I have groin pain; do I have a hernia?
Pain in the groin is a common sign of hernia, but groin pain can be caused by other health conditions.
Though most of the time with a hernia people notice only a bulge, lump, or swelling in the groin and have absolutely no pain or symptoms at all, groin pain is also a very common symptom for groin hernias (inguinal and femoral) as noted in the "What are the symptoms of a hernia?" section on our site. Groin hernias have a prevalence of approximately 1700 per 100,000 individuals for all ages and 4000 per 100,000 for those aged over 45 years worldwide. They make up 90% of hernias in men and 40% of hernias is women.
Intermittent or persistent discomfort or pain in the groin area is most often from an inguinal hernia, which is not only the most common hernia, but is the most common of the groin hernias. All inguinal hernias are groin hernias, but not all groin hernias are inguinal hernias. See the section on "What are the different types of hernias?"
But groin pain can be caused by other health conditions, including hip pathology (such as arthritis or a fracture), lymphadenopathy (swollen lymph nodes), appendicitis (right side), diverticulitis (left side), kidney stones, groin strain (torn muscle), various tumors and cancers, and even ovarian pathology in women (like ovarian cyst or ruptured cyst) and ovarian torsion (twisted ovary). One important differentiator for hernias specifically is the visible or palpable (can be felt) bulge or lump, typically on one side, that either comes or goes, or can be pushed in. It is not uncommon for patients to report that they see of feel the bulge when they stand up or strain, but when they lay down it tends to go away. Along the same lines, a patient often will notice that they note the bulge during the day, and often it gets larger or becomes more uncomfortable by the end of the day, but it isn't there when they wake up in the morning. Then it comes back again when they get up, or after they have been up on their feet for a period of time. Some patients notice that the bulge is more pronounced or becomes more symptomatic when they cough, sneeze, strain, bend over, or lift a heavy object. As noted, the bulge typically occurs on one side or the other, but occasionally you can have a "bilateral hernia," which means that you have a hernia on both sides at the same time (a double hernia). This can happen because the presence of one often indicates that you may be prone to have hernias.
Hernia surgeons, like us at AHS, are typically able to evaluate you and make the proper diagnosis. For all of these reasons, if you are experiencing groin pain, it is very important that you be seen by a physician so that the cause of your pain can be identified and treated appropriately. If we identify a cause of your pain that is not a hernia, we will take any steps necessary to expedite getting you an appointment with a physician who specializes in the treatment of that condition.
If you have groin pain, you shouldn't ignore it. See your primary care doctor or come and see us. Many causes of groin pain, including hernias, can be very dangerous and should be evaluated.
What should I do if I have groin pain?
Come and see us at Advanced Hernia Specialists, spend time exploring our website, or just give us a call to learn more. We have the most experience and are considered experts in the field of hernia surgery. We perform hernia repairs almost every day. We are committed to delivering excellent care and the best patient outcomes possible, with a less than 1% recurrence rate (chance of coming back) for most hernias, which is much lower than that of most other surgeons. We offer the most cost-effective options for patients who are paying out of pocket, as well as the most advanced laparoscopic, minimally invasive, and robotic surgical techniques for hernia repair.