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Groin Pain in Women

Groin Pain in Women
While men, as well as women, may suffer from groin pain, the causes for it can vary considerably between the two sexes. In the following write-up, we discuss the causes of groin pain in women, the methods used to diagnose it, and the treatment that can be provided to cure it.
Rutuja Jathar
Last Updated: Jan 25, 2018
The groin area is prone to injury due to rigorous movements, muscle pulls or even accidents. Besides these, pain in this area can also be caused by numerous internal factors.

While mild groin injuries tend to heal on their own, special medical attention is required for cases that lead to severe groin pain, which can cause a lot of discomfort while walking, sitting, and even sleeping.

In women, groin pain can be caused by certain medical conditions like inguinal hernia, kidney stones, and ovarian cysts. Sports activities and road accidents are also major causes of groin pain in women.

Etiology for Pain in the Groin

Pain due to various infections
Cellulitis - This is an inflammation of the body tissues, and usually occurs beneath the skin. It is followed by swelling, fever, and pain.

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) - It is a known fact that women are more prone to developing UTI, one of the effects of which is groin pain. In fact, UTI is known to be one of the most common causes for female groin pain.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) - Individuals with genital herpes, gonorrhea, chlamydia, etc., may experience some degree of groin pain.

Infections in the Groin and Loin Region - Certain bacterial infections may cause swellings and lumps in the groin/loin area, causing pain. Besides, formation of an abscess in the groin region due to some condition, leg infection, etc., are a few other reasons for such pain.

Pain due to any kind of injury
Groin Injury - Groin pain can result from a direct blow to the groin region, or falling in a way that hurts the area. In case of athletes, hyper-extension of the groin muscles might lead to a sprain in the groin, causing severe pain. Tearing or straining any muscle near the hip joint may also lead to groin pain.

Bursitis - Inflammation of bursa sac, which is a cushion for the hip joint, could cause pain to radiate to the groin.

Arthritis - This is a condition in which the joints in the body get inflamed. It is characterized by swelling, stiffness, and pain. Trauma, degenerative changes, infections, or metabolic perturbations, are a few causes that might lead to arthritis.

Osteitis Pubis - Osteosclerosis of the pubic bone, i.e. the cartilage that connects the front bones of the pelvis, gets inflamed or ruptured.

Referred Pain - Pain or injury in other body parts may radiate toward the groin, and thereby cause pain. This is known as referred pain or radiating pain. For instance, the pain caused by a pulled back, thigh or leg muscle, and ligament injury, may radiate towards the groin and result in pain.

Pain due to other causes
Pregnancy - During pregnancy, certain hormonal changes occur that increase slackness of the pelvic joints. Hence, women are more likely to develop groin pain during pregnancy. Groin pain is known to occur in various stages of pregnancy. Some women might also experience pain in the lower back, genital area, upper thighs, and hip joints.

Presence of Kidney Stones - An individual may experience severe groin pain if she has kidney stones, and when the stone passes through the ureter.

Ovarian cysts - Another leading cause of groin pain is the presence of ovarian cysts, which in some cases may be severe, and result in groin pain and several other symptoms.

Enlargement of Lymph Node - A swollen lymph node as a result of an infection in the groin area also leads to severe groin pain.

Hernia - This is a condition wherein a bodily structure bulges out through a weak spot in a body cavity.

Other causes for groin pain may include ischemia, spasms, inflammation or infection of the large intestine, specific pelvic problems like pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and ectopic pregnancy, severe back pain and spine injuries, all of which can result in a dull or severe pain in the groin region.

Diagnostic Options
There are various techniques that a physician might utilize in order to diagnose the exact reason behind the groin pain. He will check for the duration the individual has had the pain, its severity, and for symptoms that are common to this kind of pain. The following are some of the tests that help the physician in finding the exact cause of the groin pain.

Physical Tests
The physician will first observe the affected area for any kind of swelling. He might make the patient perform certain abrupt exhaling exercises to see if a swelling or a cyst appears when pressure is applied on the groin area. Determination of a groin lump helps the physician determine the type of pain, and see if it is due to inguinal hernia, an abscess, or any other cause. The doctor will also examine the lymph nodes, the back, and the hips.

Radiological Examination
Pelvic and lumbar X-rays
Doppler test -- to determine the direction, turbulence, and velocity of blood flow
CT scans of the pubic symphysis, and pyelograms (X-ray of kidney and ureters) to detect kidney stones

Other Tests
Full blood count
The erythrocyte sedimentation rate test (ESR)
Electrolytes and renal function tests
Urine culture, urinalysis, and microscopic urine tests
A swab culture to diagnose a syphilitic ulcer, genital herpes or chancroid (infectious venereal ulcer)

Treatment Options
Treatment for groin pain depends upon the results of the various tests performed. Specific drugs and medications are available based on the cause of the pain. Medication will be suggested with respect to the symptoms, the severity, and the duration of the pain. In certain cases, such as the presence of ovarian cysts or an inguinal hernia, surgery may be required. Individuals suffering from groin pain for a long period of time should immediately consult a physician. A timely checkup, diagnosis, and good medical follow-up, can aid in fast recovery from groin pain.

Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and does not in any way attempt to replace the advice offered by a medical professional.
Expecting mother looks out window
Film x-ray human's pelvis and arthritis at both hip joint