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Groin lump

Definition

A groin lump is swelling in the groin area. This is where the upper leg meets the lower abdomen.

Alternative Names

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

Considerations

A groin lump may be firm or soft, tender, or not painful at all. Your health care provider should examine any groin lumps.

Causes

The most common cause of a groin lump is swollen lymph nodes. These may be caused by:

  • Cancer, most often lymphoma (cancer of the lymph system)
  • Infection in the legs
  • Bodywide infections often caused by viruses
  • Infections spread through sexual contact such as genital herpes, chlamydia, or gonorrhea

Other causes include any of the following:

  • Allergic reaction
  • Drug reaction
  • Harmless (benign) cyst
  • Hernia (a soft, large bulge in the groin on one or both sides)
  • Injury to the groin area
  • Lipomas (harmless fatty growths)

Home Care

Follow the treatment your provider prescribed.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Make an appointment to see your provider if you have an unexplained groin lump.

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

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

You will be asked about your medical history and symptoms, such as when you first noticed the lump, whether it came on suddenly or slowly, or whether it gets larger when you cough or strain. You may also be asked about your sexual activities.

Tests that may be done include:

References

Armitage JO, Bierman PJ. Approach to the patient with lymphadenopathy and splenomegaly. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 168.

Malangoni MA, Rosen MJ. Hernias. In: Townsend CM, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery: The Biological Basis of Modern Surgical Practice. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 44.

Raftery AT, Lim E, Ostor AJK. Groin swellings. In: Raftery AT, Lim E, Ostor AJK, eds. Churchill's Pocketbook of Differential Diagnosis. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2014:181-187.

Review Date:7/13/2016
Reviewed By:Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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