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Painful Lump in One Side of the Groin Symptoms

A groin lump is a swelling in the area where the upper leg meets the pelvis. Depending on the cause, a painful lump in the groin may go away on its own or may need to be treated by a medical professional.

Characteristics

Groin lumps can have any of the following characteristics:

  • Large or small
  • Soft or firm
  • Mobile: This means it moves when you touch or press it.
  • Fixed: This means it feels stuck in its location.
  • Consistent in size or growing and shrinking with activity or rest

Other symptoms

Groin lumps can also be associated with:

Duration

A painful lump in one side of the groin may be short- or long-term depending on the cause.

  • A groin lump may last for only a few days before going away on its own or you may notice that it persists for a week or more.

  • You may also notice that the groin lump comes and goes, appearing when you cough or strain and disappearing when you rest or lay down.

Are painful groin lumps serious?

The severity of groin lumps depends on the cause and the duration of the symptom(s).

  • If it is self-resolving: If your groin lump goes away on its own, this is typically a sign that it is not serious.
  • If you also have a fever: If you have a large groin lump that is associated with redness, pain, numbness, and especially fever, you should be seen by a medical provider.
  • If it is growing or fixed: Groin lumps that grow over time or feel firm and fixed in place should be evaluated by a medical professional.
  • If pain increases with exertion: Even if your groin lump seemed to go away with rest and only be exacerbated by activity or straining, you should see a medical provider immediately, especially if the pain starts to increase or is persistent.

Painful Lump in One Side of the Groin Causes Overview

There are many potential causes for a painful groin lump. Some of these causes are related to infection and injury but sometimes a groin lump can be caused by changes in your body's anatomy or abnormal cell growth.

Infection-related causes

Various infection-related causes that can lead to a painful lump in the groin include:

  • Skin infection: Infections of the skin by bacteria or fungi can cause a painful groin lump [1]. Sometimes the infection starts when a hair follicle gets infected (called folliculitis if it becomes more severe) and is often from shaving [2]. If an open cut is exposed it can also become infected, leading to something called cellulitis, an infection of the skin and area under the skin [3]. A skin infection that isn't cleared up can lead to something called an abscess, which is a pocket pus that forms as your body tries to fight the infection [4].
  • Lymph node enlargement: Lymph nodes are small glands where the cells that fight infections live. While reacting to infections caused by bacteria, fungi or viruses in and around the area of your groin, they can grow in size and appear as single or multiple lumps in the groin.
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STI): Some STIs, like HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), genital herpes, and syphilis can cause your lymph nodes to enlarge, leading to painful groin lumps [5]. Another STI, HPV (human papillomavirus), can cause groin lumps in the form of small, flesh - colored lumps in your groin area that may be itchy. Groin lumps from STIs can be accompanied by discharge from the vagina or penis and/or flu-like symptoms.

Anatomy-related causes

Hernias that appear as groin lumps occur when some of your abdominal tissue and/or intestines bulge out through a weak spot in your abdominal muscles [6]. You may notice the bulge appear or become more painful and/or noticeable when you strain by coughing, sneezing, bending over, lifting a heavy object or having a bowel movement. Sometimes the bulge can be pushed back into place easily. Other times it gets strangulated or "stuck," and this can be life-threatening as blood flow can be cut off to the section of your tissues or intestine that is bulging through.

Trauma or injury

Groin lumps can also be a symptom of injury or strain when too much stress has been put on the muscles of your groin. This can lead to muscle pain, swelling and cramping in reaction to the injury.

Abnormal cell growth

Sometimes a groin lump can be caused by abnormal growth of a variety of different cells that make up your body. These can include the cells that make up your blood system which can lead to leukemia or lymphoma that sometimes appear as swelling in the groin. For people with testicles, abnormal growth of the cells that make up the testiclescan also lead to swelling in and around the groin. Fat cells can also grow abnormally into harmless lumps called lipomas.

A.I. Health Assistant Causes for Painful Lump in One Side of the Groin

The list below shows results from the use of our A.I. Health Assistant by Buoy users who experienced painful lump in one side of the groin. This list does not constitute medical advice.

  1. 1.Enlarged Lymph Nodes in the Groin

    Enlarged lymph nodes occur when the node becomes larger as it fills with inflammatory cells. This often is a result of an infection but can occur without a known cause.

    Enlarged lymph nodes should go away within a week or two.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    groin lump, movable groin lump
    Symptoms that always occur with enlarged lymph nodes in the groin:
    groin lump
    Symptoms that never occur with enlarged lymph nodes in the groin:
    fever, unintentional weight loss, hard groin lump
    Urgency:
    Phone call or in-person visit
  2. 2.Groin Abscess

    A groin abscess is caused by an infection of the skin or area right under the skin. The infection is typically caused by a bacteria, which your body reacts to by creating a ball of inflammation around the bacteria.

    Cured with drainage but can often come back later unless a surgeon fully removes the lining of the abscess

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    groin pain, constant groin lump, lump on one side of the groin, painful lump in one side of the groin, hard groin lump
    Symptoms that always occur with groin abscess:
    lump on one side of the groin, constant groin lump
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  3. 3.Skin Abscess

    A skin abscess is an infection of the deeper skin that's typically due to bacteria seen on the skin. Recently, infections are more frequently caused by Staph. Aureus (puts the "staph" in "staph infections"), which is dangerous and requires treatment.

    Good prognosis with treatment

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    rash with bumps or blisters, red rash, red skin bump larger than 1/2 cm in diameter, pus-filled rash, rash
    Symptoms that always occur with skin abscess:
    rash with bumps or blisters
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  4. 4.Skin Cyst

    An epidermoid cyst is a closed sac under the skin filled with a cheese-like or oily material. It is caused by trauma or surgery.

    Resolves with treatment

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    skin-colored armpit bump, marble sized armpit lump, small armpit lump
    Symptoms that always occur with skin cyst:
    skin-colored armpit bump
    Urgency:
    Wait and watch

    Painful Lump in One Side of the Groin Checker

    Take a quiz to find out why you’re having painful lump in one side of the groin.

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  5. 5.Groin Hernia Requiring a Doctor's Examination

    A hernia occurs when a loop of intestine bulges out through the abdominal wall. With age, the supportive tissues that keep organs within the abdomen become weaker, and the risk for a hernia increases. Groin hernias, called inguinal hernias, are the most common type. They often result due to muscle straining, such as during heavy lifting.A complicated groin hernia, also called an incarcerated hernia, is a medical emergency. This type of hernia cannot be easily reduced, in other words pushed back without surgery. An incarcerated hernia is at high risk of becoming strangulated, meaning that pressure on the loop of bowel can cause the trapped segment to lose blood supply. Unless the blood supply is restored promptly, the tissue can rapidly die. This is a life-threatening condition.

    Complicated (incarcerated) groin hernias are a life-threatening condition. However, if treatment is performed early, the prognosis after surgery is excellent.Chronic pain 1 year out from the surgery is reported by some patients, but it is likely to dissipate over time.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    nausea, nausea or vomiting, fever, groin pain, groin lump
    Urgency:
    Emergency medical service
  6. 6.Groin Hernia

    A hernia occurs when a loop of intestine bulges out through the abdominal wall. With age, the supportive tissues that keep organs within the abdomen become weaker, and the risk for a hernia increases. Groin hernias, called inguinal hernias, are the most common type. They often result due to muscle straining, such as during heavy lifting.

    Groin hernias are not a life-threatening condition. Approximately one third of patients report chronic groin pain 1 year or longer after a hernia repair, but it is likely to dissipate over time. A hernia may recur, although the causes of this are highly variable, and depend on the degree of abdominal wall weakness and the technique of repair.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    pain in the lower right abdomen, pain in the lower left abdomen, groin pain, testicle pain, groin lump
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  7. 7.Indirect Hernia

    A hernia occurs when an organ or internal body part bulges through the abdominal wall. In the case of indirect hernia, the hernia is a result an improperly failed deep inguinal ring after the testicle has passed through it.

    Groin hernias are not a life-threatening condition. Approximately one third of patients report chronic groin pain 1 year or longer after a hernia repair, but it is likely to dissipate over time. A hernia may recur, although the causes of this are highly variable, and depend on the degree of abdominal wall weakness and the technique of repair.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    groin pain, groin lump, mild groin pain, moderate groin pain, painful lump in one side of the groin
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  8. 8.Boil (Furuncle)

    Boils are infections of a hair follicle that creates a small pocket of inflammation full of pus. It's typically caused by a common bacteria called S. Aureus.

    5-10 days

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    pink or red facial bump, small facial lump, painful facial bump, marble sized facial lump, constant skin changes
    Symptoms that always occur with boil (furuncle):
    pink or red facial bump
    Symptoms that never occur with boil (furuncle):
    fever
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  9. 9.Pimple

    Acne, also known as pimples, occurs when hair follicles become clogged with oil & dead skin cells. Acne is extremely common and ranges from mild to severe.

    The severity of the acne dictates treatment-type and duration. With proper treatment, acne should resolve in weeks to months. In some cases, acne is a long-term condition.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    pink or red facial bump, small facial lump, painful facial bump, marble sized facial lump
    Symptoms that always occur with pimple:
    pink or red facial bump
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment

Painful Lump in One Side of the Groin Treatments and Relief

Treatment for painful lumps in the groin can begin at home. However, if you are unable to find relief, you should consult your physician for further recommendations and medical treatment.

At-home treatment

Various at-home treatments that you can try to alleviate symptoms of your painful groin lump include:

  • Warm and cold compresses: These can help reduce pain and swelling if your groin lump is due to infection or trauma.
  • Over-the-counter medications: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Advil, Motrin, Naproxen and aspirin can help reduce pain, swelling, and redness because they work by reducing inflammation in your body. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can also help with pain and fever but does not treat the inflammation.
  • Fluid intake: If your groin lump is due to an infectious cause, increasing your fluid intake is critical in order to stay hydrated and keep your body strong enough to fight the infection, especially if you also have a fever.

Medical treatments

After consulting your physician, he or she may also recommend the following if conservative measures have been ineffective or your pain is persisting.

  • Incision and drainage: If your groin lump is caused by an infection that has caused a collection of pus under your skin, a medical professional may need to cut a small hole (incision) in the skin overlying the bump in order to drain the pus collection.
  • Antibiotics: You may also be prescribed an antibiotic in the form of a pill or cream/ointment in order to fight the infection if the groin lump is due to a bacterial or fungal cause.
  • Surgery: If the groin lump is caused by an abnormal growth of cells, a doctor may recommend surgery to remove the lump, assess what kind of cells are causing the growth, and determine whether the growth is cancerous or not. If your groin lump is the result of a hernia — a bulging of your abdominal tissue or intestines through a weakness in your abdominal muscles — you may need surgery, especially if a hernia becomes strangulated or"stuck" and can no longer be pushed back inside. During the procedure, a surgeon pushes the tissue and intestines back into your abdomen and seals the hole or weakness where a hernia was bulging through [7].

Seek immediate treatment in the emergency room or call 911 for the following

If you experience these symptoms, you should seek treatment as soon as possible:

FAQs About Painful Lump in One Side of the Groin

Here are some frequently asked questions about painful lump in one side of the groin.

Can groin lumps be caused by STIs?

Yes, certain sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can cause groin lumps in the form of lymph node swelling. Your lymph nodes are small glands all over your body where the cells that fight infection live. In response to infection, the cells become more active which sometimes leads to swelling of the lymph nodes. The lymph nodes in your groin are on alert for infections that occur in and around your groin area and can become swollen after infection with STIs like HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), syphilis, or herpes, for example. Groin lumps associated with STIs can also be associated with abnormal genital discharge (fluid from the vagina or penis), flu-like symptoms, and pain or burning during sex or urination. HPV (human papillomavirus) can also cause genital warts, which are small, flesh-colored lumps in and around the genital and groin area.

Why does my groin lump appear after I work out?

Some groin lumps are caused by hernias, which occur when tissue from the abdomen and/or intestine bulges out through a weakness in the abdominal wall and into the groin area. Hernias become more noticeable when the pressure inside your abdomen/belly builds up, and this normally happens when you strain — often during a workout when you're lifting heavy objects. Other times when the pressure in your abdomen builds up and may make a hernia more noticeable include when you are coughing, sneezing, laughing or having a bowel movement.

Why is my groin lump painful?

Groin lumps may be painful for different reasons depending on the cause. Groin lumps caused by an infection may be painful because of your immune system responding to the infection.One of the associated symptoms is pain in order to alert you that something is wrong. If your groin lump is due to injury or muscle strain, damage to the muscles from trauma often leads to pain but should go away with rest and at-home treatments like over-the-counter painkillers.

What should I do if my groin lump is extremely painful?

Groin lumps caused by hernias can become severely painful if the tissue or intestine that has bulged through the weak spot in your abdomen becomes trapped outside and starts to lose its blood flow. If you notice severe, sudden, or worsening pain with your hernia, seek immediate medical attention, especially if you also have nausea, vomiting, or become unable to pass gas or have a bowel movement.

Do ingrown hairs cause groin lumps?

Ingrown hairs can cause groin lumps, especially if they become infected. The areas where each of your hair strands grow out of your skin are called follicles. When a follicle gets infected, usually due to a bacterial or fungal cause, it can lead to an area of red, painful, swollen skin and a collection of pus in the region, called folliculitis. When an infection in the hair follicles spreads deeper, this can lead to boils or clusters of boils (called carbuncles) [2]. A medical professional may recommend antibacterial ointments for infected follicles and warm compresses and/or oral antibiotics for carbuncles and boils.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Painful Lump in One Side of the Groin

  • Q.What color is the bump?
  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Q.Did anyone in your family have a hernia?
  • Q.Do you have a history of constipation?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our painful lump in one side of the groin symptom checker to find out more.

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Painful Lump in One Side of the Groin Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced painful lump in one side of the groin have also experienced:

    • 4% Fatigue
    • 3% Painful Armpit Lump
    • 3% Groin Pain
  • People who have experienced painful lump in one side of the groin had symptoms persist for:

    • 36% Less Than a Week
    • 24% Over a Month
    • 16% Less Than a Day
  • People who have experienced painful lump in one side of the groin were most often matched with:

    • 40% Groin Abscess
    • 40% Skin Abscess
    • 20% Enlarged Lymph Nodes in the Groin
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

A.I. Health Assistant

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References

  1. Skin and Soft Tissue Infections. American Family Physician. 2015;92(6):online. AAFP Link
  2. Folliculitis and Carbuncles. Massachusetts General Hospital. Mass General Link
  3. Cellulitis. U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus. Updated August 30, 2016. MedlinePlus Link
  4. Abscess. U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus. Updated June 6, 2018. MedlinePlus Link
  5. Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Symptoms. Mayo Clinic. Published March 13, 2018. Mayo Clinic Link
  6. Inguinal Hernia. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Diseases. NIDDK Link
  7. Wechter DG. Inguinal Hernia Repair. U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus. Updated February 11, 2017. MedlinePlus Link