Why does my groin hurt?

January 25, 2017

There are many causes of groin pain in men (as any episode of the Three Stooges can attest). Some are nothing to be concerned about, while others are a sign that you should see a urologist right away.

One cause is very obvious – trauma to the scrotal area will cause groin pain. Any kind of muscle, tendon, or ligament injury can contribute to groin pain. We see this most commonly in our athletes. Sometimes back related injuries can cause something called sciatica which can radiate to the groin. In urology, most of the time groin pain is caused by testicular disorders, kidney stones, and prostate issues.

Several different testicular disorders can cause groin pain. Examples would be a hydrocele, which involves a fluid buildup around the testicles that causes scrotal swelling, or a varicocele, which is an enlargement of the scrotal veins which can lead to a “heavy” feeling in the scrotum and can radiate pain to the groin area. Infections such as epididymitis (inflammation of the epididymis) and orchitis (inflammation of the testicle) can also contribute to groin pain. We also see many patient with inguinal hernias, in which soft tissue bulges through a weak point in the abdominal muscles. We typically refer these patients to a general surgeon for further evaluation.

Retractile testes, where the testicle retracts up into the abdominal cavity can cause some groin tenderness. 

Two severe causes of pain are testicular torsion, where the testicle twists itself and cuts off the blood supply, and testicular cancer. Both of these situations require immediate medical attention.

When kidney stones are in the upper ureter, they are known to cause upper back and abdominal pain. As they move down the ureter and become closer to the bladder, they can cause pain in the lower back, groin, and testicle. Kidney stones typically are very painful and have an acute onset of pain. If you think you have a kidney stone, please make an appointment to see us.

The prostate is a small gland that sits under the bladder in men. The urethra goes through the middle of the prostate. The prostate secretes fluid that protects the sperm in the vagina during conception. As men age, the prostate continues to secrete this fluid, but will also grow in size depending on genetics. This is usually when we see men with a weak urine stream having to push and strain to urinate and complain of getting up frequently to urinate. The prostate, like any other gland, can become infected or inflamed. This is called prostatitis. Prostatitis can present with pain radiating to the groin. Sometimes men will also have other symptoms such as burning with urination, pain at the tip of the penis, and the feeling of sitting on a golf ball.

There are many scrotal and testicular issues that can cause groin pain. If you have been experiencing any of these symptoms see your physician. You can make an appointment online at Austin Urology Institute by clicking here.