Are Your Private Grooming Practices Putting Your Health at Risk?
On December 1st, I wrote a blog post in recognition of World Aids Day to emphasize the importance of getting tested. In keeping with that thought, I want to share a recent report that links how some of us groom our private areas to an increase in sexually transmitted diseases (STIs).
A recent report by doctors at The University of California, San Francisco researched the link that had been identified in previous studies. The doctors interviewed 7,500 US adults about their grooming habits and found two possible explanations for the link:
Those interviewed, who groomed regularly, cause micro tears in their genital area which allows for easier transmission of STIs.
Those interviewed, who groomed regularly, engaged in riskier (read: without condoms) sex with more partners than those who did not groom regularly.
The more often people groomed, the stronger the relationship was, with those who groomed at least once a month reporting the highest numbers of lifetime partners and rates of STIs (3 to 4 times higher than non groomers). The most common STIs reported were herpes, human papillomavirus (HPV), syphilis and molluscum contagiosum. It was also determined, however, that grooming is a protection against genital lice.
So in the end what does this all mean? As always protect yourself. Have conversations with your sexual partners, use condoms and get tested regularly. If you groom often, then you may consider cutting back some (a little hair never hurt anybody folks and it certainly shouldn't stop anything). Finally, if you cut yourself while grooming, then consider holding off on having sex until you've healed. Remember, some of these infections can be spread by any bodily fluid, including blood and can be introduced into open wounds. More research needs to be conducted in this area, but it definitely is food for thought.
Proper grooming practices may help to decrease cuts and skin irritation. Follow these steps for proper grooming:
Get a good position in front of a mirror. Make sure your tools are clean and not dull.
If your hair is long, trim it first. Keep a comb or fingers in between your scissors and skin to help prevent cuts and to keep you from trimming too short.
Take a hot shower to soften and cleanse your skin.
Use shaving cream, particularly one with aloe in it to help soothe the skin.
Shave in the direction of hair growth to avoid cuts, irritation and ingrown hairs.
Make sure you take care of any cuts. If you experience persistent bleeding from a deep cut, you may need to head to the doctor.
Clean up and moisturize with an unscented, soothing, post shave moisturizer.
Did you go get your HIV test? If you're looking for a place visit: https://locator.aids.gov/.
Interested in the Oraquick at home HIV test? Get it here.
Want to read the study yourself? Click here.
Reading that report was an eye opener for me. Although it makes sense, I had never thought about the relationship between grooming and STIs. Was this information surprising to you? What grooming tips or products do you use? Leave a comment. Share to help someone out. Subscribe for future updates.
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