Beware of fashions: the more you depilate, the more risk of genital infection

Beware of fashions: the more you depilate, the more risk of genital infection

Trimming or removing pubic hair is becoming more common. Although this trend has become an aesthetic imposition that falls mainly on women, the trend seems to be on the rise also in men all over the world.

To find out what impact this practice can have on rates of sexually transmitted infections, researchers at the universities of California, Washington and Texas (USA) surveyed a nationally representative random sample of US adults about their personal hygiene habits. According to his conclusions, the more radical hair removal is, the greater the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection.

For the research, published in Sexually Transmitted Infections, more than 14,000 people between 18 and 65 years of age were surveyed, who answered questions about the intensity (trimming or complete elimination) and the frequency (from daily to annual) of their personal hygiene. As well as the instruments they use for it.

After taking into account the age and number of sexual partners for life, any type of hair removal was associated with an 80% increase in the risk of having a sexually transmitted infection compared to no waxing. In total, 13% (943) respondents said they had had at least one of the following: herpes; human papillomavirus (HPV); syphilis; mollusk; gonorrhea; Chlamydia HIV; or pubic lice.

Scientists indicate that this can be explained because this practice could cause small cracks in the skin, through which bacteria and viruses can easily pass. Another reason could be the existing correlation, depending on the work, between hair removal and higher levels of sexual activity.

Although more research is needed to shed some light on these possibilities, researchers say, the evidence could be a useful warning for doctors to ask about safer sex practices, or suggest delaying sex after waxing to allow the skin heal 

The HSV2 virus, known as genital herpes, passed from African apes to our human ancestors somewhere between 3 and 1.4 million years ago, probably through a kind of intermediate hominin not directly related to modern humans.

A team of scientists from the universities of Cambridge and Oxford Brookes (United Kingdom) believe that they may have identified the culprit of this infection: Parathropus boisei, a heavy bipedal hominin with a small brain and a round and flattened face, which  probably contracted the infection of HSV2 through the search for meat from an ancestral chimpanzee, since the infection is filtered through bites or open sores.

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