Injured Down There

Genital injuries send thousands of patients to the ER each year

(RxWiki News) It's a man's worst nightmare: getting hit in the you-know-what. Females can get hurt along the same areas, too.

New research shows that a lot of the minor but painful mishaps with furniture, clothing and toys that bring adults to the emergency room can be prevented.

"This suggests that practitioners and patient advocates need to not only be familiar with fall risk factors and prevention strategies, but also lobby on a public policy level to ensure the appropriate interventions can be instituted for those at highest risk," researchers said in their report.

"Worried about your loins? Wear a cup."

The study, led by Herman Bagga, MD, from the Department of Urology at the University of California, San Francisco, was the largest ever to look at injuries to the kidneys, urinary tract and genitals.

Researchers gathered information from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, which collects data from 100 hospitals across the country.

More than 140,000 adults went to the ER for these injuries, averaging about 16,000 a year between 2002 and 2010. And almost 30 percent of injuries happened during the summer.

About 70 percent of the injuries in the study happened to men and the family jewels, and almost 40 percent occurred in adults between 18 and 28 years of age.

"It shows which groups are at risk and with which products," said Benjamin Breyer, MD, MAS, co-author and urologist at UCSF, in a press release.

Young men commonly hurt themselves in sporting accidents. Older men were injured through falling and normal, everyday activities, often in the shower or bath.

About 30 percent of injuries came from sports equipment while biking, horseback riding and skiing. Another 9 percent came from clothing and 9 percent from furniture.

Older men were also more likely to be hospitalized for their injuries.

Bruises to the groin aren't the only common injury. About 17 percent are cuts to the tender areas.

Women on the other hand were more likely to have cuts and infections along the genitals while grooming or shaving pubic hair, versus enduring injuries like the men do.

Further, these injuries increased more than five times between 2002 and 2010 among women.

Almost 90 percent of the patients were treated and released from the ER without staying for an extended period of time. Only 8 percent of young adults were admitted as inpatients into the hospital while almost a third of those over 65 were admitted.

"Practitioners and injury prevention specialists should note that individuals of all age ranges are at risk of genitourinary injury," the authors wrote in their report.

Dr. Breyer says that knowing which injuries happen the most can help consumers avoid the injuries and be more cautious, such as having slip-free bath mats and more safely grooming pubic hair.

The authors note that the survey may underestimate the number of injuries since it only counts people who went to the emergency room; motor vehicle accidents, which are potentially a major source for injuries, aren't included.

They also did not consider whether any preventative measures were taken to protect the groin and genitals.

The study, supported by the National Institutes of Health, was published online November 5 in The Journal of Urology.

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Review Date: 
November 14, 2012