Grooming of Pubic Hair Linked to Higher rates of STD

The grooming and removal of pubic hair – from has become a global phenomenon among adult women and men. New studies have now connected pubic grooming to a higher risk of getting a sexually transmitted disease.

According to the study, those who frequently groom pubic hair are three to four times more likely to contract a sexually transmitted infection, such as human papillomavirus (HPV), syphilis or herpes.

Lead researcher Dr Charles Osterberg, an assistant professor of urology and surgery at the University of Texas Dell Medical School in Austin said:

“Grooming is linked to a heightened self-reported sexually transmitted disease risk, and for those who groom frequently or remove all of their hair often, the association is even higher.”

READ ALSO: Ingrown Pubic Hair: Treatment and Prevention

However, the direct cause-and-effect relationship between pubic grooming and sexually transmitted infections wasn’t proven by the study. It was only premeditated to establish a link between these factors.

Osterberg said grooming of pubic hair has become increasingly popular globally among women and men, as public views have changed regarding the role of body hair in cleanliness.

Osterberg and his colleagues surveyed 7,580 US participants, aged 18 to 65, about their grooming practices, sexual behaviour and history of sexually transmitted diseases.

Nearly three out of four participants (74 percent) said they had groomed their pubic hair before. More women (84 percent) than men (66 percent) reported trying it at least once.

Tiny cuts and scrapes

From the study, 17 percent were classified as “extreme” since they remove all of their pubic hair more than 11 times yearly. Twenty-two percent were labelled “high-frequency” groomers because they trim their pubic hair daily or weekly. One in 10 groomers fell into both categories.

Extreme groomers had a quadrupled risk of contracting an STI. In addition, high-frequency groomers had a 3.5-fold increased risk of STIs.

READ ALSO: Pubic Lice (Crabs): All You Need to Know

The researchers speculated that infections might spread more easily due to tiny tears, cuts, and scrapes that result from grooming.

Dr Dennis Fortenberry is a professor of paediatrics and adolescent medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine and current president of the American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association. He said, “I would probably lean toward the idea that the grooming itself causes mild trauma to the skin, and essentially makes the skin more susceptible to the organisms when they’re exposed.”

Osterberg noted that it might be that people who groom more often engage in more sex and are at higher risk for a sexually transmitted infection.

Reduced risk of pubic lice

The researchers discovered that groomers tended to be younger, more sexually active, and to have had more sexual partners than those who don’t groom their pubic hair. Extreme groomers had a higher number of sexual partners than any other category of groomer.

However, the team still found an 80 percent increased risk of sexually transmitted infections in anyone who reported having ever groomed at all, even after adjusting for the person’s age and their lifetime number of sexual partners.

One major advantage for grooming is a reduced risk of pubic lice, the researchers discovered. People who never groom their pubic hair have double the risk of pubic lice, the study authors reported.




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