Inguinal lymph nodes are more commonly known as groin nodes (glands). A significant issue during any swelling, due to the location, both men and women (especially men) avoid having these nodes checked by their health care professional.

For many, the swelling will go away without treatment, but for serious conditions, it is important for prompt medical care.

Inguinal lymph nodes location is on the upper leg and the lower pelvic area connecting along the crease. Also known as the femoral lymph nodes.

Areas of The Body It FiltersInguinal Lymph Nodes

The lymph glands (nodes) are as small as a pea or sometimes as large as a small olive and are bean-shaped. Lymphatic fluid is circulated through the body and passes through the hundreds of lymph nodes located throughout the body. The inguinal (groin) lymph nodes filter lymphatic fluid that drains the following:

  • Feet
  • Genitals
  • Groin
  • Legs

The lymphatic (Lymph Node System) removes and filters debris from the body. The infection-fighting white blood cells are located in the lymph nodes are known as lymphocytes. The lymph nodes can become overloaded doing their job; this will cause the lymph glands and lymph gland groups to become enlarged and swollen in the groin area.

What Are The Causes of Swelling

Swelling may be from an injury in the area, and the swelling will go down when the injury heals. Localized infection can also cause swelling of the groin lymph glands. When the swelling persists or is accompanied by other symptoms, you should contact a medical health care professional (Tips for Talking to Your Doctor Icon: External Link). The following may cause enlarged lymph nodes in the groin:

  • Allergic reaction
  • Cancer (Lymphoma)
  • Drug reaction
  • Benign cyst
  • Hernia
  • Infections in the legs, feet, or pelvic area
  • Fatty growths (Lipomas)
  • STDs (sexually transmitted diseases)

What About Pain In The Inguinal Lymph Node?

Painful inguinal nodes could be caused by minor reasons 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.

When Should You See A Doctor?

When the lymph nodes in the groin begin to swell for no apparent reason and don’t return to normal size within two weeks; it is recommended to see a health care professional. If any other negative symptoms like night sweat, fever, weight loss, and difficulty swallowing are present, visiting a health care professional is highly recommended. Remember to note when the swelling was first noticed and all other symptoms that are present for an accurate diagnosis. Cancer is not a common cause of swollen lymph glands in the groin, but if cancer is the cause, prompt treatment will increase your chances of survival.

Additional Information – Swollen Lymph Nodes

Understanding The Possible Treatment

A health care professional will examine the swollen nodes in the groin and then with the information you provide determine if further testing is needed. Treatment for the injury, infection, or disease will usually cause the lymph glands to return to normal. Sometimes a biopsy may be done to find out more information about the cause of the swelling and to choose the appropriate treatment.


Most lymph glands in the groin area and other areas will do their job and then return to normal size, which is about the size of a pea. If this doesn’t happen, you will want to get a medical examination of the lymph nodes.