Health Library

Groin lump

Definition

A groin lump is localized swelling in the groin area (where the upper leg meets the lower abdomen). It may be firm or soft, tender or not painful at all.

Alternative Names

Lump in the groin; Inguinal lymphadenopathy; Localized lymphadenopathy-groin; Bubo; Lymphadenopathy - groin

Considerations

All groin lumps should be examined by your health care provider.

Causes

  • Allergic reaction
  • Cancer
  • Drug reaction
  • Harmless (benign) cyst
  • Hernia (usually a soft, large bulge in the groin on one or both sides)
  • Infections in the legs
  • Injury trauma to the groin area
  • Lipomas (harmless fatty growths)
  • Sexually transmitted diseases such as genital herpes, chlamydia, and gonorrhea
  • Swollen lymph glands in the groin area

Home Care

Follow the therapy prescribed by your health care provider.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Make an appointment to see your health care provider if you have an unexplained groin lump, especially if it persists for more than 3 weeks.

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

The health care provider will examine you and may feel the lymph nodes in your groin area. A genital or pelvic examination may be done.

You will be asked questions about your medical history and symptoms, such as:

  • When did the lump develop?
  • Is it on one side or both?
  • How big is it?
  • Did it occur suddenly or develop slowly?
  • Is it always present or does it come and go?
  • Does it get larger when coughing or straining?
  • Has there been any unusual physical activity recently?
  • What symptoms do you have?

The health care provider may also ask you detailed questions about your sexual activities.

Tests that may be done include:

References

Armitage JO. Approach to the patient with lymphadenopathy and splenomegaly. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 171.

Tower RL II, Camitta BM. Lymphadenopathy. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 484.


Review Date: 8/12/2011
Reviewed By: Linda Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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