Alternative names: Lump in the groin; Inguinal lymphadenopathy; Localized lymphadenopathy — groin; Bubo; Lymphadenopathy — groin
Definition: A groin lump is swelling in the groin area. This is where the upper leg meets the lower abdomen.
A groin lump may be firm or soft, tender, or not painful at all. Your health care provider should examine any groin lumps.
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
- Body-wide 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)
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
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.
McGee S. Peripheral lymphadenopathy. In: McGee S, ed. Evidence-Based Physical Diagnosis. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 27.