My baby has a lump in his groin, should I be worried?
Finding a lump in your baby's groin can be scary, so read our advice to help ease your concern.
My 16-month-old boy has a lump in his groin, about the size of a pea and quite soft. We’re seeing his GP soon, but I can’t help worrying, although he seems fine. Have you seen this before?
It is always good to hear someone is going to their doctor with a thing like this. In most cases hanging on a week or two is fine, but if you’re worried it’s best to get a thorough examination.
Usually a single soft lump in the groin is quite innocent. It might be a small lymph gland that’s become enlarged, or a blocked sweat gland. If it’s painful it could be a boil and if infected could be treated with antibiotics if necessary.
In most cases swellings like this come and go – your doctor may say, ‘Come back in two weeks and let’s see if it has changed.’ They may check to see if there are other lumps, whether the original one grows, becomes hard or irregular, and similar changes. Lymph nodes are part of the immune system and if one becomes enlarged it’s a sign that it’s fighting an infection. There may be obvious triggers such as a cough, cold or other infection.
However, it is important to get some reassurance, particularly if the lump is changing. If you notice similar lumps elsewhere, such as the other groin, armpits or neck, this may be a sign of a more serious condition such as a type of leukaemia. With this condition your child may be lethargic, losing weight, not eating, or have fevers; symptoms can be more subtle though, so take care.
Try not to panic, but don’t ignore this if you are worried. The combination of examining your baby, reviewing him two or three weeks later and carrying out simple tests if there is any concern is usually all that is needed. It is probably nothing to worry about, but one needs to be sure. I hope all goes well with you.
Dr Peter Ilves