Genito-Urinary Barotrauma

A variant of suit barotrauma is the genital ‘squeeze’ from the P-valve, used to assist male divers to urinate out of the drysuit during long-duration dive exposures. The condom catheter is exposed to the same pressure gradients as the drysuit, as may be the female equivalent (the ‘she-P collecting system’). A squeeze (a descent barotrauma equivalent) and a pneumatization of the urine (an ascent barotrauma equivalent) are possible, as is a subsequent urinary infection from organisms incubated in the drysuit tubing, usually Pseudomonas species. These problems may be reduced, but not eliminated, by use of a balanced P-valve, which adds a one-way valve into the system. Adequate equalization of the drysuit pressure during descent may also assist. Another problem with this equipment is flooding of the drysuit from tubing disconnection.