More needs to be done to prevent genital injuries, the authors of a new study urge.
The study examined the rates of major and minor "genitourinary" injuries, which are injuries that involve the genitals, urinary tract and kidneys. Researchers reviewed emergency room data that was collected from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, a database from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission that collects injury information from 100 U.S. hospitals.
They found there 142,144 adults went to emergency rooms between 2002 and 2010 for genitourinary injuries, which works out to about 16,000 cases per year.
About 70 percent of patients were men, and more than a third were between 18 and 28 years old. Most of those men tended to injure themselves in sporting accidents.
The top five most common causes of genital injuries annually the study found were:
- Bicycles: 1,212 cases
- Razors, scissors and clippers: 1,089 cases
- Zipper injuries: 951 cases
- Bathroom falls and mishaps: 818 cases
- Basketball equipment: 309 cases
- Baseball and softball equipment: 240 cases
- Skiing and snowboarding equipment: 182 cases
Injuries in older men most often occurred during routine activities, the researchers said, such as slipping into a split or hitting their groin against the edge of a bathtub.
Overall women were significantly less likely to experience the injuries; however, they were more likely than men to go to the ER for cuts and infections from pubic hair grooming. The researchers cited a study that reported a five-fold increase in those types of injuries in women between 2002 and 2010.
Study author Dr. Benjamin Breyer, an urologist at the University of California, San Francisco, said in a UCSF press release that the findings of who gets injured -- and how -- could provide an opportunity for educational and product safety solutions.
For example, he said extra padding on bike rails, safer grooming techniques and slip-free bath mats could potentially reduce injuries. He also calls on emergency doctors to learn standard procedures such as zipper detachment strategies.
The study was published online Nov. 5 in the Journal of Urology.