Pubic Hair Grooming Practices and the Urinary and Vaginal Microbiome

Project: Research project

Project Details


83% of women perform pubic hair grooming and 59% do so with the intent of improving hygiene (1). There is no data to suggest that this practice improves hygiene and recent data suggests grooming may be correlated to an increased rate of infection (2). Studies also demonstrate that a shift in bladder and vaginal microbiomes is correlated to increased risk of infection (3,4) and disorders like painful bladder syndrome and urgency urinary incontinence are associated with disordered microbiome profiles (5-7). Therefore, if pubic hair plays a role in maintaining the microbiome of the vagina and bladder, women might inadvertently be exposing themselves to risk of pelvic floor disorders through this modifiable cultural practice. The objective of our study is to compare the urinary and vaginal microbiomes of women with and without pubic hair to see if presence of pubic hair correlates with a change in flora. 40 women (20 with pubic hair and 20 who have removed all pubic hair) will have vaginal and urinary microbiomes collected at baseline. Then women will cross-over to the other grooming practice group and undergo re-evaluation of their microbiomes in one month. Additional questionnaires on grooming practices, bladder and vulvar symptoms will be collected.
Effective start/end date9/1/178/31/22


  • Northwestern Memorial Hospital (Agmt 10/24/17)


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