If you are a woman with groin pain, a variety of conditions can be to blame.
From common injuries to serious problems, there are many different things to consider. To understand your symptoms, review the most common causes of groin pain in women in the following sections.
One of the most common causes of groin pain is muscle strain .
A stretch (also known as a sprain) occurs when a muscle is overstretched and partially or completely torn. When this happens in the groin, it usually affects a group of muscles called adductors, which are found on the inner thigh.
Any of the five adductors may be affected (adductor magnus, adductor maximus, pectoral muscle, adductor longus, and gracilis).
This type of injury usually occurs during sports or exercise, including:
- To run
In addition to groin pain, tension can cause pain when you lift your leg or bring your hip closer to the other leg.
Depending on the severity, popping may occur during overexertion and bruising or swelling may also appear.
Light efforts generally restrict only exercise or high-level activities, while vigorous efforts can cause pain when walking or even resting.
Restore groin tension
Most strains heal on their own. However, for more serious injuries, healing can take up to eight weeks.
To help with your recovery, your healthcare provider may recommend:
- Using the RICE principle (rest, ice, compression and elevation)
- Prescribe anti-inflammatory medications to reduce pain or swelling.
- Physical therapy to improve your strength, flexibility, and return to sports.
Osteoarthritis of the hip joint
Another extremely common cause of groin pain is hip osteoarthritis (OA) .
OA occurs when the smooth cartilage at the end of the ball (femoral head) and socket (acetabulum) of the hip joint begins to thin and wear out. This degeneration of cartilage causes more friction as the hip moves and can lead to excessive bone build-up.
Over time, it can also cause pain in the groin, hip, or buttocks.
Who is at risk for OA?
Osteoarthritis generally occurs in middle-aged or older people and is more common in women.
Osteoarthritis pain is usually worse in the morning and after long periods of activity.
Other symptoms can help distinguish this from a muscle strain. This includes:
- Joint stiffness (especially upon waking)
- Pop or click with a hip movement
- Limit the range of motion of the hip.
OA is usually treated by your PCP, who may recommend that you manage your symptoms by:
- Heat or ice
- Reduced weight, less stress on the joint
- Physical therapy exercises to strengthen the muscles that surround and support the thigh.
- Low-impact aerobic exercise (such as walking or swimming) to reduce pain and stiffness
If conservative treatment doesn't help, surgery may be required. In this case, the orthopedic surgeon usually performs a rejuvenation procedure (covering or covering the head of the femur with a metal sheath) or a complete hip replacement.
Hip impact, also known as hip and acetabulum impact (FAI) , is another bone-related disease that can lead to groin pain.
This problem occurs when additional bone growth in the acetabulum or femoral head causes the joint to become irregular. This abnormal bone growth affects the conformity of the hip joint and causes pain and damage to the joints when you move the leg.
The pain from an impact to the thigh is usually concentrated in the groin area, but can also extend beyond the thigh.
The pain is usually deep within the joint and is often aggravated by movements such as bringing the knees to the chest or crossing the legs. Bending over or twisting tasks can also be painful.
Treatment may include:
- Change your activity to avoid annoying movements
- Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (if prescribed by a doctor) to reduce symptoms.
- Physical therapy exercises to reduce pain by increasing hip strength and flexibility.
In more serious cases, an orthopedic surgeon may need surgery on the joint itself. This procedure generally involves removing excess bone growth in the femoral head or acetabulum and repairing any damage to the hip.
In some cases, pain in the groin can be caused by a condition called a sports hernia .
This problem, also known as sports lobalgia, is a broad term that refers to any sprain or strain in the ligaments, muscles or tendons of the lower abdomen or groin area.
Sports hernia versus traditional hernia
Although it has the same name, this particular syndrome differs from a traditional hernia, in which fat or organs protrude through a weak area of muscle or connective tissue.
Sports hernias, such as adductor muscle sprains, usually occur during games like hockey or soccer, which involve multiple cuts or rapid changes in direction.
The groin pain associated with athletic lobalgia is usually severe during sports or exercise, but improves during rest.
Unlike a traditional hernia, there is no noticeable bulge in the area of injury (although sports hernias can eventually lead to a traditional hernia if left untreated).
Ultimately, your PCP will usually treat this condition, such as an adductor muscle stretch, with:
- RICE principle
- Over-the-counter pain relievers
- Physical therapy, which helps to strengthen core muscles, improve flexibility, and gradually return to haircuts and sports.
Middle-aged and older women, especially those who have already gone through menopause, have a much higher risk of developing osteoporosis . This condition, which causes a decrease in bone density throughout the body, increases the risk of bone fractures.
One of the most common places this can happen is on the hip.
Osteoporotic fractures in this area generally involve the femur in the area just below the head of the femur (the ball of the joint). This type of bone fracture (called a subfracture) can occur even after a slight fall or twist. In some cases, the bone is so fragile that it can break even while standing or walking.
Hip fractures usually cause immediate, sharp pain in the groin or upper thigh. This severe pain usually makes it almost impossible to carry weight through the leg.
If you suspect a fracture, you should see your doctor immediately.
This type of injury is diagnosed with an X-ray and generally requires surgical stabilization for a day or two by an orthopedic surgeon to prevent further damage.
Urinary tract infections
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) occur when bacteria enter the body through the urethra (the tube that carries urine out of your body) and infect the urinary tract. This problem is more common in:
- Women due to the shorter distance from the urethra and its proximity to the rectum.
- Pregnant or sexually active
- For those going through menopause
- Old people
- Children with poor hygiene
UTIs can cause cramps in the groin or lower abdomen. They also usually result in:
- Burning sensation when urinating.
- Frequent urination
- Blood in the urine
Most urinary tract infections can be easily treated with an antibiotic by your healthcare provider, so it's important to speak with them if you suspect you have one.
The appendix is a small tubular structure located in the lower right part of the abdomen. Although this organ is useless, in some cases it can become infected or inflamed. This condition, known as appendicitis , generally affects people in their 20s and 20s and is considered a medical emergency.
The pain from appendicitis is usually on the right side of the lower stomach near the groin. It may be intermittent at first, but the pain becomes severe as it progresses (especially if the appendix eventually ruptures).
Along with this acute pain, you may also experience:
- Threw up
- Swelling in the abdomen
After appendicitis is diagnosed by MRI or CT scan, a general surgeon usually removes the structure using a laparoscopic procedure.
However, a ruptured organ may require more complex abdominal surgery. For this reason, it is important to see a doctor immediately if you suspect that you may have this medical condition.
Enlarged lymph nodes
Throughout the body, the lymphatic system is made up of a series of bean-shaped nodes called lymph nodes . This intricate network helps transport nutrients and wastes in the lymphatic fluid between body tissues and the bloodstream.
Sometimes due to infection or injury, nearby lymph nodes become swollen and painful to the touch. A developing tumor in this area can also cause this problem, although this is much less common.
One place where lymph node enlargement is often seen is in the groin. Lymph nodes in the groin (called inguinal or femoral lymph nodes) may become enlarged as a result of an injury or infection in the foot, leg, groin, or vagina.
Lymph node pain is usually very focal, and the node can often be felt under the skin.
Lymph node size
Although nodes can vary in size, greatly enlarged nodes can grow to the size of a small olive tree.
Treatment of the underlying injury or infection can usually help relieve pain and swollen lymph nodes. However, sometimes a physical therapist experienced in treating lymphedema (swollen lymph nodes) may be needed to resolve this condition.
A kidney stone is a small mass of miniature crystalline structures that originate in the kidneys. Sometimes these structures travel from the kidney to the bladder through a tube called the ureter.
Because the ureter is quite narrow, the sharp edges of the stone can scratch the walls of the tube and cause excruciating pain in the groin or vagina. There may also be a sharpness in the abdomen or the side of the back.
Severe kidney stone pain is often intermittent and can start and stop randomly. This is usually accompanied by discoloration or blood in the urine.
Also, you may notice a decrease in urine output if you have a stone. In rarer cases, fever, chills, nausea, or vomiting may also occur.
In most cases, smaller kidney stones can pass through the body on their own. Drinking lots of water can help with this process.
Unfortunately, however, the stone is often quite painful, and your PCP may recommend over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers.
In rarer cases, the stone is too large and the urologist may need a procedure to break or remove it. For this reason, if you suspect that you have a kidney stone, it is best to see your doctor immediately for proper treatment.
Osteitis pubis is pain and swelling that can occur when the area where the pelvic bones meet (called the symphysis pubis) becomes inflamed.
This condition usually occurs after overuse of the core, thigh, or groin muscles that insert into this area, for example:
- Repetitive jump
- To run
However, pelvic surgery or childbirth can also be to blame.
Osteitis pubis pain is usually located in the groin, lower abdomen, or just above the vaginal area.
Usually this pain occurs gradually and initially only bothers you with physical activity. However, as the condition progresses, the pain can become more severe and affect daily tasks such as standing or walking.
In most cases, your symptoms resolve in the following ways:
- Change your activity
- Using over-the-counter pain relievers
- Periodic application of ice to the area.
However, this can take several months. In more severe cases, physical therapy and a cortisone injection may be needed to help you get rid of your symptoms.
Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs located on a woman's ovaries.
Women have two ovaries, one on each side of the lower abdomen, where eggs and female hormones are made. Cysts in this area are quite common and usually develop during ovulation.
These fluid-filled structures generally do not cause symptoms and, in most cases, go away on their own without treatment.
However, in some situations, they can cause pain in the lower abdomen or groin. This pain usually occurs on only one side and can be sharp or dull. It can also be accompanied by:
- Abnormal menstruation
- Threw up
Most cysts, even those that cause pain, resolve in one to three months.
If the cyst is persistent or of a certain size, surgery may be required to remove it. In some cases, your gynecologist may prescribe medications to help reduce the formation of a new cyst.
The groin pain you are experiencing may actually be the result of a pinched nerve in your lower back or hip.
The lower (lumbar) part of the spine contains spinal nerves that originate in the spinal cord and travel down the leg to the feet. These nerves control sensation and strength in the legs and can cause shooting pain.
Although many factors can cause a pinched nerve, including a bulging disc in the lower back or degenerative narrowing of the openings in the spine (called stenosis), one of the most common nerve conditions that causes groin pain is groin pain. meralgia paresthetica.
This problem occurs when a nerve called the lateral thigh cutaneous nerve (which provides sensation to the anterior and lateral thighs) is compressed. This usually happens in people who are overweight or pregnant, but it can also happen:
- People exposed to lead paint
- People using seat belts in a car accident
Sometimes the fault is wearing tight clothing or belts.
Meralgia paresthetica usually causes pain in the outer thigh that extends from the hip to the knee, although pain in the groin can also occur.
Burning, numbness, and tingling sensations in the same areas are also a common complaint. Symptoms are almost always one-sided and are usually made worse by standing or touching the area.
Losing weight and wearing unlimited clothing can generally alleviate the symptoms of this condition. Sometimes physical therapy, cortisone injections, or anti-inflammatory pain relievers may be needed if the pain of meralgia paresthetica persists.
Pelvic floor dysfunction
The pelvic floor is a group of muscles at the base of the pelvis that helps support organs in that area (such as the uterus and vagina). These muscles also play an important role in sexual, bladder, and bowel function.
Pelvic floor dysfunction occurs when a person loses the ability to properly coordinate these important muscles.
This type of condition can be caused by many different factors, including:
- Advanced age
- The pregnancy
- Pelvic surgery
However, in some cases, it can be difficult to find the direct cause.
Pelvic floor dysfunction can cause pain in the groin, genitals, rectum, or lower back.
Another common complaint is difficulty controlling bowel or bladder function, and you may experience urinary or stool incontinence or constipation. Also, women with this problem may experience pain during sexual intercourse.
People with this condition are usually treated with pelvic floor physical therapy, which teaches you how to effectively contract and relax your pelvic muscles. Biofeedback, a machine that helps visualize these muscle contractions, can also be used to provide feedback during therapy. Sometimes surgery is required to treat pelvic floor dysfunction.
Also, your doctor or gynecologist may prescribe medications to soften your stool to help relieve your constipation.
Related to pregnancy
There are several other pregnancy-related problems that can lead to groin pain in women. An example is round ligament pain.
The round ligament is a supporting structure that extends from a woman's uterus to the groin area. When your uterus expands during pregnancy, this ligament stretches and thickens to support the extra weight.
This expansion of the ligament can cause a stinging sensation in the groin or lower abdomen. Pain can occur on one or both sides of the body and occurs most often in the following cases:
- Get up and down from a chair
- Transfer to bed or out of bed
- Sneeze or cough
You may also feel a dull ache in the same areas after a long day of activity.
Round ligament pain usually decreases after rest (lying on your side with your hips flexed may be helpful). Sometimes your OB / GYN may also recommend that you apply heat or take pain relievers, although it is best to check with them first.
The expansion of the pelvis and the relaxation of the body's ligaments during pregnancy can also cause another problem known as symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD).
This condition occurs when the joint that connects the pelvic bones (symphysis pubis) becomes inflamed and irritated due to pregnancy-related changes in the area.
SPD causes throbbing or aching pain in the groin or inner thigh. The pain can occur on one or both sides of the body and is usually triggered by activities such as:
- Spreading the legs
- Go to bed or get out of bed
- Up the stairs
- Get in or out of the car
During pregnancy, changing your activity and wearing a support belt can help reduce the frequency and intensity of SPD symptoms. The problem often resolves only after birth.
Get the word of drug information
Dealing with groin pain can be frustrating and debilitating, but for most conditions, there are many different steps you can take to ease the discomfort. The main thing is to get a final diagnosis.
Be sure to talk to your doctor about your groin symptoms so that he or she can evaluate and develop a comprehensive treatment plan that is right for you.