Grooming pubic hair may lead to vaginal disorders

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Pubic hair removal naturally irritates and inflames the hair follicles left behind, leaving microscopic open wounds.

What women does to their own body shouldn’t be anyone’s business but their own. They can dye their hair electric blue or pierce their nose all they want. As long as they’re not purposely hurting themselves, a woman should be free to take control of her body. When it comes to their nether regions, however, a new study suggests that grooming pubic hair may be causing women harm.

Grooming pubic hair

The innocuous act of shaving their pubic hair may be done for hygienic purposes, but in a Parent Herald story, gynecologists believe that the act is setting women up for vaginal disorders.

Published in the journal JAMA Dermatology, the study surveyed 3,316 women. 62% of them habitually shaved all their pubic hair off, while 84% of them groomed it in one form or another.

Grooming and shaving is popular among women of all ages and races, particularly women aged 18 to 34. In a New York Times report, however, a gynecologist said that girls as young as 13 have started grooming their pubic hair.

Dr. Jennifer Gunter, specialist in pelvic pain and vulvovaginal disorders for Kaiser Permanente Northern California, says that these girls believe the act is the norm, and so pressured by society, they feel the need to groom.

Meanwhile, older women do it because they believe it makes them more attractive to the opposite sex. According to the surveyed women in the JAMA report, 19.6% of believe grooming makes oral sex easier and more manageable.

But doctors claim that they have handled cases of grooming-related folliculitis, abscesses, lacerations, allergic reactions to waxing burns and vulvar and vaginal infections.

“There are assumptions as well that tiny abrasions and nicks from grooming could encourage sexually transmitted infections because it makes the vagina vulnerable,” said the Parent Herald report.

On the other hand, some people believe that shaving lowers the occurrence of pubic lice.

The role of the pubic hair is to protect the genital's sensitive skin, serving as the vagina's filter against bacteria.

“Pubic hair removal naturally irritates and inflames the hair follicles left behind, leaving microscopic open wounds,” says a Guardian report. “When that irritation is combined with the warm moist environment of the genitals, it becomes a happy culture medium for some of the nastiest of bacterial pathogens.”

READ: 6 things you should never do to your vagina

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