Grooming pubic hair may be linked to an increased risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease, according to a new study.
The study, published in the Sexually Transmitted Infections journal, surveyed 7,580 people between the ages of 18 and 65. The researches asked the participants whether they trimmed or shaved their pubic hair; how often they did so and what tools they used. Researches also asked the participants how many sexual partners they've had and whether they've had a sexually transmitted infection.
The results showed that participants who trimmed or shaved their pubic hair had a higher rate of contracting an STI, but did not prove a direct correlation between the two.
Participants who regularly groomed their pubic hair were 80 percent more likely to report contracting an STI than those who never groomed, according to the study.
The researchers note small tears in the skin created during grooming could allow STI-causing bacteria to infect someone who shaves their private parts.
But the correlation could also be accounted for if the people who groom tend to have more sexual partners, thus putting them at greater risk of contracting an STI.
The study had other limitations, like not asking participants if they used condoms during sex, Debby Herbenick, an associate professor at Indiana University Bloomington, told Live Science.