10 Common Causes of Groin Pain in Men

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Not sure why your hips, lower back, and groin hurt? There are several conditions linked to persistent groin pain in men. If examined closely, the reason can go beyond a pulled muscle, and if you don’t get it checked or seek medical attention, that pain and whatever is causing it may worsen.

To help you get a full grasp of what’s at risk, here are ten possible reasons behind pelvic discomfort.

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

UTIs are common in women, but men get them too. It’s an infection caused by an unhealthy bacteria buildup anywhere in the urinary tract.

dr andrew dutton common causes of groin pain in men urinary tract infection

Doctors usually identify them as “upper tract” or “lower tract” infections. The first involves the ureters and kidneys, while the second affects the bladder, prostate and urethra. Your symptoms will vary depending on the area that is infected.

UTI symptoms often include pelvic pain, and it’s also associated with: 

  • Pelvic pressure
  • Painful urination
  • Frequent urge to urinate
  • Bloody urine

Cystitis

Cystitis is a bacterial infection of the bladder or the lower urinary tract. It comes in different types based on what causes it. As such, it is either called:

  • Bacterial cystitis
  • Drug-induced cystitis
  • Foreign body cystitis
  • Chemical cystitis
  • Radiation cystitis
 

Symptoms vary depending on the type of cystitis a person has. Typically, it includes pelvic pain, frequent urination, strong-smelling urine, and an intense urge to urinate.

Male infections tend to worsen compared to those in females. Infections can be aggravated by underlying conditions such as a prostate infection, a urinary tract obstruction, prostate enlargement or cancer.

Prostatitis

Your prostate is a walnut-sized gland that sits in front of your rectum and below the bladder. Prostatitis is an infection that causes pain and inflammation in those areas. Due to its proximity to the urinary tract, it’s also linked to UTIs.

There are different types of prostatitis, but the most common is Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome (CPPS). It causes constant pain in the pelvis, perineum (the area between the scrotum and rectum) and the genitals.

Treating UTIs right away can prevent any infection from spreading to the prostate. If sitting can cause pain to your perineum, see your doctor immediately. Early intervention also prevents it from progressing into chronic pelvic pain syndrome.

Urinary Stones

Kidney stones are hard mineral deposits that cause excruciating pain when it goes down the ureter (the tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder). The discomfort may radiate to the pelvis, abdomen or groin.

It’s relatively common in both sexes, but renal stones are more likely to develop in men. Research shows that nearly 11% of males will experience a kidney stone, versus just 6% of females.

The symptoms and pain levels can vary, and the size of the stone isn’t necessarily a measure of how much pain it will cause. But you should see a doctor if you experience any of the following:

  • Pain that doesn’t go away with over-the-counter pain medications 
  • Fever and chills
  • Blood in the urine 
  • Distress that leads to nausea and vomiting
  • Pain while urinating

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)

BPH is also a condition that is common in older men. It’s a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland associated with pain in the lower abdomen and pelvis.

The prostate is located directly beneath the bladder and in front of the rectum. An enlargement puts pressure on the urethra and bladder, leading to painful urination, constant urge to urinate, weak urine stream, smelly urine, and pain after ejaculation.

The symptoms of an enlarged prostate may come and go. As a result, most men wait several months or even years before seeing a doctor.

Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI)

Sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia or gonorrhoea can also cause groin pain in men. However, these conditions are often asymptomatic in their early stages, and it takes weeks or months before symptoms like pain, penile discharges and itching are observed.

The only way to know if you have an STI is to get tested. Having no symptoms doesn’t mean that you’re negative. An early diagnosis is crucial in preventing complications such as long-term pelvic pain.

Chlamydia and gonorrhoea are both bacterial infections, for which doctors may prescribe one or two antibiotics treatment. In addition, you and your partner should undergo treatment to prevent reinfection.

Appendicitis

Appendicitis is the inflammation or infection of a small, finger-shaped sac that’s attached to your large intestine. It’s usually associated with severe right-sided pelvic or abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and fever. It also gets worse when you cough or sneeze.

A proper assessment can rule out other conditions with similar symptoms such as IBS, constipation, gastroenteritis or pelvic infection. Without prompt treatment, an inflamed appendix may rupture, which requires emergency surgery.

dr andrew dutton common causes of groin pain in men apendicitis

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Pelvic pain is a dominant symptom of IBS, a gastrointestinal disorder that affects large intestine function, causing digestive issues. People with IBS use different descriptors to explain how the pain feels. For them, it can be cramping, aching, sharp, stabbing or throbbing in nature. It can be felt anywhere in the abdomen (belly), specifically in the pelvic region. The chronic pain associated with IBS does not indicate structural damage, like ulcers. But the pain is just as real. Doctors may recommend diet and lifestyle changes to provide relief and medications to control other symptoms.

Hernia

dr andrew dutton common causes of groin pain in men hernia

An inguinal hernia usually affects adult males whose abdominal muscles have weakened. As a result, the intestines, fat and other contents of the abdomen are bulging through the lower abdominal wall and even the groin area.

The lump isn’t always painful but some people may feel dull pain when they cough, bend over or lift heavy objects. It can also cause groin weakness or a burning sensation in the area. If the pain intensifies quickly and the bulge turns red or purple, seek medical care immediately.

Pelvic Fracture

A pelvic fracture is a break in any part of the pelvic bone, usually due to high energy trauma. It can cause considerable pain, even when you sit or lie down. In severe forms, this injury can lead to a lifelong disability, which can be life-threatening.

In younger males, sports is the common reason for pelvic fractures. But among the elderly, falls are the usual culprits for broken hips. In addition, the likelihood of these injuries increases in this demographic due to bone degeneration.

The main symptom is a pain in the groin, hip or lower back, which worsens when you move your legs. You may also feel discomfort if the muscles, tendons, ligaments and soft tissues that support the hip joint are damaged. If it’s the socket of the hip joint that is damaged, a person can be disabled permanently.

There’s a range of treatments for fractures depending on the extent of damage and the patient’s age. Some may only require pain relievers and rest, while others need an external device or surgery to immobilise the pelvis.

To know more about other causes of hip pain, here’s a quick word from Dr Andrew Dutton:

Hip pain requires proper diagnosis, especially when you are experiencing the 10 symptoms we’ve mentioned above. With that, doctors can run tests to rule out other conditions or injuries with similar symptoms.

For groin pain in men that stems from musculoskeletal injuries, it’s advisable to get it checked as soon as possible, primarily if it’s disrupting your daily activities.  You can get in touch with Dr Andrew Dutton for an evaluation. Give us a call at (+65) 6836 8000.

Dr Andrew Quoc Dutton Orthopaedic & Sports Clinic Insurance


The Dr Andrew Quoc Dutton Orthopaedic & Sports Clinic offers minimally invasive and surgical treatments for sports-related injuries and orthopaedic conditions.

To aid in the expenses that you may incur, we accept a number of corporate and international insurance. If you have any of the insurance plans below, please let us know when you book an appointment with us. If you need further assistance, you may drop us an e-mail at info@eliteortho.com.sg or call us at (+65) 6836 8000.

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About Dr Andrew Quoc Dutton

Dr. Dutton has been in clinical practice since 1996 after graduating from Marist College, Canberra and the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. Dr. Dutton has worked at the Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney and the St. George Hospital, Sydney before completing his orthopaedic surgery training in Singapore.

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