particles. The swelling should go away once the illness does.
Genitourinary infections may also cause lymph node inflammation in the groin
A hernia typically feels like a large, soft lump. It occurs
when the intestines or abdominal tissue push through an opening meant to
provide a boundary. For example, the intestines may break through a weakened
area in the lower abdominal wall. A defect, or weakness, in the abdominal wall
coupled with muscle strain usually causes this. Hernias require urgent medical
Some sexually transmitted infections (STI) can cause groin
lumps due to swollen lymph nodes. These include:
Some STIs may cause a cluster of lumps that may break open
or form sores. STIs require medical treatment to heal.
If you have a groin lump that disappears when you lie down,
it could be a saphena varix. This occurs when
the valve of the saphenous vein fails to open correctly to let blood flow
through, causing the blood to collect inside the vein. Saphena varix causes
golf-ball sized lumps that have a blue tinge. You’re more likely to develop this
condition if you have varicose veins, which are enlarged veins that usually
occur in the legs or feet. Saphena varix is an extremely rare condition.
is a groin lump treated?
You should seek medical attention as soon as possible after
noticing a groin lump and return to your doctor if the lump remains after three
weeks of treatment or if your condition worsens.
Because there are so many possible causes of a groin lump,
your doctor will need to ask you a series of questions. This will include
questions about your current health and if you’ve been experiencing any other
symptoms. You may have a blood test to check for signs of infection. Your
doctor will feel your lymph nodes for inflammation.
Your doctor will ask you questions about the lump, such as:
- When did the lump first appear?
- How big is the lump?
- Has the lump grown?
- Did the lump develop suddenly or over a few
- Does the lump change in size or shape when you
They may also ask you whether you could have contracted an
STI. Most STIs are diagnosed using a blood test, a urine test, or a swab of the
The treatment you receive will depend on the cause of the
- Your doctor may recommend surgery to remove a
cyst if it’s large or painful.
- A hernia may require surgery to move the tissue
back into place and close the hole in the boundary tissue.
- Swollen glands will typically go down in time, but
your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic to treat an underlying infection.
is the outcome if a groin lump is left untreated?
Your doctor should always promptly examine a groin lump.
While cysts and swollen glands aren’t likely to cause any
long-term complications, a hernia can be fatal if you don’t get treatment for
it quickly. An incarcerated hernia occurs when
part of the intestine becomes trapped in the abdominal wall, causing a bowel
obstruction. This can lead to vomiting, severe pain, and nausea. A strangulated
hernia is a medical emergency. It occurs when part of the intestine
is trapped, cutting off blood flow. This condition can quickly lead to the death
of intestinal tissue and requires emergency surgery.
STIs that cause groin lumps, such as gonorrhea and
chlamydia, can lead to infertility if left untreated. Infections such as
syphilis can cause blindness, paralysis, and dementia. All STIs require
medication to treat and can easily spread to others through unprotected vaginal
or oral sex.
can a groin lump be prevented?
Most groin lumps occur naturally and aren’t preventable. However,
you can help prevent an STI by always using a condom.
If you’re at risk of developing a hernia, you may be able to
reduce the chances of it occurring by avoiding heavy lifting, not straining
during bowel movements, and maintaining a healthy weight. You may be more at
risk of a hernia if you:
- have a family history of hernias
- are overweight
- are pregnant
- have a chronic cough