The most common causes of female groin pain or discomfort are pulling, straining or tearing one of the muscles or tendons in your groin, especially if you are physically active.
Groin pain on your left side is most likely caused by overusing your groin muscles. Injury to these muscles can cause inflammation and pain that worsens on movement.
Groin pain on your right side is most likely caused by overusing your groin muscles, or a problem affecting your reproductive organs or lower gut.
Common injuries that cause right-sided groin pain include torn, sprained or strained groin ligaments, muscles or tendons.
Groin pain in women is usually caused by injuries such as spraining, straining, overstretching or tearing the tissues that connect your legs to your groin. This includes your tendons, ligaments and adductor muscles on the inner part of your thighs.
Other common causes of groin pain include kidney stones or bone fractures in the groin.
Less common causes of groin pain on one side include:
Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs that develop in or on your ovaries. They are a common and usually harmless condition in women during their reproductive years. They don’t always cause symptoms but can cause groin pain on the same side as the affected ovary. Other symptoms include:
Enlarged lymph nodes
Inguinal lymph nodes are present on both sides of your groin and can become inflamed in response to infection, disease or the presence of a tumour. This can cause groin pain and discomfort.
Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
UTIs can cause moderate to severe groin pain that worsens when you urinate. Other symptoms include:
Osteitis pubis is inflammation of the pubic symphysis, which is a joint between your left and right pubic bones that sits in front of your bladder. Symptoms include a fever, sharp groin pain that worsens on coughing, climbing the stairs, sneezing and walking, and a change in the way you walk ie waddling.
An inguinal hernia occurs when part of your internal organs, usually your intestines, or abdominal tissue pushes through a weakness in your lower abdominal muscle wall in your groin area. It is more common in men.
A femoral hernia occurs when part of your internal organs, usually your intestines, or abdominal tissue pushes through a weakness in your abdominal muscle wall, specifically a tunnel called the femoral canal in your groin area. It is more common in women.
Groin pain during pregnancy
As your womb expands during pregnancy, the pressure applied to the soft tissues in your pelvis and groin area increases. This can cause muscle, ligament and joint pain, including symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD), where the symphysis pubis joint becomes painful and round ligament pain, where the ligament that runs from your womb to your groin is stretched.
These conditions usually get better after birth and do not indicate any problem with your pregnancy.
Mild groin pain can be treated by taking over-the-counter painkillers, gentle massage of the affected area, back and hips, applying ice packs several times a day for up to 20 minutes at a time, and performing daily exercises and stretches prescribed by your doctor or physiotherapist. If these treatments aren’t effective, your GP may prescribe stronger anti-inflammatory medications.
Moderate to severe groin pain may need further treatment. A broken bone in your groin or an inguinal hernia may need surgery. If your groin pain is caused by tissues that are persistently inflamed or permanently damaged by a health condition or old injury, physiotherapy may help.
Should I go to A&E for female groin pain?
In most cases, groin pain is not serious. However, if you are in severe pain or you have groin pain after an accident or injury, it is important to seek urgent medical attention. Hip fractures can cause sharp groin pain and often need surgery to stabilise the broken bone.
When should I worry about groin pain?
If you are in severe groin pain, your groin pain is getting worse or you have signs of an infection (ie fever, chills, redness in your groin area), then it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible.
Why does the top of my groin hurt?
There are many different causes of groin pain, including hernia, cysts, enlarged lymph nodes, urinary tract infections, inflammation of the joints in your pelvis and damage to any of the muscles, ligaments or tendons in your groin area. See your GP to get a diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
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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