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Why trimming your pubic hair could be a real pain

WebMD UK Health News
Medically Reviewed by Dr Farah Ahmed

17th August 2017 – Around 1 in 4 people who trim or shave their pubic hair say they have injured themselves doing so, a study has revealed.

Researchers found that cuts, burns and rashes were among the most common problems encountered.

They say a better understanding of how pubic hair grooming can cause injuries is needed because the practise has become much more common.

The findings follow research last year that found that men and women who trim or shave their pubic hair may be at higher risk of acquiring a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

In the latest study, a research team from the University of California conducted an online survey of 7,570 men and women in the US.

76% have a history of grooming

Of these, 66.5% of men and 85.3% of women said they had groomed their pubic hair at some stage in their life.

Just over a quarter (25.6%) said they had injured themselves while doing so.

The study, published in JAMA Dermatology, found differences in the way men and women injured themselves while trimming and shaving.

Only 1.4% of those surveyed said they had needed medical attention after cropping their pubic hair. The risk of being hurt depended on a number of factors, such as how often grooming was carried out and whether it involved frequent shaving of all pubic hair or not.

The most severe injuries were caused when people lay on their back and allowed a partner to groom their pubic hair, the authors note.

Scrotum and pubis

A 'heatmap' of injuries showed that among men, the most common injuries were to the scrotum and penis, while women were most likely to injure their pubis and inner thigh.

They say that people trim their pubic hair for a number of reasons, including a belief that it boosts their sexual attractiveness, because their partner likes it or because it is better for oral sex.

"This study may contribute to the development of clinical guidelines or recommendations for safe pubic hair removal, the researchers conclude.

A study published in December 2016 in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections outlined some of the health risks associated with trimming and shaving pubic hair.

It found that tiny cuts to the skin may be partly responsible for the extra risk of developing an STI.

Also, people who frequently groom their pubic hair may be more likely to indulge in risky sexual behaviour, it concluded.

The findings were based on questionnaires filled out by 7,580 adults in the US aged 18 to 65. Those taking part were asked about their pubic hair grooming practices, whether this had ever caused any injury, their sexual history and whether they had ever had an STI.

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