Do I Need to Get Rid of Pubic Hair Before My Pelvic Exam? Find Out!

Woman at the gynecologist

One of the most common comments that OB/GYNs get from our patients during an examination is:

I am so sorry! I didn’t get a chance to shave!

When did that become the expectation? Or is it an expectation at all? What is your doctor REALLY thinking when you come in without any preemptive personal grooming? Does your doctor REALLY care about the hair down there?

Pubic hair is natural. You have it for a reason. Actually, you have it for several reasons.

It provides warmth and helps keep dirt and insects from finding their way into intimate areas. It also helps with a process called pheromone trapping. Pheromones are the scent that attracts a mate for reproduction.

It all sounds very primal, but it’s a normal part of being a living thing on planet Earth.

Today, these benefits are less of a concern. We don’t have the same bug-related problems, and we tend to live in cleaner environments with better personal hygiene. Since it’s not a big deal anymore, some women choose to remove their pubic hair.

There’s still some risk involved because shaving and waxing can cause abrasions, burns, infections, or the occasional ingrown hair. However, they are usually minor issues that can be managed without a doctor.

What Will My OB/GYN Think?

An OB/GYN’s job involves inspecting places that are private. Some women feel pressure to ensure that everything is perfect before they go. The truth is that your doctor and their staff do not care if you are clean-shaven or not.

They are medical professionals. They know that hair growth is natural and normal. It doesn’t hinder their ability to do their job, and it doesn’t harm your health.

Your gynecologist may be looking at as many as 20 different vaginas a day. When it comes to pubic hair, they have seen it all.

Does Your OB/GYN Care About Hair Down There?

The answer is… Yes! But probably for different reasons than you might have thought.

When do we care? First, the presence (or absence) of pubic hair may be part of the exam. All post-pubertal women should naturally have pubic hair. In fact, if you never developed pubic hair, it would raise our suspicion that you could have a rare disorder such as androgen insensitivity disorder. Alternatively, some women have more pubic hair than we would expect that can extend up the abdomen towards the belly button. This could be an important physical exam finding that could lead your doctor to order testing to see if you have an excess of male hormones (androgens) in your system. If you have removed this hair prior to the appointment, your OB/GYN may miss out on an important clue that you have something else going on, like polycystic ovarian syndrome.

More concerning than the presence of pubic hair is what OB/GYN often sees in its place: folliculitis. Many women will get inflammation and infection of the hair follicles if they shave with a razor. For these women, OB/GYN recommends avoiding shaving with a razor. Alternatives could include using an electric razor, waxing, or laser hair removal. While they don’t get as close as a shave as a traditional razor, it is fast, convenient, and it saves your skin.

Bottom line: Do what works for you and what keeps your skin nice. $ads={2}

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