Vaginal Disorders May Develop More in Women Who ‘Groom’ Or Shave Their Pubic Hair

Women who shave their pubic hair may be doing the habit out of hygienic reasons. But gynecologists think that the popular trend is setting women up for vaginal disorders.

A new study published in the journal JAMA Dermatology surveyed 3,316 women. The research found that 62 percent of that number is in the habit of completely shaving their pubic hair, while 84 percent practice some grooming, or shearing off pubic hair.

According to the research, grooming or shaving is popular among women of all ages and races between 18 and 34 years old. But now, gynecologists reported about girls as young as 13 grooming their pubic hair, The New York Times reported.

Peer Pressure

These young girls still in the prepubescent stage take on grooming or shaving because they feel pressured by their friends who are also going hairless on their nether regions. Dr. Jennifer Gunter, a specialist in pelvic pain and vulvovaginal disorders for Kaiser Permanente Northern California, said these girls think removing pubic hair is the norm.

A 24-year-old woman named Becky said she even waxes her close friends' bikini lines since they were shy of seeing professionals to do the deed for them, NY Daily News reported. Becky believes that grooming or shaving is an example of "self-care." In the study, 92 percent of women surveyed revealed they groom or shave themselves.

Other influence for the grooming of a woman's sensitive area are social media talk and internet pornography, which depict women's genitalia as hairless and nearly prepubescent in appearance. Women in pornography often sport "the Barbie doll look" in their nether regions.

Possibility Of Vaginal Disorders

Doctors, however, have different takes on the grooming or shaving trend. According to experts, they have seen grooming-related cases of 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. However, some people also claim that grooming or shaving (like the Brazilian wax method) can lower the occurrence of pubic hair lice.

Some women believe that grooming or shaving can make them more attractive to the opposite sex, and so they remove their pubic hair so men wouldn't be grossed out during sex. According to NY Daily News, 19.6 percent of women surveyed in the JAMA report believe grooming makes oral sex easier and more manageable.

Pubic hair protects the genital's sensitive skin and serves as the vagina's filter against bacteria. Pubic hair removal naturally irritates and aggravates the hair follicles left behind by grooming, The Guardian noted. Bacteria thrive in the vagina's warm and moist environment, and that is exacerbated further by irritated hair follicles.

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