There are hundreds of lymph nodes throughout the body that go unnoticed as they quietly do their job of filtering lymph. The lymph system is part of the immune system, and when it becomes overloaded, it can result in swollen lymph nodes. The location of enlarged lymph nodes will vary depending on the cause.

When there are painful lymph nodes in the groin (inguinal lymph nodes) it can be caused by a simple infection that the body is fighting or by something more serious like cancer. Only a doctor can determine the cause of painful and swollen lymph nodes in the groin. While fighting the cause, the pain and discomfort can be treated (Swollen Lymph Nodes – Icon: External Link).

What Are Groin Lymph Nodes?

The lymph nodes in the groin filter and drain lymph from the genitals, feet, legs, and groin. The nodes are filled with white blood cells known as lymphocytes that fight infection. When there is a minor infection, there may be a slight swelling and minimally painful lymph nodes in the groin. The swelling and pain will pass when the infection is gone. When the lymph nodes remain swollen, enlarged, painful, or continue to grow, it may by a symptom of a serious health condition that may need medical attention.

Additional Information – Swollen Lymph Nodes


Some of the causes of painful lymph nodes in the groin include minor causes like an allergic reaction (Guidelines: For Allergy Prevention and Response Icon: External Link) or a minor infection of the lower extremities or groin area. More serious health issues can also cause painful lymph nodes. Some of the minor causes include the following:

  1. Allergic reaction
  2. Infection on feet or legs
  3. Pelvic region infection
  4. Drug reaction
  5. Benign cyst

Sexually transmitted diseases (STD) can cause the lymph nodes in the groin to swell and become painful. Some STDs are minor and can be treated easily. Other STDs, like AIDS and HIV are more serious. Some infections are also more serious than others, like an MRSA infection. Other serious causes of painful lymph nodes in the groin include the following:

  1. Testicular cancer
  2. Lymphoma
  3. Infected Lymph Node (Lymphadenitis)
  4. Cancer in the pelvic area or lower extremities
  5. Hernia
  6. Lipomas (Fatty growths)

A healthcare professional can do tests and exams to diagnose the cause of swollen, painful inguinal (groin) lymph nodes. While the cause is being treated, the pain and tenderness can be relieved.


While the cause of painful lymph nodes in the groin are being treated, it may take some time before the lymph nodes return to normal size, and the pain is gone. The following can help relieve the pain:

  1. Over the counter pain relievers
  2. Warm compresses
  3. Prescription anti-inflammatory
  4. Message therapy

When treatment of the cause of the tender or painful lymph nodes is successful, the lymph node will return to its former size and no longer be painful.

Painful lymph nodes in the groin should not be ignored. A healthcare professional should do an exam, tests, and maybe even a biopsy to determine the cause because it could be a symptom of a serious health issue like cancer or MRSA.