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  • Genital Injury


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

    FIRST AID for Bleeding:

    • Put a gauze pad or clean cloth on top of the wound.
    • Press down firmly on the place that is bleeding.
    • This is called direct pressure. It is the best way to stop bleeding.
    • Keep using pressure until the bleeding stops.
    • If bleeding does not stop, press on a slightly different spot.

    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.

    When to Call Us for Genital Injury

    Call 911 Now (your child may need an ambulance) If:

    • Major bleeding that can’t be stopped
    • Fainted or too weak to stand

    Call Us Now (night or day) If:

    • You think your child has a serious injury
    • Skin bleeding won’t stop after 10 minutes of direct pressure
    • 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 Us Within 24 Hours (between 9 am and 4 pm) If:

    • You think your child needs to be seen, but not urgently

    Call Us During Weekday Office Hours If:

    • You have other questions or concerns
    • 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

    Parent Care at Home If:

    • Minor genital injury

    Care Advice for Minor Genital Injury


    • 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.

    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.

    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.

    Pain Medicine:

    • To help with the pain, give acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) or ibuprofen. Use as needed. See Dose Table.

    What to Expect:

    • Cuts and other minor injuries in the genital area heal quickly. Most often, they heal in 3 or 4 days.

    Call Your Doctor If:

    • Pain becomes severe
    • Passing urine becomes painful or hard to do
    • Your child becomes worse

    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.
    Copyright 1994-2013 Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.

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