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A Family Healing Center, PC

http://www.afamilyhealingcenter.com

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2525 NW Lovejoy St. Suite 208
Portland, Oregon 97210
PH. 503 241 5007

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McMinnville, Oregon 97128
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What You Should Know…Shaving “Down There”

bikini blog pic

After years in practice and doing many female exams, I have begun to see some patterns that I want to share with you. I will start by saying this blog may test your comfort limits but this is a subject that should be talked about.

First things first, it has become very “cool” or “in” to shave the pubic hair. Some woman shave it all and some only shave a bit, but I have witnessed a lot of shaving in recent years. The females that shave are often young 20 and 30 year olds and teenagers. I am not sure how the trend started, but I want to share with you the conversation that I have with girls in my office who are consistently shaving. Many of the girls who are shaving all of their hair off are having trouble with recurrent vaginal yeast infections or bacterial vaginitis. To clear both of these conditions up for those who don’t know, yeast infections and bacterial vaginitis are not sexually transmitted diseases. They both occur when the normal flora (healthy bacteria and yeast) of the vaginal tract gets off balance and then infection begins.

Symptoms of vaginitis include but are not limited to discharge, odor, and/or itching. Often vaginitis can be easily treated, but sometimes it can become a chronic problem for girls.

Pubic hair suits a purpose, a very important purpose. The hair provides a small pocket between the skin and the underwear that allows a small amount of air flow. The air flow is healthy and helps to ward off excess moisture. When the pubic hair is shaved entirely, it allows the underwear to rest flat on the skin, limiting air flow and promoting moisture which can often lead to vaginal infections. Bacteria and yeast thrive in moist environments and their growth is promoted by warmth and moisture. You can imagine that shaving all pubic hair off and wearing tight underwear and clothing daily will lead to a warm, moist vaginal area – leaving a woman potentially susceptible to infection.

Of note, the type of underwear and clothing a girl wears is also important. Synthetic fabrics trap in moisture. Cotton underwear and clothing are often healthier for those prone to vaginal infections because they don’t trap in moisture as much. This point is usually known by my patients, but the air flow and shaving point is not understood widely quite yet. Work out clothes have become mainstay for many women and are often worn all day. Wearing tight workout pants for many hours daily while shaving all pubic hair will increase a woman’s chance of getting a yeast infection.

I am not saying that women can’t shave, I am saying that women who shave should take other precautions to make sure that moisture isn’t trapped and that good air flow occurs around the pubic area. If a woman shaves 100 % of her public hair, it is my opinion that she should not wear underwear (most of the time). Obviously there are some outfits that warrant underwear use, but then women should make sure they don’t wear underwear more than a couple days in a row or they don’t wear underwear to bed.

I have offered this suggestion for a few years now in my practice and it really has made a difference in my women who used to have chronic yeast infections.

Shaving “Down There”

1. If you shave only the bikini line, you are not at any more risk for infection than other women who don’t shave at all.

2. If you shave all pubic hair and are wearing tight clothing and underwear, you are most likely at higher risk for developing vaginal infections.

3. If you shave all pubic hair, then you should avoid wearing underwear most of the time to allow for good air flow to the pubic area.

4. Don’t shave all pubic hair and wear underwear, leggings, and tight work out clothes daily.

5. If you have chronic yeast infections, try not wearing underwear to bed and limiting underwear use in the day. Make sure to always wear cotton underwear instead of any synthetic fabrics. Get treatment for any vaginal infection.

If you shave all pubic hair, then don’t wear underwear.

If you want to wear underwear, then don’t shave all pubic hair.

24 Comments

  1. Great info. I shared this on my FB page. I even wrote “she is hoping it will go viral (because it’s already fungal-rim shot)”

    Reply
    • jessica black (Author)

      Thanks so much Antonella! — Warmly Dr. Black

      Reply
    • Hahahahaha, Antonella!

      Reply
  2. New patient to your clinic. I love both your staff and your website. Very informative on life style changes people can make to be healthier. .

    Reply
  3. richiet

    I full support wearing long skirts with no underwear to let air get to the perineal area for women who have a history of chronic infections. I used to get chronic yeast infections, but now, when I feel one coming on, I dont wear underwear and I take the Lady Soma Candida Pills. Those two things combined make sure I never get the yeast infection, and if it starts, it goes away in 1-2 days.

    Reply
    • jessica black (Author)

      Thank you so much that comment. I love when someone figures out how important the fresh air is!

      Reply
  4. MARGIE

    I began shaving everything down there the very moment hair began to grow in my early teens. No trend inspired me. It was an original decision that I spoke to no one about. It was simply too painful to have. I am a very hairy woman. I have very thick black forearm hair and I had to shave my legs at an earlier age than my peers so that kids wouldn’t call me a gorilla.

    I’ve never had hair there and I’ve had non-stop chronic BV. I am now 36 yrs old and (because I’m curious to find out if it’ll help) for the first time in my whole life I’m letting it grow. But, I cannot even describe how painful this is. The hair is so coarse and thick, it’s in a constant state of digging and scratching. My cl*t is in a huge amount of (not good) pain, too, because of the wirey stabbing.

    It’s making me so depressed. I can’t shave + go without underwear because I discharge excessively. Is it the BV or is it genetics? I’ve been sleeping nude for forever, so there is air flow all night. But I can’t go without underwear, in fact, I’ve always obsessively changed my underwear multiple times per day (because the wetness bothers me). I’m torn over what to do and just feel hopeless. I can’t trim because that defeats the purpose of the hair, right?

    Reply
    • jessica black (Author)

      Hi

      I think if you can get used to the hair, it may be helpful for you, but the problem seems like it lies in your ability to fight off the infection. I am assuming that you have treated it multiple times with antibiotics, it goes away, but then comes back. So it will be most important to make your immune response healthier so that it is able to fight off the infection better. The discharge is mostly likely due to the chronic BV. If that could go away, the discharge would most likely be better. Although some discharge, especially around ovulation is completely normal. I would start a completely sugar-free Anti-Inflammatory diet to help your body cleanse. Then consider visiting a naturopathic physician to see what you can do to make your body stronger at fighting infections.

      I hope you find answers in the near near future. Warmly, Dr. Black

      Reply
      • Jessica

        Dear Dr. Black,

        I am astonished that you fully answer these questions in such detail and cander. I think it is a great resource for women dealing with similar issues as well. I found tour site because i shaved after about 4 months of enjoying hair. Immediate uncomfortableness, wetness, and a feeling that something bad is coming. Going to take your advice and cut sugar and bein probotics again. Have a great day, thanks again.

        Reply
        • jessica black (Author)

          Hi Jessica,

          Thank you so much for your comment! Stay well!

          Warmly, Dr. Black

          Reply
  5. [email protected]

    Thank you so much I think I answered my problems for yeast infections

    Reply
  6. Gia

    This blog explained everything I was doing wrong and everything was 100% describing my issues I’m currently facing as we speak. I wish I would of known this early in age before I started shaving everything off, but now it would be so hard to let my pubic hair grow back due to it being now thick and uncomfortable. I will try this new method and not wear underwear hopefully this helps change this horrible cycle of vaginal infections. However I do have a question, I work out at the gym 4-5 days a week for an hour. I wear leggings, yoga pants, and tights for my work outs. My question is what can I do to better protect my vaginal area and prevent vanginal infections when I work out? For example do I wear loosely cotton underwear under my tights or not wear underwear at all wearing only tights for my work out days? I hope to hear a response soon.

    Reply
    • jessica black (Author)

      Gia!

      Great question! Your best option is to wear cotton underwear under the tights/yoga pants during the workouts and immediately change afterwards. Also in the future, purchase leggings that are made with a higher percentage of cotton rather than synthetic fabric and that should help a tiny bit. I hope things start feeling better soon!

      Warmly, Dr. Black

      Reply
  7. Jackie

    Can you get a yeast infection in your skin from shaving if you have one.

    Reply
    • jessica black (Author)

      Another great question. The short answer is yes because all of the flora on the skin should be in regular balance and if they are not and you disrupt the skin by shaving then it can promote more growth of the yeast. Then the yeast can migrate to the vaginal canal and cause an infection. This is just speculation and may not be true for all people. In fact, if a person has balanced flora, they should be able to shave and not get any infections. Hope this helps. The more you can improve your internal health and gastrointestinal health and balance, the more balanced your flora should be.

      Warmly, Dr. Black

      Reply
  8. Helen

    I have had reoccurring bV for 5 years now but I seem to only have it when I’m at home in the city. I work as a nurse so I must wear tights with my uniform, and wearing jeans that fit (I’m quite skinny) are a necessity. I also workout and use shorts or leggings for this…I’ve tried all sorts to get rid. I like to shave because I like to be tidy and I like to swim so I don’t want pubes popping out; I’m very hairy person, so I have pubes even at the top of my inner legs, not just around vagina. Would trimming be better than shaving? I’ve tried eating yogurts with lacto bacillilius (spelling?!) and this works temporarily, but is eating all this yogurt unhealthy?

    Reply
    • jessica black (Author)

      Hello,

      I think shaving the thighs and inner thighs is fine and then consider only trimming the actual pubic hair so that you leave a little to create you a little breathing room for when you have to wear tights or tight jeans. Consider not wearing underwear with the jeans to help with better air flow and consider cotton underwear under the tights to help prevent the tights from keeping too much moisture. Consider sleeping with no underwear or very loose shorts to allow for breathing at night. I don’t think you can get a therapeutic amount of proper probiotics by eating yogurt. I suggest picking up a supplement instead and not over-consuming dairy.

      Hope these suggestions help!

      Warmly, Dr. Black

      Reply
  9. Miss

    Hi, great article! I have been struggling with bv for about two years now. I just started testing myself with pH test sticks and they are coming up in the 6 range.

    Does having bv cause a corresponding high pH, or does just having an elevated pH allow the bacteria go grow? Is there some part of my diet that could be keeping my pH elevated thus creating an environment for the bacteria to grow? I lift weights and ‘eat clean’ (whole foods, low sugar, etc) so it doesn’t seem like a diet problem. how do i get my pH down? I’ve tried repHresh and probiotics but it just keeps coming back.

    thanks so much!

    Reply
  10. Louisa

    Hi there, I shave all my public hair and it is quite often gets itchy and it comes and goes for about 2 years now. Do you have a recommendation of a cream or something that will prevent it from happening?

    Reply
    • jessica black (Author)

      Hello,

      It is hard to pick out a cream but anything healing and antimicrobial is your best bet in addition to following all of the guidelines suggested in the blog.

      Good luck!

      Dr. Black

      Reply
  11. Tia

    Would waxing, opposed to shaving, reduce the likelihood of an infection? Above mentioned tips being used as well.

    Reply
    • jessica black (Author)

      Hi Tia,

      Some individuals actually break out more from waxing depending on what type of wax is used therefore you could have increased risk for boils and other pimple-like lesions to form. Removing the hair entirely is what can increase the likelihood of infection such as yeast or bacterial vaginitis, therefore I don’t think waxing vs. shaving is much different. Although you can wax or shave part and not all of the hair and that could leave you with a happy medium of trimmed look but some hair in place for protection. Hope this helps!

      Warmly,

      Dr. Black

      Reply
  12. Karen Pedersen

    Hi, i’ve had yeast infection since I was 12, I am now 16. I am at loss for what to do. I have been taking both prescriptions and non-prescriptions to try to get rid of the yeast infection, but it just comes back. I have been to a doctor and a gynecologist, and they gave me advice and prescriptions, but it still didn’t work. I feel so uncomfortable in class, the smell and the itching . I am afraid someone will know. I don’t know what to do anymore with it. My mom said she had it one time when she was younger, but she got rid off it in a week. So I don’t understand why I can’t get rid off it.

    Reply
    • jessica black (Author)

      Hi Karen

      Although all of these hygiene ideas are important, I don’t think hygiene alone will solve your problem. It sounds like a visit with a doctor is needed for you. I think you would get good support by seeing a naturopathic physician. You are welcome to come to my office if you live near Portland or McMinnville. If you don’t, seek out a naturopathic physician in your area.

      Good luck!

      Dr. Black

      Reply

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