Why Does My Groin Hurt?

If you have pain below the beltline, you need to find out why you’re hurting.

Some things might just need a simple treatment. Others might need more serious medical attention.

The most common cause of groin pain is a muscle, ligament, or tendon strain. This happens to a lot of men who play sports. The pain may happen right away or build over time. Continuing the sport or activity may make the injury worse.

Rest, anti-inflammatory medications (aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen), rehabilitation, and strengthening exercises can often treat the problem successfully.

What Else Can It Be?

There are other conditions that can cause groin pain. Common ones include:

Inguinal hernia: This happens when fat or a loop of your intestine pushes through a weak spot in the muscles of your lower abdomen (belly). You may see a bulge in your groin or scrotum. One quarter of all men will develop this problem sometime during their lifetime. If the intestine or fat gets stuck in the abdominal muscle wall, its blood supply may get cut off. That’s called a strangulated hernia.

  • Symptoms can include:
  • Redness or sudden pain near the bulge
  • You can’t poop or pass gas
  • Nausea, vomiting, fever

Get urgent care if you have any of these symptoms. A strangulated hernia is a life-threatening emergency.

The hernia can be fixed with surgery.

Prostatitis: This is swelling or infection in your prostate gland. In addition to pain, you may have a hard time peeing.

See your doctor. Prostatitis can sometimes go away on its own. But if it’s caused by an infection, you may need to take antibiotics.

Epididymitis: This is swelling in the tube where sperm is stored -- the epididymis. Most often, an infection causes the problem. Signs and symptoms include:

  • Pain on one side of the scrotum that comes on slowly.
  • Pain while peeing
  • Fever
  • Milky discharge from your penis

Orchitis: It’s swelling in one or both testicles. The same infection that’s behind epididymitis may cause this problem. The two conditions can happen at the same time. Sometimes, the mumps virus triggers orchitis. It can cause fertility problems.

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If bacteria is the cause of either condition, an antibiotic can clear it up.

Testicular torsion: This happens when a testicle gets twisted inside your scrotum. It may feel like you got kicked in the crotch. It’s a medical emergency. The twisting (torsion) cuts off the blood supply to your testicle. If it’s not surgically untwisted within a few hours, your testicle can die. It happens most often in teen boys.

Testicular cancer: Most of the time, this cancer causes a painless lump in or on your testicle. But sometimes, it’s painful. It’s not a common cancer. If it’s found early, it’s almost always treated and cured.

Hip problems: Sometimes, hip pain from arthritis or another problem can radiate to your groin. It usually builds slowly and may feel worse when you’re driving or sitting in a low chair. Usually, physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medications are tried first to treat the problem. You may need an operation if these don’t work.

Kidney stones: These are small crystals that form in your kidney and can get stuck in tubes leading to your bladder. The pain can be severe. It’s usually in your back or belly but can be felt in your scrotum or at the tip of your penis. If the stone is really big, you may need surgery.

Kidney infection: This usually happens when an infection travels from your bladder and enters one or both of your kidneys. Symptoms include groin pain, frequent urination, and blood or pus in your pee. The bacterium called E. coli is often to blame. Kidney infections are treated with antibiotics.

When to Call the Doctor

  • The groin pain is very bad or it doesn’t get better in a few days
  • There’s swelling or a lump around or in your testicle
  • Pain in your side moves into your groin and testicle
  • There’s blood in your urine

Go to the emergency room if you have intense pain, or you have pain along with fever, chills, and nausea.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on March 27, 2017

Sources

SOURCES:

Mayo Clinic: “Groin Pain: Male,” “Kidney Infection.”  

Nemours Foundation: “Groin Strain.”

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: “Inguinal Hernia,” “Kidney Infection (Pyelonephritis).”

American Cancer Society: “Do I Have Testicular Cancer?”

Urology Care Foundation: “Below the Belt: Pain Men Shouldn’t Ignore.”

Washington University School of Medicine: “When to Worry About Groin Pain.”

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