What Are the Groin Lymph Nodes?

Urethra cancer may result in groin lymph nodes enlargement.
Some of the most common causes of swelling in the lymph nodes of the groin are sexually transmitted diseases.
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  • Written By: Dulce Corazon
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 14 October 2014
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Lymph nodes are small organs shaped like beans that are scattered in many parts of the body. They play an important role in the body's ability to fight infection by filtering lymph fluid and storing cells that can trap bacteria and even cancer cells. The nodes located between the trunk of the body and the inner section of the thighs are called groin lymph nodes or inguinal lymph nodes.

Lymphadenopathy is the swelling of the lymph nodes, and sudden pain and swelling are often signs that there is an infection near the affected area. Some of the most common causes of swelling in the lymph nodes of the groin are sexually transmitted diseases, like syphilis and gonorrhea, or infections in the lower abdominal area, the back, or the legs. Most of these infections are usually accompanied by fever. Inflammation of the prostate or the large intestines can also affect the lymph nodes in this region.

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Many patients with certain blood cancers, such as Hodgkin's lymphoma or non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, may experience an enlargement in the lymph nodes in various parts of their bodies, including in the groin. Lymphoma is a cancer that involves the white blood cells (WBC), also known as lymphocytes, which protect the body against the invasion of foreign substances, such as bacteria, toxins, and viruses. The swelling of the lymph nodes in lymphoma is usually gradual and may not be associated with pain, except in cases where the enlarged nodes are putting pressure on a nerve. Other symptoms of this condition include weight loss, fever, and weakness.

Cancer of the urethra may also result in groin lymph nodes enlargement. The urethra is the tube through which urine passes when someone urinates. Symptoms also include problems in urine flow, passing bloody urine, and discharge from the urethra.

A patient who is ill and goes to see a medical professional may have his or her lymph nodes felt after the healthcare practitioner reviews his or her concerns and medical history. During the physical exam, the medical professional may note of the size and firmness of the swollen glands. Some blood tests may also be done to help in the diagnosis.

Swollen lymph nodes usually aren't treated directly, but the underlying cause will typically be addressed. When an infection is found, patients are usually given antibiotics and other medications to provide relief from other symptoms. A cancer diagnosis may need a more complex approach, depending frequently on the type and stage of the cancer.

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Fa5t3r
Post 3

@MrsPramm - At the same time, you don't want to panic over nothing. There are all sorts of reasons people might have sore spots in that area and it doesn't have to be cancer.

It's very possible to pull a muscle there and mistake it for inflamed groin lymph nodes, since it's basically the same symptoms.

Best thing to do, if there's a problem and it doesn't go away after a few days, is to take it to a doctor. But don't panic. It's almost certainly going to turn out to be nothing. You just have to make sure that you get tested in case it's not.

MrsPramm
Post 2

@Iluviaporos - I don't think it's any more painful than having them tested elsewhere, but it would probably be more embarrassing. I've had skin cancer tests around that area and it's hard to keep your cool when the doctor is snipping bits of skin from down there.

I was lucky, but it is something to consider. You don't always get cancer in the most obvious places.

lluviaporos
Post 1

From what I've heard when my mother was being treated for cancer, the lymph nodes are often the second place to get cancer, once it starts to spread. And if they get it, because the lymph system goes throughout the body, they can speed the spread elsewhere.

My mother had a melanoma and her doctors were worried they hadn't caught it in time to stop it spreading to other parts of her body. So, they tested the lymph nodes near where she had the original cancer removed. But, thankfully, the nodes were clear.

It must be even worse when they have to test the lymph nodes in the groin, since that's already a sensitive area.

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