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Groin lump

A groin lump is a swollen area 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

Causes

Lumps in the groin may have many causes.

Lymph nodes act as filters that can catch germs or cancerous tumor cells. When they do, lymph nodes increase in size and are easily felt. Reasons lymph nodes in the armpit area may be enlarged are:

  • Leg or groin infection
  • Genital herpes, chlamydia, and gonorrhea
  • A body-wide infection, such as mono, AIDS, or herpes
  • Cancers, such as lymphomas

Other causes may include:

  • Cysts or abscesses under the skin may also produce large, painful lumps
  • Allergic reaction
  • Drug reaction
  • Harmless fatty growths, called lipomas
  • Hernia (usually a soft, large bulge in the groin on one or both sides)

Home Care

The treatment for a groin lump depends on the cause. Follow the steps prescribed by your health care provider.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

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

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 exam may be done.

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

  • When you first noticed the lump
  • The size and location of the lump
  • If the lump comes and goes, or gets bigger when coughing or straining
  • Your recent physical activity
  • Other symptoms you may have

The health care provider may also ask you 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. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 171.

Tower RL II, Camitta BM. Lymphadenopathy. In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St. Geme JW III, Schor NF, Behrman RE, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 484.

Updated: 8/18/2013

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, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.


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