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Groin lump

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

 

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

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:

  • Blood tests such as a CBC or blood differential
  • Blood tests to check for syphilis, HIV, or other sexually transmitted infections
  • Kidney function tests
  • Liver function tests
  • Liver spleen scan
  • Lymph node biopsy

 

 

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.

 
  • Lymphatic system

    Lymphatic system - illustration

    The lymphatic system filters fluid from around cells. It is an important part of the immune system. When people refer to swollen glands in the neck, they are usually referring to swollen lymph nodes. Common areas where lymph nodes can be easily felt, especially if they are enlarged, are: the groin, armpits (axilla), above the clavicle (supraclavicular), in the neck (cervical), and the back of the head just above hairline (occipital).

    Lymphatic system

    illustration

  • Swollen lymph nodes in the groin

    Swollen lymph nodes in the groin - illustration

    Lymph nodes play an important part in the body's defense against infection. Swelling might occur even if the infection is trivial or not apparent. Swelling of lymph nodes generally results from localized or systemic infection, abscess formation, or malignancy. Common areas where the lymph nodes can be felt include the groin area, armpit, the neck, under the jaw and chin, behind the ears, and below the occiput (prominence on the back of the head). As a rule, when swelling appears suddenly and is painful, it is usually caused by injury or an infection. Enlargement that comes on gradually and painlessly may result from malignancy or tumor.

    Swollen lymph nodes in the groin

    illustration

    • Lymphatic system

      Lymphatic system - illustration

      The lymphatic system filters fluid from around cells. It is an important part of the immune system. When people refer to swollen glands in the neck, they are usually referring to swollen lymph nodes. Common areas where lymph nodes can be easily felt, especially if they are enlarged, are: the groin, armpits (axilla), above the clavicle (supraclavicular), in the neck (cervical), and the back of the head just above hairline (occipital).

      Lymphatic system

      illustration

    • Swollen lymph nodes in the groin

      Swollen lymph nodes in the groin - illustration

      Lymph nodes play an important part in the body's defense against infection. Swelling might occur even if the infection is trivial or not apparent. Swelling of lymph nodes generally results from localized or systemic infection, abscess formation, or malignancy. Common areas where the lymph nodes can be felt include the groin area, armpit, the neck, under the jaw and chin, behind the ears, and below the occiput (prominence on the back of the head). As a rule, when swelling appears suddenly and is painful, it is usually caused by injury or an infection. Enlargement that comes on gradually and painlessly may result from malignancy or tumor.

      Swollen lymph nodes in the groin

      illustration

    Self Care

     

      Tests for Groin lump

       

         

        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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