Removing Pubic Hair Won’t Increase Your Risk Of STDs, Study Finds

Removing Pubic Hair Won't Increase Your Risk Of STDs, Study Finds

Removing Pubic Hair Won’t Increase Your Risk Of STDs, Study Finds


 

In late 2016, researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, reported results from a study of more than 7,500 people linking pubic hair grooming with STDs.

The study, published in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections, found that people who removed their pubic hair were 80% more likely to report contracting an STD at some point in their lives, compared with those who never groomed. However, at the time, the researchers cautioned that the study could not prove that grooming was directly responsible for people’s increased risk of STDs.

Critically, that study wasn’t able to take into account how often the participants engaged in sexual activity. It may be that those with more frequent sexual encounters — who were thus at greater risk for STD exposure — were also more likely to practice extreme grooming.

Removing pubic hair may not increase your risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), according to a small new study.

The findings contradict earlier research, which found a link between frequent pubic hair removal and an increased risk of several STDs. However, these earlier studies relied on self-reports of STD diagnoses, rather than diagnoses that were confirmed with lab tests.

The new findings “do not support … the need for public health or clinical interventions to address pubic hair grooming as a risk factor” for STDs, the authors wrote in their paper, published today (Sept. 4) in the journal PLOS ONE.

The researchers analyzed information from more than 200 female college students who underwent STD testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea, two of the most common STDs in the United States.

Nearly all participants reported grooming their pubic hair at some point in their lives, and most reported using a razor. More than 50% reported removing all of their pubic hair at least weekly, and 18% reported removing all pubic hair at least six times in the last month. About 10% of the women tested positive for chlamydia or gonorrhea.

However, extreme groomers were no more likely to be diagnosed with chlamydia or gonorrhea than those who did not practice extreme grooming.

The new study improves upon previous research because it does take into account sexual frequency. However, the new study still had limitations — only a small number of women acquired an STD during the study period, and all the women came from a single university in the Midwest, and so it’s unclear if the results apply to men or other populations.

Future studies on the topic should be larger and include more diverse populations, the authors said.

This article on "Hkitnob: Health Columns" is for informational purposes only, and is not meant to offer medical advice.