An Ounce of Prevention

I’m talking here about protecting that most vulnerable ounce of the human male—your testicles (actually about an ounce each). Also at risk are the the penis and the external genitalia of women. While we are all painfully aware, getting a shot in the ‘nads really really hurts.  What we don’t think about is that in the US, approximately 16,000 ER visits are due to genital injuries.

“To put this in perspective, the yearly incidence of these [injuries] is almost twice as much as dental injuries, and about the same of electrical and chemical burns,” said the study’s senior author Dr. Benjamin Breyer, an assistant professor of urology at the University of California, San Francisco.
For their search, the researchers identified all genital injuries to men and women 18 years old and older between 2002 and 2010. The injured body parts included — among other things — penises, testicles, bladders, kidneys and external female genitalia, such as the clitoris and labia.

Overall, 142,143 injuries sent people to an ER over the nine-year period, which worked out to about 15,794 per year — a number that didn’t seem to change over time.


Almost a third of the injuries were caused by sporting injuries including basketball, football, soccer, and baseball. Included in this list is bicycles; not a surprise  for anyone

Photo from Rick Manelius

who has ever nailed themselves on a crossbar. What did surprise the researchers were some of the other common causes of injuries.

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

Male injuries accounted for almost ⅔ of the visits and the 18-28 age range was the most

represented. I think we can safely assume that a number of these injuries were immediately preceded by the words “Hey guys, watch this”.

Older people sustained only 8% of the injuries, mostly due to falls, but were the most likely to be admitted for their injuries.

These numbers aren’t very high, with only about 5 injuries per 100,000 people, but it’s just another thing to worry about when you’re in the field or on your bike.

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