Women who shave their pubic hair or wear tight pants are more likely to experience long-term vulva pain due to friction and a higher risk of infection
- Scientists from Boston University discovered that care increases the risk of vulvodynia
- The condition is caused by nerve pain and is not easy to treat
- Tight pants also doubled the risk of developing the uncomfortable condition
- According to an American group, Vulvodynia can affect as many as one in six women
Women who shave or wax their pubic hair are more likely to experience prolonged pain around their genitals, according to scientists.
Wearing tight pants can also increase a woman’s risk of vulvodynia, a long-term, inexplicable pain in the vulva – the external parts of the sexual organs.
Experts suggest that being bald, which they said is more common, exposes the skin more to friction that can lead to swelling “complications.”
And wearing tight clothing can give women a better chance of developing infections such as thrush or bacterial vaginosis related to the pain state.
According to researchers, women who remove all their public hairs have 74 percent more problems with the difficult to treat vulva pain, vulvodynia (stock image)
Scientists at Boston University surveyed 434 women between the ages of 18 and 40.
About half of them suffered from pain in the vulva and everyone was asked about their clothing and care habits.
Women who had already removed the hair from their genitals were 74 percent more likely to have vulvodynia than women who only cared for their bikini line.
And wearing tight-fitting jeans or pants for four or more days a week or could double the risk of nerve pain.
“With an increase in the prevalence of pubic hair removal directly from the vulvar region, especially in adolescent girls, the micro-abrasions in this sensitive area can make young women susceptible to immune-inflammatory complications,” said researcher Dr. Bernard Harlow.
WHAT IS VULVODYNIA?
Vulvodynia is a chronic (long-term) pain disorder that causes women discomfort in and around their vulva.
The vulva are the sexual organs that are visible on the outside – including labia and clitoris.
According to the National Vulvodynia Association in the US, Vulvodynia could affect as many as one in six women.
It can cause a stinging, burning or painful feeling that can get worse when the skin is touched or the woman sits down.
Possible triggers for the pain are nerve damage caused by childbirth or surgery, a trapped nerve or persistent infections.
The condition is unlikely to improve by itself and treatment may include the use of painkillers, gels and lubricants, physical therapy, or cognitive behavioral therapy.
Vulvodynia is not contagious, not a sign of poor hygiene and is not related to cancer.
Micro-abrasions are small breaks in the skin that can be caused by the hair removal itself – for example, shaving or waxing – or by friction from elsewhere.
Dr. Harlow added: “Similarly, tight-fitting jeans or pants can create an environment that promotes genital infections that have been shown to be associated with the onset of vulvar pain.”
Vulvodynia is usually a constant pain in and around the vulva, which is not caused by anything that is clear or visible.
The pain can be a burning or stabbing sensation and can get worse when touched or sitting.
The causes are not well known, but it is believed to be nerve pain that can be caused by damage from surgery or birth, or a trapped nerve.
The NHS also suggests that prolonged spout infections can cause the pain.
According to the National Vulvodynia Association in the US, the condition can affect as many as one in six women (16 percent).
Women who removed all their pubic hair at least once a week were nearly twice as likely to have vulvodynia than women who cared for their bikini line less than once a month.
Of the women involved in the study, 213 suffered from discomfort in the vulva, while the remaining 221 did not.
The study was published in the Journal of Lower Genital Tract Disease.