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To Wax or Not to Wax? Pubic Hair Grooming Increases Risk of Sexually Transmitted Infections Dramatically

Dec 06, 2016 04:20 AM EST

Most people groom or remove hair in their intimate parts because of personal hygiene, ensuring its squeaky clean to avoid infections. Makes sense, right?

On the contrary, an emerging research published online in the journal of Sexually Transmitted Infections reveals otherwise. The paper entitled "Correlation between pubic hair grooming and STIs: results from a nationally representative probability sample," linked pubic hair grooming to heightened risks of being infected with sexually transmitted infections.

In an effort to delve further about the grooming habits, sexual history, and incidence rate of STIs, researchers conducted a survey on thousands of Americans.

Based on the survey, 66 percent of men and 84 percent of women have groomed their pubic area before - either through methods waxing, shaving, trimming, or laser hair removal. Electric razor was the tool of choice for men (42 percent), while women opted for manual razor (61 percent). Groomers are younger, more sexually active, and have had more annual and total sexual partners compared to those who didn't groom their pubic hair, according to Time.

Research also found that 13 percent of (943) respondents have had at least one of the following sexually transmitted diseases (STD) or infections: herpes, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) human papilloma virus (HPV), syphilis, molluscum, gonorrhea, chlamydia, or pubic lice. Findings also show that the more people groomed their pubic area, the higher the likelihood they were to get an STD, citing a 3.5 to 4-fold heightened risk, particularly for infections transmitted from skin on skin contact, such as herpes and HPV.

Nonetheless, Dr. Charles Osterberg, the study's lead author assistant professor of surgery at the University of Texas Dell Medical School, clears that since it was only an observational study, it is by no means concluding that a person will get STD if he/she waxes or shaves.

The researchers suggest that grooming might be a proxy for higher levels of sexual activity and associated infection risk, or that it might cause tiny skin tears, through which bacteria and viruses can easily pass, Eureka Alert reports.

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