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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. The terms "groin" and "testicle" are sometimes used interchangeably. But what causes pain in one area does not always cause pain in the other.

Alternative Names

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

Causes

Common causes of groin pain include:

  • Pulled muscle, tendon, or ligaments in the leg. This problem often occurs in people who play sports such as hockey, soccer, and football. This condition is sometimes called "sports hernia" although the name is misleading since it is not an actual hernia. It may also involve pain in the testicles.
  • Hernia. This problem occurs when there is a weak spot in the wall of the abdominal muscle that allows internal organs to press through.
  • Disease or injury to the hip joint.

Less common causes 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 ongoing groin pain for no reason.
  • You have burning pain.
  • You have pain with swelling of the scrotum.
  • Pain affects only one testicle for more than 3 hours.
  • You have noticed changes such as 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 do an exam of the groin area 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 getting worse? Does it come and go?
  • What other symptoms do you have?
  • Have you been exposed to any sexually transmitted diseases?

Tests that may be performed include:

References

Buttaravoli P, Leffler SM, eds. Minor Emergencies. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2012:chap 122.

Gerber GS, Brendler CB. In: Wein AJ, ed. Evaluation of the urologic patient: History, physical examination, and the urinalysis. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 3.


Review Date: 8/18/2013
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. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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