Lump in groin

Your groin is the area between your thighs and abdomen and is where your genitals are located. There are many different causes for a lump in your groin, some of which are serious.

What causes a groin lump?

A lump in your groin can vary in size and shape and may not always be painful. You can have one lump or several, and some lumps may move, break open, form sores or ulcers. Lumps can also be red, purple or skin-coloured.

Groin lumps can arise from any tissue in your groin area, from your skin down into deeper tissues and the bones in this area.

Causes of groin lumps include:


Cysts are non-cancerous lumps that can cause discomfort or pain, especially when they grow in size. It is important not to squeeze or pop a cyst as this can cause infection. Similarly, if a cyst bursts under your skin, it can cause the surrounding tissue to become infected.

Signs of an infected cyst include swelling, redness, tenderness and warmth on touch.

Swollen lymph nodes

An infection, such as a cold or flu, or an illness, such as mononucleosis, can cause the lymph nodes in your body to swell. The lymph nodes most likely to swell include those in your armpits, either side of your neck and your groin.

Causes of swollen lymph nodes

Causes of swollen lymph nodes in your groin include:

  • Bacterial vaginosis
  • Cancer of your reproductive organs or other nearby organs
  • Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • Vaginal yeast infections
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) 


A hernia occurs when part of one of your organs, usually your intestines, or abdominal tissue pushes through a weakness in the tissue that is meant to hold it in. There are different types of hernias. Inguinal and femoral hernias cause a large soft lump in your groin area, often at the top of the front or inner side of your thigh. Other symptoms include: 

Inguinal hernias

An inguinal hernia occurs when part of your intestines or fatty tissue in your abdomen pushes through a weakness in your lower abdominal muscle wall.

Femoral hernias

A femoral hernia occurs when part of your intestines or fatty tissue in your abdomen pushes through a weakness in your abdominal muscle wall near your inner thigh.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

Certain STIs can make the lymph nodes in your groin swell, causing a lump in your groin. These STIs include chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes and syphilis.

STIs can also cause a cluster of lumps in your groin, with some lumps breaking open to form sores. 

STIs need to be treated to get better. 

Saphena varix

Saphena varix is caused by swelling of the saphenous vein that passes through your groin. It causes blue-tinged, golf-ball sized lumps that disappear when you lie down. If you have varicose veins, which commonly occur in legs and thighs, you are more likely to develop saphena varix. However, saphena varix is very rare.

Enlarged blood vessels

Enlarged veins or arteries, specifically femoral aneurysms and varicose veins, can cause a lump in your groin.

Femoral aneurysms

Your femoral artery runs from the top of each of your thighs and down each of your legs. A femoral aneurysm occurs when this artery swells due to a weakness in the artery wall. Symptoms include a pulsating lump in your groin, cramping in your groin, numbness in your groin and groin pain that spreads down one leg.

Varicose veins

Varicose veins are swollen, twisted purple veins that bulge from under your skin. They are caused by damaged or weak vein walls. Varicose veins most often occur in legs and thighs. Symptoms include swollen legs and feet, and a heaviness or pain in your legs and feet.

Treatments for groin lumps

If you notice a lump in your groin, you should see your GP as soon as possible. If after three weeks of treatment, your lump persists or worsens, you should see your doctor again. 

Your GP will ask about your symptoms and may perform a physical examination to check if your lymph nodes are inflamed. They may also refer you for blood tests to check for signs of infection. 

Treatment for groin lumps varies depending on the underlying cause. If the cause is swollen lymph nodes, your groin lump may disappear on its own over time. However, if you have an underlying infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics. 

Surgery may be needed to remove large or painful cysts, and to repair a hernia by pushing the tissue back in and closing or securing the weakness.

Lump in groin FAQs

What does a cancerous lump in the groin feel like?

It may feel hard or rubbery but may not be painful. 

Are lumps in the groin normal?

A lump in your groin is not normal. However, it isn’t always serious. If you have noticed a lump in your groin, it is important to see your GP to rule out serious conditions and receive treatment, if needed. 

What are the signs that you have a cancerous lymph node?

Signs of a cancerous lymph node include a hard or rubbery lump in your neck, armpits or groin, fever without an infection, night sweats, unintentional weight loss, itchy skin, fatigue, loss of appetite, chest pain, a persistent cough and difficulty breathing. 

We hope you've found this article useful, however, it cannot be a substitute for a consultation with a specialist

If you're concerned about symptoms you're experiencing or require further information on the subject, talk to a GP or see an expert consultant at your local Spire hospital.

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Cahoot Care Marketing

Niched in the care sector, Cahoot Care Marketing offers a full range of marketing services for care businesses including: SEO, social media, websites and video marketing, specialising in copywriting and content marketing.

Over the last five years Cahoot Care Marketing has built an experienced team of writers and editors, with broad and deep expertise on a range of care topics. They provide a responsive, efficient and comprehensive service, ensuring content is on brand and in line with relevant medical guidelines.

Their writers and editors include care sector workers, healthcare copywriting specialists and NHS trainers, who thoroughly research all topics using reputable sources including the NHS, NICE, relevant Royal Colleges and medical associations.

The Spire Content Hub project was managed by:

Lux Fatimathas, Editor and Project Manager

Lux has a BSc(Hons) in Neuroscience from UCL, a PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and experience as a postdoctoral researcher in developmental biology. She has a clear and extensive understanding of the biological and medical sciences. Having worked in scientific publishing for BioMed Central and as a writer for the UK’s Medical Research Council and the National University of Singapore, she is able to clearly communicate complex concepts.

Catriona Shaw, Lead Editor

Catriona has an English degree from the University of Southampton and more than 12 years’ experience copy editing across a range of complex topics. She works with a diverse team of writers to create clear and compelling copy to educate and inform.

Alfie Jones, Director — Cahoot Care Marketing

Alfie has a creative writing degree from UCF and initially worked as a carer before supporting his family’s care training business with copywriting and general marketing. He has worked in content marketing and the care sector for over 10 years and overseen a diverse range of care content projects, building a strong team of specialist writers and marketing creatives after founding Cahoot in 2016.