Urogenital injuries

What are urogenital traumas?

A trauma is an injury caused to an organ or tissue due to external actions or causes. Urogenital injuries refer to injuries caused in the genital and/or urinary tract. In this case, the organ that is most commonly damaged is the kidney, followed by the bladder, the urethra, the testicles and the ureters.

There are two types of urogenital traumas. On the one hand, there are also the so called closed traumas, which are the most common ones, and include traumas caused by falls from heights, traffic accidents, sports injuries and direct blows to the external genitalia. On the other hand, penetrating traumas are mainly caused by stabbing or gunshots and by abdominal surgery.

Prognosis of the disease

Most urogenital traumas do not represent an immediate threat to life, but if left untreated they can cause high morbidity over time.

The main problem with these injuries is that as they are internal and often do not show external signs, they are not diagnosed properly at the time of the trauma, and they develop health problems, such as haemorrhages, abscesses, pyelonephritis, stones or hypertension, among others.

Symptoms of urogenital trauma

The symptoms of urogenital trauma can vary depending on the affected organs and tissues, but some of the most common symptoms are:

  • Flank pain or in the abdomen
  • Bleeding when  urinating
  • Abdominal distension
  • Nausea and vomiting

Medical tests for urogenital traumas

When a patient is admitted to the emergency department due to an accident, fall or severe damage, an emergency valuation of their health status is made, identifying those pathologies that represent an urgent risk to their health. As this valuation continues, the diagnosis of urogenital traumas can be addressed.

Scaning tests are the most effective for detecting urogenital traumas, since it is usually necessary to explore the internal structures of the organism. Therefore, the most common tests used are the abdominal CT scan, pyelography, ultrasound examination and arteriography. The choice of diagnostic tests will also depend on the symptomatology and the organs and tissues that may be affected.

What are the causes of urogenital traumas?

Most urogenital injuries are caused in traffic accidents, which represent approximately half of non penetrating urogenital traumas, followed by accidents in the workplace and sports injuries.

The least frequent ones are the so called penetrating urogenital traumas, which are caused by stabbing or abdominal surgeries, but represent a very small percentage.

Can urogenital traumas be prevented?

The only way to prevent urogenital traumas is to avoid the cause, and therefore avoid accidents, falls and strong blows. Taking precautions such as wearing a seatbelt when driving may help avoid trauma, or using protective sports gear when practising contact sports.

Treatments for urogenital traumas

The treatment will be considered depending on the affected organs and tissues, some of the most common are:

  • Renal trauma: in many cases it can be resolved by a conservative treatment,  such as  taking absolute rest, a bladder catheter to drain the hematuria and anitbiotics or other drugs. In severe cases surgery may be necessary, such as the reconstruction of the kidney or part of it.
  • Urethral trauma: in cases where it affects or there is damage of the urethra, it should be treated as soon as possible. Usually, surgery will be necessary, although in cases that are not too severe, it can be resolved with the implantation of a catheter.

What specialist treats urogenital traumas?

A urologist is usually the specialist who treats urogenital traumas.

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