Female groin pain

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. 

Left female groin pain

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.

Right female groin pain

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.

What causes groin pain in women?

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

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: 

  • Bloating
  • Feeling pressure in your groin 
  • Sudden, sharp, severe pain if your cyst ruptures — this is a medical emergency
  • Swelling

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

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.

Inguinal hernias

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.

Femoral hernias

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.


Treatments for groin pain in women

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. 

Female groin pain FAQs

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. 

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.