Pubic Hair Removal Does Not Raise Sexually Transmitted Infection Risk

Pubic Hair Removal Does Not Raise Sexually Transmitted Infection Risk

Women who remove their pubic hair do not increase their risk for sexually transmitted diseases, a new report suggests, despite a common belief and some recent research suggesting they do.

Researchers studied rates of gonorrhea and chlamydia among 214 female students at a large Midwestern university. More than half reported “extreme grooming” — the removal of all pubic hair weekly or daily within the past year. Nearly all were sexually active, and almost 10 percent had either gonococcal or chlamydial infections confirmed by laboratory testing. The results appear in PLoS One.

Gonorrhea and chlamydia are the most common sexually transmitted diseases in the United States, and women 15 to 24 years old have higher rates of both infections than any other sex and age group. Some have suggested that shaving could cause tears or cuts in the skin that could increase the risk for these infections, and about two-thirds of extreme groomers reported such injuries.

But after controlling for parental income, race, year in school and sexual frequency, the researchers found no association between extreme grooming and infections.

“These results are not confirmatory,” said the lead author, Jamie Luster, a researcher at the University of Michigan. “Other study designs like clinical trials or studies that follow people over time are needed to find what the actual risk is, or if it exists at all.”

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