Bikini Waxing A Health Risk? Pubic Hair Grooming Found To Increase Risks Of Sexually Transmitted Infections

Pubic hair grooming was linked to heightened risks of being infected with sexually transmitted infections. The research was published, Dec. 5, in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections.

As part of the research, the scientists surveyed thousands of Americans, in an attempt to better understand the correlation between pubic hair and the increased risks for infections.

Pubic Hair Grooming And Sexually Transmitted Infections

As part of the survey, 66 percent of men and 84 percent of women declared they groomed their pubic hair area, either by waxing, trimming, shaving or laser hair removal. As many as 42 percent of the men that were questioned preferred electric razors for this purpose, while women's choice was manual razor, for 61 percent of the ones questioned.

People who groom their pubic hair are generally younger and more sexually active, as they have had more annual and total sexual partners compared to people who did not groom their pubic hair.

According to the research, 13 percent of the people who took part in the survey have had at least one sexually transmitted disease (STD) or infection (STI) of the following: herpes, human papilloma virus (HPV), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), molluscum, chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhea or pubic lice.

People who had groomed their pubic hair were the ones with the higher likelihood of getting an STD or STI, with a 3.5 to 4 times more likely to have reported an STI, especially when it comes to infections that are transmitted from skin on skin contact, like HPV.

Grooming Pubic Hair

However, Dr. Charles Osterberg, lead author of the study and assistant professor of surgery at the University of Texas Dell Medical School, mentioned that the study did not attempt to conclude that people who groom their pubic hair will get STDs or STIs, as the study is observational.

The research only meant to create a correlation between the two, and not a relation of interdependence, which is highly relevant, as it should not be interpreted that grooming alone increases the chances of getting diseases or infections that are sexually transmitted.

"Modern society has dictated our perception of genital normalcy, and what it means to feel attractive or feminine or masculine has changed. This study sheds some light on a potential complication associated with the increasingly common practice of grooming," noted Osterberg.

However, more research will have to be conducted in order to analyze the impact of grooming on developing STIs, and this observational study created the first step in this direction of analysis. A potential stronger correlation could be discovered through more data sampling and surveys.

Concerning the effects of shaving pubic hair, a study suggested that hair removal naturally aggravates and irritates the leftover hair follicles. It can also leave small wounds and increased occurrence of abscess and staph boils.

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