It could happen when you least expect it. The sharp, unforgiving metal teeth inflicting a pain no man cares to imagine and thousands know all too well.
An estimated 17,616 men went to the emergency room for "trouser zip injuries to the genitals" between 2002 and 2010, according to an article published this week in the Journal of the British Association of Urological Surgeons. Almost all of them had their penises stuck in their zippers, the paper found.
The injury befell both men and boys.
The Atlantic's Alexis C. Madrigal insists there are other options, like button-fly pants out there for those who wish to avoid this particularly painful and embarrassing emergency.
But, for those who are not especially coordinated, spending 45 minutes trying to button up your crotch in a public restroom is not an especially attractive option.
There is at least some good news contained in the study, which found that "annual zip-related genital injury incidence remained stable over the study period," so we're likely not in the midst of a penis-trapped-in-zipper epidemic.
If you or a loved one should ever find themselves afflicted by this injury, Dr. Steven M. Selbst, professor and vice chair of pediatrics at Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, offered his medical advice on PediatricNews.com.
"I’ve done this many times. You want to just pour mineral oil all over the patient’s genitalia and the zipper," Selbst said. "Be generous – that’s the key. This is pretty cheap stuff. Then let the patient sit there for 20 or 30 minutes. Pack him in a room somewhere. When you come back, the foreskin will have simply slipped out of that zipper, although in some cases you may need a cotton swab to help it along a bit."
Maybe just don't ever urinate again.