A groin lump is localized swelling in the groin area. It may be firm or soft, tender or not painful at all.
All groin lumps should be examined by your health care provider.
- hernia (usually a soft, large bulge in the groin on one or both sides) o A hernia is bigger when standing and recedes when lying down. It can often be pushed back with the finger (see inguinal hernia and femoral hernia).
- enlarged lymph glands in the groin area
- a local infection
- generalized drug reaction
- allergic reaction
- a viral infection
- a malignancy
- trauma to the groin area
- sexually transmitted diseases
Follow the therapy prescribed by your health care provider.
Call your health care provider if
- there are groin lumps that persist more than 3 weeks.
- an unexplained groin lump is present.
What to expect at your health care provider’s office
The medical history will be obtained and a physical examination performed.
Medical history questions documenting your symptom in detail may include:
- time pattern o When did the lump develop? o Did it occur suddenly or develop slowly? o Is it always present or does it come and go?
- location o Is it on one side or both? o How big is it?
- other o Does it get larger when coughing or straining? o What is the sexual history (detailed questions may be asked)? o Has there been any unusual physical activity recently? o What other symptoms are also present?
The physical examination may include palpation (touch) of lymph nodes in the groin and elsewhere. A genital or pelvic examination may be performed.
DIAGNOSTIC TESTS that may be performed include:
- liver function tests
- kidney function tests
- liver-spleen scan
- lymph node biopsy
- routine blood studies such as a CBC or blood differential
- test for syphilis and HIV
Treatments may include antibiotics if appropriate. For a hernia, surgery may be recommended.
After seeing your health care provider:
If a diagnosis was made by your health care provider related to a groin lump, you may want to note that diagnosis in your personal medical record.
by Janet G. Derge, M.D.