Cover image for groin pain and hernia

Common people have a hard time differentiating between pain in the groin area due to a groin strain or hernia.

Dr. Vaibhav Kapoor, General Surgeon at Pristyn Care says, “I often come across patients who are unable to make out the difference between these conditions”. 


This inability to make differences results in the delaying of the treatment which eventually results in the condition becoming life-threatening.

Hence, here’s a guide that can help you distinguish pain due to hernia from that of a groin strain.

What is Groin Pain?

Similar to any other muscle pain, groin pain generally occurs due to groin strain. This is the pain you experience when one of the muscles in the groin ruptures or tears during movement. This is one of the most common injuries that athletes suffer from.

What are the symptoms of Groin Pain?

Some of the common symptoms people with groin strain report are-

  • Difficulty in lifting legs or climbing the stairs
  • Pain and tenderness around the groin area
  • Difficulty in stretching or squeezing the thighs

What are the causes of Groin Pain?

You are more likely to suffer from a groin pain when you are performing a high-speed leg movement. Sudden, twisting movements or change in direction, such as a quick turn can sometimes overstretch or tear one of the groin muscles or tendons. 

Other factors that can contribute to pulled groins are- hip muscle strength, condition, flexibility, and other previous injuries.

What is Hernia?

In a hernia, an organ pushes through an opening in a muscle or tissue inside the abdomen. 

A hernia can occur in various parts of the body, the most common being in the abdomen, groins or chest area. Based on the location of a hernia, it is of four types-

  • Hiatal- Develops in the chest area (Also Read: Food Guide For Hiatal Hernia Patients)
  • Umbilical- Develops in the navel area 
  • Inguinal hernia- Develops around the groin area 
  • Incisional hernia- Develops around an incision of a prior surgery

Also Read: What is A Femoral Hernia?

What are the symptoms of Hernia?

Hernia remains asymptomatic until it gets complicated. The growing size of hernia leads to chronic pain and discomfort. Some common symptoms of hernia to look out for are-

  • Ache or burning sensation around the bulge
  • Pain near the lump while lifting heavy weights or coughing
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Chest pain 
  • Acid reflux

When people experience severe symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, pain, acid reflux, it indicates the hernia is strangulated. Such a condition requires immediate medical attention.

What are the causes of Hernia?

The primary cause of developing a hernia is an increase in the abdominal pressure that results in the protrusion of organs from its place. There are some risk factors that increase the chances of developing a hernia-

How to differentiate between Groin Pain and Hernia Pain?

People often tend to confuse groin pain with that of a symptom of an inguinal hernia. The reason being that the location of both symptoms is the same- groin. 

Here are a few factors that can help you in differentiating in both these conditions.

Groin StrainHernia
LocationThis occurs when a particular type of muscle in the thighs tears.A hernia generally occurs in the groin, navel, abdominal area or incisional area of prior surgery.
Symptoms Pain and swelling in addition to limitations in movements.Remains asymptomatic until it becomes complicated. Symptoms of a complicated hernia include- bowel obstruction, constipation, pain, and vomiting.
Diagnosis Based on clinical findings and findings of imaging tests.Based on clinical findings including- asking the patient to cough as well as touching the lump to check tenderness- findings of imaging tests.


Is the treatment for Groin Pain and Hernia the Same?

If you are experiencing pain around the groin area or feeling a bulge around the groins, then visit a doctor as soon as possible. At the clinic, the doctor will perform a physical examination. 


During the physical examination, the doctor might ask you questions related to your medical history. The doctor may even suggest some imaging tests also. 

Treatment of Groin Pain

After the diagnosis of groin pain, the doctor prescribes taking proper rest along with applying ice and compression wraps. To curb the pain and inflammation, he/she may also prescribe some anti-inflammatory medicines. 

Some cases of groin pain are severe. Hence, as soon as you recover, consult with a physical therapist who can recommend exercises to strengthen the abdominal and thigh muscles

Treatment of Hernia

The most effective treatment option of hernia is laparoscopic hernia repair. In this procedure, the general surgeon puts back the displaces tissues back to its original position with the help of a laparoscope. With the help of this specialized instrument, the doctor maneuvers inside the abdomen and puts back the tissues. After this, the doctor seals off the incisions with dissolvable stitches. 

The patient recovers faster after laparoscopic surgery than traditional open surgeries. Moreover, the success rate is also higher. 

Read more: Benefits of laparoscopic hernia repair over traditional hernia repair.


Groin pain or hernia, one thing is certain- treatment should not be delayed. A condition such as a hernia should not be left untreated as it can worsen over time. There are various treatment options for a hernia. Amongst these possible treatment options, the most effective treatment for a hernia is laparoscopic treatment. 

Owing to its several benefits, the laparoscopic hernia treatment has emerged as one of the most preferred treatments opted by the people.

If you have a groin pain due to a hernia, call us today to know the benefits of laparoscopic hernia repair. You can also visit your nearest Pristyn Care clinics to discuss. 

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