Genital Injury - Female
Is this your child's symptom?
- Injuries to the female genital area (labia, vulva, vagina)
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.
- 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.
When to Call for Genital Injury - Female
Call 911 Now
- Major bleeding that can't be stopped
- Fainted or too weak to stand
Call Doctor or Seek Care Now
- 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
- Foreign object in the vagina and can't get out
- Skin is split open or gaping and may need stitches
- No past tetanus shots. Note: tetanus is the "T" in DTaP, TdaP, or Td vaccines.
- Pain or trouble passing urine
- Blood in urine
- Severe pain and not better 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
Contact Doctor Within 24 Hours
- Dirty cut or hard to clean and no tetanus shot in more than 5 years
- Clean cut and no tetanus shot in more than 10 years
- You think your child needs to be seen, but the problem is not urgent
Contact Doctor During Office Hours
- Genital pain or swelling lasts more than 7 days
- You have other questions or concerns
Self Care at Home
- Minor genital injury
Seattle Children's Urgent Care Locations
If your child’s illness or injury is life-threatening, call 911.
Care Advice for Minor Genital Injuries
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- What to Expect:
- Cuts and other minor injuries in the genital area heal quickly. Most often, they heal in 3 or 4 days.
- 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
And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the 'Call Your Doctor' symptoms.
Disclaimer: this health information is for educational purposes only. You, the reader, assume full responsibility for how you choose to use it.
Last Reviewed: 06/07/2023
Last Revised: 03/13/2023
Copyright 2000-2023. Schmitt Pediatric Guidelines LLC.