Should Your Child See a Doctor?

Genital Injury - Female

This Care Guide Covers

  • Injuries to the female genital area (labia, vulva, vagina)

Health Information

Types of Genital Injuries in Females

  • The genital area in girls is protected. Serious injuries are rare.
  • Minor injuries can cause lots of bleeding because of the rich blood supply.
  • Cut. Minor cuts or scrapes heal quickly.
  • Bruise. Bruises and swelling of the labia are most often from a straddle injury. They heal quickly.
  • Hematoma Blood Clot. Bleeding into the labia can form a pocket of blood hematoma. A small clot will go away on its own. A large clot may need to be drained.
  • Vaginal Laceration Serious. Any penetrating injury of the vagina needs to be examined. There may be a cut or tear of the vagina. The main symptom is pain and bleeding that won't stop.
  • Urethral Injury Serious. This is not seen in females with external injuries. It can occur with pelvic fractures. The main symptoms are bloody urine and trouble passing urine.

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.

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.

When To Call Your Doctor

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

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

Go to ER Now If

 
  • Skin bleeding won't stop after 10 minutes of direct pressure
  • Bleeding from inside the vagina
  • Pointed object was put in the vagina, then taken out

Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If

  • Foreign body in the vagina and can’t get out
  • Skin is split open or gaping and may need stitches
  • Pain or trouble passing urine
  • Blood in urine
  • 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 Your Doctor Within 24 Hours If

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

Call Your Doctor During Weekday Office Hours If

  • 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

Parent Care at Home If

  • 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
    • Your child becomes worse

Remember! Contact your doctor if your child develops any of the "When to Call" symptoms.

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.

Copyright 1994-2015 Barton D. Schmitt, MD. All rights reserved.