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Extreme Pubic Hair Grooming Means Higher STI Risks

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Both men and women who make a habit of waxing or trimming all their pubic hair are at a higher risk for sexually transmitted infections than those who don’t, a new study suggests.

Medical experts say that small nicks and tears from shaving, trimming or waxing could make a person more susceptible to infections, the BBC reports. In addition, those who regularly groom, especially those who take it to the extreme, tend to be highly sexually active, as well.

STIs are contagious, passed though unprotected sex – no matter what kind – or mere genital contact.

Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, surveyed over 7,500 American adults.

They explained that the most likely cause for the link between pubic hair grooming and STIs was skin tearing and a large number of sexual partners.

Among men, the most common tool for pubic hair grooming was an electric razor, while a manual razor was the preference for women. One in five men and women used scissors.

Almost 75% of the respondents admitted to having groomed their pubic before – 84% of women and 66% of men. Among those who groomed, 17% said they were “extreme” in that they removed all hair at least once a month, while 22% were “high frequency,” trimming daily or weekly.

The people with the extreme habits were found to be three to four times more likely to catch an STI, especially skin-to-skin contact diseases like herpes or HPV.

The researchers added that sharing grooming tools did not appear to be an issue, as STIs have not been found on objects. They recommended that doctors should advise patients to refrain from grooming or abstain from sex until the skin has healed completely.

On the bright side, grooming was found to protect against pubic lice, so those at risk for such could be advised to trim regularly, the researchers noted.

The study was published in a BMJ journal called Sexually Transmitted Infections.

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