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Groin pain (male)


Definition

Groin pain is pain that occurs where the inner, upper thigh and lower stomach area meet.

Causes

The most common cause of groin pain is a muscle, tendon or ligament strain. The risk of these injuries is higher in athletes who play sports such as hockey, soccer and football. Groin pain might happen right after an injury. Or the pain might come on slowly over weeks or even months. It might become worse if you keep using the injured area.

Less often, a bone injury or fracture, a hernia, or even kidney stones might cause groin pain. Testicle pain and groin pain are different. But sometimes, a testicle condition can cause pain that spreads to the groin area.

Groin pain has various direct and indirect causes. These include the following.

Conditions that involve muscles or tendons:

  • Muscle strains (An injury to a muscle or to tissue that connects muscles to bones, called a tendon.)
  • Piriformis syndrome (A condition that involves the piriformis muscle, which goes from the lower spine to the top of the thighs.)
  • Sprains (Stretching or tearing of a tissue band called a ligament, which connects two bones together in a joint.)
  • Tendinitis (A condition that happens when swelling called inflammation affects a tendon.)

Conditions that involve bones or joints:

  • Avascular necrosis (osteonecrosis) (The death of bone tissue due to limited blood flow.)
  • Avulsion fracture (A condition in which a small piece of bone attached to a ligament or tendon gets pulled from the rest of the bone.)
  • Bursitis (A condition in which small sacs that cushion the bones, tendons and muscles near joints become inflamed.)
  • Osteoarthritis (the most common type of arthritis)
  • Stress fractures (Tiny cracks in a bone.)

Conditions that involve the bag of skin that holds the testicles, called the scrotum:

  • Hydrocele (Fluid buildup that causes swelling of the skin pouch that holds the testicles, called the scrotum.)
  • Scrotal masses (Lumps in the scrotum that can be due to cancer or other conditions that are not cancer.)
  • Varicocele (Enlarged veins in the scrotum.)

Conditions that involve the testicles:

  • Epididymitis (When the coiled tube at the back of the testicle becomes inflamed.)
  • Orchitis (A condition in which one or both testicles become inflamed.)
  • Spermatocele (A fluid-filled sac that can form near the top of a testicle.)
  • Testicular cancer (Cancer that starts in the testicles.)
  • Testicular torsion (A twisted testicle that loses its blood supply.)

Other conditions:

  • Inguinal hernia (Tissue that bulges through a weak spot in the muscles of the abdomen.)
  • Kidney stones (Hard buildups of minerals and salt that form inside the kidneys.)
  • Mumps (An illness caused by a virus.)
  • Pinched nerve (A condition in which too much pressure is placed on a nerve by nearby tissues.)
  • Prostatitis (A prostate condition that often is linked with inflammation.)
  • Sciatica (Pain that travels along the path of a nerve that runs from the lower back down to each leg.)
  • Swollen lymph nodes (Swelling of small organs that help fight off infections.)
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI) (An infection in any part of the urinary system.)

When to see a doctor

Seek immediate medical attention if you have:

  • Groin pain along with back, stomach or chest pain.
  • Sudden, serious testicle pain.
  • Testicle pain and swelling along with nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, unexplained weight loss, or blood in the urine.

Schedule a doctor's visit if you have:

  • Serious groin pain.
  • Groin pain that doesn't get better with home treatment within a few days.
  • Mild testicle pain lasting longer than a few days.
  • A lump or swelling in or around a testicle.
  • Occasional pain along the lower side of the abdomen that may spread along the groin and into the testicle.
  • Blood in urine.

Self-care

If a strain or sprain causes groin pain, these self-care measures might help:

  • Take a store-bought pain reliever such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) or acetaminophen (Tylenol, others).
  • Place an ice pack or bag of frozen peas wrapped in a thin towel on the sore area for 10 minutes 3 to 4 times a day.
  • Take a break from any athletic activities that you do. Rest is key to heal any strains or sprains to your groin.

Content Last Updated: 09-Jan-2024
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