‘Genital injuries send many to hospital’

Television shows and movies may portray people getting hit in the crotch as comical, but it's a serious issue that sends almost 16,000 people to US emergency rooms every year, according to a study.

Bicycles, furniture and clothing are items blamed for the injuries, which can go on to cause people physical, psychological and reproductive problems later on, said senior author Benjamin Breyer, a professor of urology in University of California, San Francisco.

"To put this in perspective, the yearly incidence of these (injuries) is almost twice as much as dental injuries, and about the same as electrical and chemical burns," he added.

In the past, most research looked at severe genital and urinary tract injuries caused by major trauma, such as car accidents.

For the new study, which appeared in The Journal of Urology, Breyer and his colleagues decided to look at those injuries thought to be caused by common consumer products.

The team analysed a national database of emergency room visits caused by consumer products, identifying all genital injuries to men and women 18 years and older between 2002 and 2010.

The injured body parts included, among other things, penises, testicles, bladders, kidneys and external female genitalia.

Sporting items were the most common cause of injuries among people of all ages.

Breyer said one example of damage from a sporting item is people falling forward on their bicycles and landing on the centre bar. Padding or cushioning could help avoid injuries.

Other accidents involved clothing, shaving items and bathing products, including men catching their penises in zippers or people cutting themselves while trying to shave their pubic hair.

Young people were the most often injured, with 18 to 28 year olds making up roughly 40 percent of the visits. Older people sustained only about eight percent of the injuries, but were more likely to hurt themselves during everyday activities, such as taking a shower.

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