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The “groin” generally refers to a group of muscles and structures below the stomach and near the hips. Pain on the right side of the groin may signal a problem with the muscles in this area, the reproductive organs, or the lower digestive tract.
The groin includes the pelvis and reproductive organs, as well as the muscles that stabilize the hips and pelvis.
In this article, we look at what can cause a female to experience pain in the right side of the groin, when to seek professional care, and which treatments can help.
Sometimes, right-sided groin pain results from an injury to a muscle in the hip, groin, or lower abdomen.
A common cause of this pain is an injury to one or more adductor muscles, which sit in the inner thigh.
A person might strain or otherwise injure one of these muscles due to a fall or an activity that twists the body into an unusual position.
The pain can be severe and worsen with movement.
A doctor may recommend:
- pain relief medication, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including ibuprofen (Advil)
If the injury is severe, surgery may be necessary.
A 2019 scientific overview reports that most ovarian cysts resolve without medical intervention and that most people who have them are unaware of the fact.
However, some ovarian cysts can cause dull pain in the lower abdomen, and if a cyst ruptures, it can cause sudden pain.
Also, if the cysts are large, they can push against the bladder or bowel, causing swelling, a sensation of pressure, and pain during urination.
Most ovarian cysts do not require treatment or surgery. If the pain is dull, over-the-counter medication, such as NSAIDs, can help.
For some people, doctors prescribe stronger pain relief medication or birth control to help prevent ovulation and the development of ovarian cysts.
A person may need surgery if an ovarian cyst:
- remains for an extended period
- becomes larger
- causes pain that is difficult to manage
If pain in the abdomen or groin is intense or accompanies a fever, a racing heart, or weakness, seek emergency medical care. This can indicate a twisted ovary, in which case surgery is necessary.
Problems with the pelvic floor muscles can cause a wide range of symptoms, including groin or hip pain.
Pelvic floor disorders can develop when the muscles and connective tissue in the area weaken — due to childbirth, age, surgery, or obesity, for example.
There are many of these disorders and their symptoms vary, but common symptoms can include:
- pain during sex
- a feeling of heaviness in the abdomen
- a bulge around the vagina
- a frequent urge to urinate
- difficulty emptying the bladder
Pelvic floor physical therapy, including exercises, can help. Sometimes, people also require surgery to repair damaged tissue.
Overall, the right treatment approach depends on the type of pelvic floor disorder.
Appendicitis refers to inflammation and infection of the appendix.
A person first experiences pain near the belly button. The pain later extends to the lower right side of the abdomen, just above the hips and groin.
The pain can begin suddenly and worsen when the person moves, takes a deep breath, or sneezes.
Other symptoms can include:
- a loss of appetite
- an inability to pass gas
- abdominal swelling
- a low fever
If a person does not receive treatment, the appendix can rupture, causing bleeding, damage to the intestines, and death.
For most cases of appendicitis, doctors recommend surgery to remove the appendix.
During pregnancy, the expanding uterus puts a lot of pressure on the lower half of the body, including the soft tissue that supports the pelvis.
Two types of pregnancy-related muscle pain include symphysis pubic dysfunction (SPD) and round ligament pain.
These issues usually resolve after delivery. Neither indicates a problem with the pregnancy or requires a change to the birth plan.
Round ligament pain
Round ligament pain occurs when the growing uterus strains the ligaments that secure the uterus to the pelvis. These round ligaments run on either side of the uterus.
The pain may be sudden, very sharp, and stabbing. It may arise when a woman changes position or climbs the stairs. The issue can also cause a “pulling” sensation within the abdomen.
The pain is typically temporary and resolves with rest. To help ease it, a woman can:
- take acetaminophen, which is safe during pregnancy
- use a warm compress
- avoid any prolonged standing
- avoid heavy lifting
- perform daily stretches
SPD is sometimes known as pelvic girdle pain. It occurs when the growing uterus destabilizes the muscles and ligaments of the pelvis.
SPD occurs in 48–71% of pregnancies. It can cause deep shooting or stabbing pain in the groin, vagina, rectum, or stomach.
Other symptoms can include:
- pain that radiates into the back, lower abdomen, groin, perineum, thigh, and leg
- pain when moving
- pain while walking upstairs, rising from a chair, or bending forward
- pain during sex
SPD typically resolves after childbirth, but in the meantime, a doctor may recommend:
- soft tissue therapy
- certain exercises and stretches
- pelvic blocks
- pregnancy support belts
Pain that is intense and persistent counts as a medical emergency, especially if it stems from a ruptured or twisted ovarian cyst or appendicitis.
If groin pain is mild, a person can:
- try over-the-counter pain relief medication
- massage the hips, back, and the affected area
- use an ice pack wrapped in a towel or a heating pad
- ask a doctor or physical therapist about any stretches or exercises that might help
Often, a doctor can diagnose the cause of right-sided groin pain based on the person’s symptoms and medical history.
When the reason is unclear, a healthcare provider may recommend:
- watchful waiting, to see whether symptoms change
- bloodwork to check for infections
- imaging scans, such as an X-rays or ultrasounds, to check for problems with the appendix, ovaries, bones, and muscles
A person should receive medical care for pain that:
- is severe
- gets steadily worse
- does not improve with home treatments
- interferes with daily functioning
It is important for pregnant women to mention any new or persistent symptoms at their next appointment with a doctor or midwife, even if symptoms improve or are not severe.
A person should seek emergency care if the pain:
- is intense or unmanageable
- accompanies bleeding from the vagina, in pregnant women
- accompanies a fever, chills, or muscle aches
- accompanies vomiting or diarrhea
Causes of right-sided groin pain can range from a pulled muscle to a health issue that requires emergency attention, such as ovarian torsion or appendicitis.
Overall, if the pain is severe, a person should seek professional care right away.
Usually, a doctor can diagnose the issue after carefully considering all symptoms and the person’s medical history.