Pubic Hair Grooming Linked To Increased Risk of STDs

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

E. Charles Osterberg, M.D. Assistant Professor of Surgery Genitourinary Reconstruction and Trauma University of Texas- Dell Medical School Dell-Seton Medical Center / University Hospital

Dr. Osterberg

E. Charles Osterberg, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Surgery
Genitourinary Reconstruction and Trauma
University of Texas- Dell Medical School
Dell-Seton Medical Center / University Hospital

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Pubic hair grooming has become an increasingly common practice among men and women. Perceptions of genital normalcy have changed as modern society’s definition of attractiveness and feelings of femininity and masculinity have changed. Pubic hair grooming has been shown to increase morbidity such as genital injuries, however little is known about the relationship between grooming practices and sexually transmitted infections.


MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: In this study, we demonstrate that pubic hair grooming linked to heightened sexually transmitted infection(STI) risk. In particular, this association is strongest among those who groom their pubic hair frequently and/or remove all of their pubic hair often. In fact, after adjusting for age and number of lifetime sexual partners, ever having removed once pubic hair was associated with an 80% increased risks of a self-reported STI. Among those who reported a STI, frequent and complete removal of one’s pubic hair was associated with a 3.5 to 4-fold heightened risk, particularly for infections that arise through skin on skin contact, such as herpes and HPV.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: This is a cross-sectional study of self-reported STIs among a population who grooms their pubic hair. Respondents collectively reported an increased risk of STIs and a decreased risk of pubic lice. Because of the observational nature of the study, no direct causality can be drawn however we believe that grooming is a surrogate and prepatory act for sexual activity. This may prompt clinicians to inquire about safer sex practices should grooming be evident.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: This is a cross-sectional study of self-reported STIs among a population who grooms their pubic hair. Respondents collectively reported an increased risk of STIs and a decreased risk of pubic lice. Because of the observational nature of the study, no direct causality can be drawn however we believe that grooming is a surrogate and prepatory act for sexual activity. This may prompt clinicians to inquire about safer sex practices should grooming be evident.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: This is the largest study which addresses whether grooming is associated with self-reported STI history. While we demonstrate a positive association, we can not imply causation and the readership should not over interpret the results.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.

Citation:

Correlation between pubic hair grooming and STIs: results from a nationally representative probability sample
E Charles Osterberg, Thomas W Gaither, Mohannad A Awad, Matthew D Truesdale,Isabel Allen, Siobhan Sutcliffe, Benjamin N Breyer

Sex Transm Infect sextrans-2016-052687Published Online First: 5 December 2016doi:10.1136/sextrans-2016-052687

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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