Swollen lymph nodes in the groin – that’s what’s behind it!

Swollen lymph nodes in the groin - that's what's behind it!

Swollen lymph nodes can appear anywhere on the body. With some diseases, however, they occur particularly frequently in the groin – on one or both sides. Which diseases are these, and what are the typical symptoms besides the swelling of the lymph nodes? And are there different triggers in women and men? We present possible causes of swollen lymph nodes in the groin.

Swelling of the lymph nodes as a reaction of the immune system

The lymph nodes or lymph glands are used to filter the lymph fluid, also called lymph. This runs through the body and absorbs toxins, foreign bodies or pathogens. This includes bacteria and viruses. If these are in the lymph, the immune system develops a subgroup of white blood cells (lymphocytes) in the lymph nodes and releases them into the blood.

A swelling of the lymph nodes indicates that the immune system was confronted with foreign bodies at this point and that antibodies are developing there, multiplying and then being passed on to the blood.


Swollen lymph nodes in the groin

There are a vast number of lymph nodes in the groin. For this reason, general infections (e.g. a cold or flu ) are often noticeable with swollen lymph nodes in the groin. The same applies to the lymph glands in the neck, armpits or ears. The lymph nodes are usually sensitive to pain if they swell as an immune system reaction.

In addition, swollen lymph nodes in the groin can indicate diseases in this body area. Below, you can find out which diseases, among others, are suitable for this.

Infections in the legs or feet

Infections in the legs or feet can lead to swollen lymph nodes in the groin. Possible causes are, for example, skin diseases, skin injuries or inflammation in this area. Operations, for example, on the knee, can also lead to lymph node swelling, which then sometimes only occurs on one side.


Diseases of the pelvis and groin

Diseases in the pelvic and groin area can also trigger swelling of the lymph nodes in this area.

Urinary tract infection

Diseases of the urinary tract are much more common in women than in men due to the shorter urethra, which means that bacteria can get into the urinary tract more easily. The urinary tract infections include, for example, inflammation of the ureters and the urinary bladder ( cystitis ).

Common symptoms are painful urination and an increased urge to urinate, as well as cloudy urine. If the upper urinary tract is affected, i.e. the renal pelvis, symptoms such as fever, nausea, or flank pain can also occur.

Other diseases in the pelvic area

In addition to urinary tract infections, other pelvic conditions can also cause swelling of the lymph nodes in the groin. These include appendicitis, inflammation of the fallopian tubes or ovaries and diseases of the prostate. Abscesses can also cause swollen lymph nodes.



hernia is particularly common in men. Swollen lymph nodes and a soft bulge in the groin manifest as an inguinal hernia. There is also pain in the groin area.

STDs as a cause

Sexually transmitted diseases can become noticeable through palpable, painful lymph nodes in the groin area. What are they, and what typical symptoms can still occur?

Chlamydia and gonorrhoea (gonorrhea)

Bacteria from the Chlamydiaceae family cause chlamydia, while Neisseria gonorrhoeae causes gonorrhoea. Both diseases often cause hardly any symptoms and often go unnoticed.

However, possible signs in both men and women can include painful urination and unusual discharge. Women can also suffer from bleeding between periods or pain in the abdomen, and men can experience pain in the testicles.



Syphilis is also an infection caused by bacteria. The first symptoms can appear ten days to three months after infection. First, a small, reddish nodule develops at the site of infection, which later develops into an ulcer about two centimetres in size with a hard edge. At the same time, nearby lymph nodes swell. After this stage of the disease, there are other symptoms such as fever, skin rashes and hair loss.

Genital herpes

Herpes simplex viruses cause infection. In addition to the swelling of the lymph nodes in the groin, there is itching, burning reddening of the skin in the genital area, purulent blisters and fever, headache and body aches. Problems with urination can also occur.

Serious illnesses

In rare cases, more severe diseases such as thrombosis, tuberculosis or a tumour can also trigger swollen lymph nodes in the groin. In tumours of the lymphatic system, the lymph nodes are swollen but usually not sensitive to pain. In addition, the swelling lasts for a more extended period, and accompanying symptoms usually occur.


Lymph node swelling in the groin: when should you see a doctor?

Therefore, Medical advice should always be sought in the case of severe symptoms and lymph node swelling that has persisted for weeks without any other symptoms. Even if symptoms such as fever, weight loss or night sweats occur, you should see a doctor to be on the safe side.

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