Getting a Brazilian wax or participating in similar forms of personal grooming may be all the rage, but they come with a heightened risk of acquiring a sexually transmitted disease, research suggests.
The study found that frequent groomers of pubic hair are three to four times more likely to contract a sexually transmitted infection, such as herpes, human papillomavirus (HPV) or syphilis.
“Grooming is linked to a heightened self-reported sexually transmitted disease risk, and for those who groom frequently or remove all of their hair often, the association is even higher,” says lead researcher Dr. Charles Osterberg. He’s an assistant professor of urology and surgery at the University of Texas Dell Medical School in Austin.
Still, the study didn’t prove a direct cause-and-effect relationship between pubic grooming and sexually transmitted infections, it was only designed to show a link between these factors.
What is the link between pubic grooming and sexually transmitted infections?
Pubic hair grooming and removal has become increasingly popular worldwide among women and men, as public perceptions have changed regarding the role of body hair in cleanliness and attractiveness, Osterberg shares.
To see whether this grooming might have any connection to sexually transmitted infections, Osterberg and his colleagues surveyed 7,580 U.S. residents, aged 18 to 65, about their grooming practices, sexual behavior and history of sexually transmitted diseases.
Almost three out of four participants (74 percent) said they had groomed their pubic hair before. More women (84 percent) than men (66 percent) reported trying it at least once.
Among the groomers, 17 percent were classified as “extreme” since they remove all of their pubic hair more than 11 times a year. Twenty-two percent were labeled “high-frequency” groomers because they trim their pubic hair daily or weekly. One in 10 groomers fell into both categories.
Extreme groomers had a quadrupled risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection. In addition, high-frequency groomers had