Signs & Symptoms of a Groin Lymph Node Infection

Updated February 21, 2017

The lymph nodes are small organs that are part of the immune system. Lymph nodes are spread throughout the body, including the groin, and work by filtering viruses and bacteria from your system, holding them until white blood cells can kill them. When lymph nodes become swollen, it is usually the first sign of an infection.

Common Symptoms

The most common symptom of a lymph node infection in the groin is enlargement of the nodes themselves. According to the Mayo Clinic, if the lymph nodes are swollen by 0.4 inches are more, that is a sign of infection. These enlarged lymph nodes are often painful or tender to the touch. People with a lymph node infection may also feel unwell, with flu-like symptoms such as a low-grade fever or even a sore throat. The skin around the area may also be red and inflamed.

More Serious Symptoms

In some more severe cases, lymph nodes can become blocked during an infection. If a groin lymph node experiences a blockage, one of your legs could become swollen, according to the Mayo Clinic. Also, in extremely rare situations, a lymph node infection can lead to hardened and swiftly growing node that may indicate a tumour. If the swollen lymph node is accompanied by a fever, continues to become larger or lasts longer than two weeks, it is important to see a doctor.


Infected lymph nodes must be treated with an antibiotic to clear up the infection. According to the Mayo Clinic, if left untreated, an abscess can form in the lymph node. If an abscess forms, your doctor may need to drain it. Also, as in any bacterial infection left untreated, infected lymph nodes can lead to bacteraemia, an infection of the blood. This is a very serious condition that not only can harm your organs, but can result in death.

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About the Author

David Harris is a writer living in Portland, Ore. He currently is the editor-in-chief of the online magazine Spectrum Culture. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College.