By Andrew M. Seaman
(Reuters Health) - Most adults in the United States groom their pubic hair, and a significant percentage of them end up with cuts and infections as a result, researchers say.
In a 2014 national survey of adults ages 18 to 65, more than three quarters said they groomed their pubic hair. Of those, about one in four ended up with an injury and a small portion needed medical attention.
"What we’re finding here makes intuitive sense," said lead author Dr. Benjamin Breyer, of the University of California, San Francisco. "These are in general going to be minor injuries."
In a previous study, Breyer and colleagues found that genital injuries sent nearly 16,000 people over age 18 to U.S. emergency rooms between 2002 and 2010. In that study, about 7 percent of the emergency visits were tied to shaving items and about 5 percent were linked to other bathroom products. (http://reut.rs/2vMKjlg)
For the new study, the researchers had responses from 7,570 people. About 76 percent reported grooming their pubic hair. About 85 percent of women groomed, compared to about 67 percent of men.
About 26 percent sustained an injury from grooming, with women more likely to be harmed than men. Cuts were the most common injury, followed by burns and rashes. About 9 percent reported infections stemming from their injury.
People who reported grooming injuries were likely to report more than one. About a third of people reported five or more injuries, for example.
"Of the people who groom, 1.4 percent of them sought medical attention for a laceration or infection from their injury," Breyer told Reuters Health.
He said rushing, using a dull razor and using hot or chemical products can lead to injuries.
"Anecdotally, I think some of the cheaper little shavers don’t do as good a job as those with a little higher quality," he added.
More research is needed to know whether some grooming methods are safer than others, the researchers write in JAMA Dermatology.
Breyer said the results don't mean there's an epidemic of pubic grooming injuries.
"If you’ve had injuries and had multiple injuries, I’d reconsider your practices, taking off less hair and possibly changing the methods you use," he said.
The researchers' ultimate goal is to see if the grooming method people choose is tied to their risk of sexually transmitted infections, Breyer said.
SOURCE: http://bit.ly/2vMGQmE JAMA Dermatology, online August 16, 2017.