Children's Hospital Colorado

Genital Injury - Male

Urgent or Emergency Care?

If you believe your child needs immediate attention and you have concerns for a life-threatening emergency, call 911. Not sure what counts as urgent and what's an emergency when your child is sick or injured? When it can't wait, know where to take your kids.

Help Me Decide

  • Injuries to the male genital area (scrotum or penis)

Types of Genital Injuries in Males

  • The penis and scrotum are exposed. In young boys, the scrotum is injured more often than the penis. All the common skin injuries can occur here.
  • Cut. Minor cuts or scrapes heal quickly.
  • Bruise. Minor bruises heal quickly.
  • Zipper Injury. The foreskin or skin on the penis can get caught on a zipper. Most parents will want a doctor to help with removal.
  • Urethral Injury (Serious). The urethra passes through the entire penis. It can be injured by a kick to the groin or a straddle injury. The urethra can be bruised or torn. The main symptoms are bloody urine and trouble passing urine.
  • Painful Scrotum. A blow to the testicle will normally cause severe pain. If there was no damage, the pain should go away within 30 minutes. If it persists, the boy needs to be examined.
  • Swollen Scrotum (Serious). Any boy with a swollen scrotum from an injury needs to be examined. It may be minor, but need to rule out any other problems.
  • Hematoma (Blood Clot) of Scrotum. Blunt trauma can cause a large blood clot to form inside the scrotum. Sometimes, it needs to be drained. This can happen from being hit by a ball during sports. The main finding is severe pain and a swollen scrotum.
  • Rupture of Testicle (Serious). A direct blow to the scrotum can also cause a tear of the capsule around the testicle. To save the testicle, this needs emergency surgery. This can happen from a kick to the groin. The main finding is severe pain and a swollen scrotum.

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.
  • 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.

Call 911 Now

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

Go to ER Now

  • Large deep cut that will need many stitches
  • Skin bleeding won't stop after 10 minutes of direct pressure
  • Zipper caught (stuck) on penis or scrotum now

Call Doctor Now or Go to ER

  • Skin is split open or gaping and may need stitches
  • Swollen or painful scrotum
  • Pain or trouble passing urine
  • Blood in urine or at penis opening
  • Severe pain 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 has a serious injury
  • You think your child needs to be seen, and the problem is urgent

Call Doctor Within 24 Hours

  • You think your child needs to be seen, but the problem is not urgent

Call Doctor During Office Hours

  • Dirty cut and no tetanus shot in over 5 years
  • Clean cut and no tetanus shot in over 10 years
  • Genital pain or swelling lasts more than 7 days
  • You have other questions or concerns

Self Care at Home

  • Minor genital injury

Care Advice for Minor Genital Injuries

  1. Bleeding - How to Stop:
    • 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 Cloth for Bruise:
    • For bruises or swelling, put a cold wet washcloth on the skin.
    • Use once for 20 minutes, but only if tolerated.
    • Reason: Helps reduce the bleeding and pain.
  4. Pain Medicine:
    • To help with the pain, give an acetaminophen product (such as Tylenol).
    • Another choice is an ibuprofen product (such as Advil).
    • Use as needed.
  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
    • You think your child needs to be seen
    • Your child becomes worse

Disclaimer

The information contained in these topics is not intended nor implied to 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.

Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider before starting any new treatment or discontinuing an existing treatment. Talk with your healthcare provider about any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Nothing contained in these topics is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment.

  • Not a Substitute - The information and materials in Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker should not be used as a substitute for the care and knowledge that your physician can provide to you.
  • Supplement - The information and materials presented here in Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker are meant to supplement the information that you obtain from your physician. If there is a disagreement between the information presented herein and what your physician has told you -- it is more likely that your physician is correct. He or she has the benefit of knowing your child's medical problems.
  • Limitations - You should recognize that the information and materials presented here in Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker have the following limitations, in comparison to being examined by your own physician:
    • You can have a conversation with your child's doctor.
    • Your child's doctor can perform a physical examination and any necessary tests.
    • Your child could have an underlying medical problem that requires a physician to detect.
    • If your child is taking medications, they could influence how he experiences various symptoms.

If you think that your child is having a medical emergency, call 911 or the number for the local emergency ambulance service NOW!

And when in doubt, call your child's doctor NOW or go to the closest emergency department.

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