Genital Injury  

This Care Guide Covers:

  • Injuries to the female genital area (labia, vulva, vagina)
  • Injuries to the male genital area (scrotum or penis)

View First Aid Advice
  • for Bleeding:

When to Call Your Doctor

Call 911 Now (your child may need an ambulance) If
  • Major bleeding that can't be stopped
  • Fainted or too weak to stand
Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If
  • You think your child has a serious injury
  • Skin bleeding won't stop after 10 minutes of direct pressure
  • Bleeding from inside the vagina
  • Pointed object was put in the vagina, then taken out
  • Foreign body in the vagina and can’t get out
  • Skin is split open or gaping and may need stitches
  • Zipper caught (stuck) on penis now
  • Swollen or painful scrotum
  • Pain or trouble passing urine
  • Blood in urine
  • Pain is SEVERE and not improved 2 hours after taking pain medicine
  • Age less than 1 year old
  • Could have been caused by sexual abuse
  • You think your child needs to be seen urgently
Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9 am and 4 pm) If
  • You think your child needs to be seen, but not urgently
Call Your Doctor During Weekday Office Hours If
  • No tetanus shot in over 5 years for DIRTY cuts
  • No tetanus shot in over 10 years for CLEAN cuts
  • Genital pain or swelling lasts more than 7 days
  • You have other questions or concerns
Parent Care at Home If
  • Minor genital injury
Causes & Health Information

Types of Genital Injuries

  • Most are bruises (with swelling) or minor cuts that heal quickly in 3 to 4 days.
  • Minor injuries can cause lots of bleeding because of the rich blood supply.

Straddle Injuries

  • An injury to the groin from falling on an object that is being straddled.
  • Examples are playground equipment, crossbars of a bike, or a fence.
  • Girls usually get a bruise or small cut of the outer labia. The vagina and urethra are protected by the labia and not harmed.
  • In boys with a straddle injury, the urethra can be bruised or torn. The urethra allows urine to pass from the bladder to the outside.
  • A symptom of a damaged urethra is blood at the penis opening.  Other findings are bloody urine, trouble starting the stream or pain when passing urine.
CARE ADVICE FOR MINOR GENITAL INJURIES

  1. Bleeding:
    • For any bleeding, put direct pressure on the wound. Use a gauze pad or clean cloth. Press for 10 minutes or until the bleeding has stopped.
    • Note: Minor cuts in the genital area can bleed a lot. This is because of the rich blood supply.  
    • For the same reason, the cut heals quickly.
  2. Cut or Scrape Treatment:
    • Wash the wound with soap and water for 5 minutes.
    • For any dirt, scrub gently with a wash cloth.
    • Put on an antibiotic ointment such as Polysporin. No prescription is needed. Use 2 times per day.
  3. Cold Pack:  
    • For bruises or swelling, put a cold wet washcloth on the skin.
    • Use once for 20 minutes if tolerated.
    • Reason: Helps reduce the bleeding and pain.
  4. Pain Medicine:
    • To help with the pain, give acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) or ibuprofen. Use as needed. See Dose Table.
  5. What to Expect:
    • Cuts and other minor injuries in the genital area heal quickly. Most often, they heal in 3 or 4 days.
  6. Call Your Doctor If:
    • Pain becomes severe
    • Passing urine becomes painful or hard to do
    • Your child becomes worse

And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the "Call Your Doctor" symptoms.
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Disclaimer: This information is not intended be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.


Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.

Last Reviewed: 9/1/2012

Last Revised: 1/14/2013

Content Set: Child Symptom Checker

Copyright 1994-2012 Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.