Health Library

Groin pain

Definition

Groin pain refers to discomfort in the area where the abdomen ends and the legs begin. This article focuses on groin pain in men.

Alternative Names

Pain - groin; Lower abdominal pain; Genital pain; Perineal pain

Considerations

In males, the terms "groin" and "testicle" are sometimes used interchangeably. But what causes pain in one won't necessarily cause pain in the other.

Causes

Common causes of groin pain in men include:

Home Care

Home care depends on the cause. Follow your health care provider's recommendations.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if:

  • You have persistent and unexplained groin pain, especially if it is a burning pain
  • You have pain with swelling of the scrotum
  • Pain affects only one testicle for more than 3 hours
  • Physical changes have occurred in the area, such as a testicular growth or change in skin color
  • There is blood in your urine

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

The health care provider will perform a physical exam and ask questions about your medical history and symptoms, such as:

  • Have you had an injury recently?
  • Has there been a change in your activity, especially a recent strain, heavy lifting, or similar activity?
  • When did the groin pain start?
  • Is it increasing?
  • Is it always present?
  • What other symptoms do you have? For example, a groin lump, fever, swollen glands, or blood in the urine.
  • Have you been exposed to any sexually transmitted diseases?

The physical examination will include examination of the groin area. A hidden hernia can be found by inserting one finger into the upper part of the scrotum while you cough. Coughing raises the pressure in the abdomen and pushes your intestine into any hernia opening.

Tests that may be performed include:

References

Gerber GS, Brendler CB. Evaluation of the urologic patient: History, physical examination, and the urinalysis. In: Wein AJ, ed. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 3.


Review Date: 9/16/2011
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Scott Miller, MD, Urologist in private practice in Atlanta, Georgia. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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