The groin is an area of your hip between your
stomach and thigh. It is located where your abdomen ends and your legs begin.
The groin area has five muscles that work together to move your leg. These are
- adductor longus
Groin pain is any discomfort
in this area. The pain typically results from an injury caused by physical
activity, such as sports. A pulled or strained muscle in the groin area is one
of the most common injuries among athletes.
What’s Causing My Groin Pain?
Groin pain is a
common symptom and can happen to anyone. There are some potential causes of
groin pain that are more common than others.
Most Common Causes
The most common
cause of groin pain is a strain of the muscles, ligaments, or tendons in the
groin area. This type of injury occurs most often in athletes. If you play a
contact sport, such as football, rugby, or hockey, it’s likely that you’ve had
groin pain at some point.
cause of groin pain is an inguinal hernia. An inguinal hernia occurs
when internal tissues push through a weak spot in the groin muscles. This can
create a bulging lump in your groin area and cause pain. Kidney stones (small, hard mineral deposits in the
kidneys and bladder) or bone fractures can cause groin pain as well.
Less Common Causes
The less common
disorders and conditions that could cause pain or discomfort in the groin are:
tract infections (UTIs)
Knowing When to Contact Your
Talk to your doctor
about your symptoms if you have moderate to severe pain in your groin or
testicles for more than a few days.
Contact your doctor
- you notice
physical changes in the testicles, such as lumps or swelling
- there is
blood in your urine
- the pain
spreads to your lower back, chest, or abdomen
develop a fever or feel nauseous
If you have any of
these symptoms with your groin pain, seek emergency medical care. These
symptoms could be signs of a more serious condition, such as a testicular
infection, testicular torsion (twisted testicle), or cancer of the testicles. You
should also seek emergency medical care if you have severe testicular pain that
Diagnosing Groin Pain
Most cases of groin
pain do not require medical attention. However, you should see a doctor if you
experience severe, prolonged pain accompanied by fever or swelling. These
symptoms may indicate a more serious condition.
Your doctor will
evaluate your symptoms and ask about any recent physical activity. This
information will help your doctor diagnose the problem. Your doctor will then
perform a physical examination of the groin area along with other tests, if necessary.
Your doctor will
insert one finger into the scrotum (the sac
that contains the testicles) and ask you to cough. Coughing raises the pressure
in the abdomen and pushes your intestines into the hernia opening.
X-Ray and Ultrasound
These tests can
help your doctor see if a bone fracture, testicular mass, or ovarian cyst is
causing the groin pain.
Complete Blood Count (CBC)
This type of blood
test can help determine if an infection is present.
Treatment for Groin Pain
The treatment for
your groin pain will depend on the underlying cause. You can often treat minor
strains at home, but more severe groin pain may require medical treatment.
If your groin pain
is the result of a strain, treatment at home is probably your best option. Resting
and taking a break from physical activity for two to three weeks will allow
your strain to heal naturally. Pain medications, including acetaminophen (Tylenol),
may be taken to manage your pain and discomfort. Applying ice packs for 20
minutes a few times per day can help as well.
If a broken bone or
fracture is the cause of your groin pain, surgery may be required to repair the
bone. You may also need surgery if an inguinal hernia is the underlying cause
of your symptoms
If home care methods
do not work for your strain injury, your doctor might prescribe drugs that
reduce inflammation to help relieve your symptoms. If this does not work and
you have recurring strain injuries, your doctor might advise you to go to physical
Preventing Groin Pain
There are a few
steps that you can take to avoid groin pain. For athletes, gentle stretching is
a 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 do it consistently.
Maintaining a healthy weight and being careful when lifting heavy objects can
help prevent hernias.