Objective: To ascertain the urological complications of coitus, as the proximity of the lower urinary tract to the organs of coitus exposes the tract to coital trauma.
Materials and methods: Medline was searched from 1966 to 2000 to identify reports on coital injuries. Publications and relevant references were retrieved. Those reporting urological complications were selected for analysis.
Results: In all, 1454 cases of reported coital injuries were reviewed; 790 occurred in men while 664 occurred in women, mainly in the genital area. Physical urological complications were more common in men than in women. The injuries were often sustained during voluntary coitus, but one penile fracture was sustained during an attempted rape. The presentations included penile swellings and deviations, haemorrhage, erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence. Complications included vesicovaginal fistulae, bladder and cavernosal ruptures, and urinary tract infections. Rare complications included isolated rupture of the penile vasculature. Major risk factors included penovaginal disproportion, excessive force at coitus, urethral coitus, fellatio and anal intercourse. Urethral injuries were the commonest complications; in men these were associated with 10-38% of penile fractures. The treatments included cold compress and anti-inflammatory agents in contusions, repairs of lacerations, closure of fistulae and urethral and vaginal reconstruction. The results of treatment were essentially good. Recurrent penile fractures were reported.
Conclusion: Coitus, although pleasurable, may be risky. The complications have been termed 'faux pas' implying that they are preventable. While the ultimate prevention is abstinence, this is an unrealistic prescription. Therefore, efforts are necessary to identify risk factors to enable preventive strategies.