As chlamydia and gonorrhea are caused by bacteria, infect both men and women; and can lead to reproductive tract infections that can have lasting damage. Left untreated, both infections can make it more difficult for a woman to become pregnant in the future. STDs are usually caused by viruses or bacteria and can be spread from person to person through any type of sexual contact that involves the skin, body fluids, the mouth, the genitals and/or the rectum.
Reproductive tract infections
Particularly concerning is that previous work didn’t adjust for sexual frequency. It could be that women who were having more sex with more people and were therefore more likely to contract infections were more likely to be grooming. In fact, they’re the most common contagious infections in the United States after colds and the flu, with millions of people affected every year. Many of these infections have symptoms that are barely noticeable, but their effects can be devastating, especially if they go undiagnosed and untreated.
Pelvic inflammatory disease is a complication in women, often due to chlamydia and gonorrhea, and can lead to infertility. Women who choose to shave or wax their pubic hair might not be raising their risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) after all; according to a new study that found no connection between “extreme” grooming and chlamydia or gonorrhea. Previous research and many media reports have warned women about a connection between pubic hair removal and STDs.
So they devised a study that, unlike previous work in this area, relied on laboratory-confirmed diagnoses of two common STDs. The study included 214 college students, all women. The researchers examined any possible links between “extreme” grooming removal of all pubic hair at least weekly in the past year; or at least six times in the past month and testing positive for chlamydia or gonorrhea. They found no connection. The women in the study, who visited an on-campus location at Ohio State for STD testing; completed a questionnaire that asked about their sexual and grooming behaviors.
Almost all of the study participants said they had done some grooming, and between 18 and 54% were “extreme” groomers; basing on the two measures used in the study. The participants also agreed to allow the researchers to receive the results of their STD tests. About 10% of the women had a positive test. The new study highlights the importance of taking actions that are knowing to reduce the risk of STDs.