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A Whole Lot of Women Are Grooming Their Pubic Hair, Study Finds

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Pubic hair is the one type of personal grooming that remains essentially private. What you do or do not do with your hair down there is your own business. But, sometimes, researchers have to ask awkward questions in the name of science. To better understand the changing pubic hygiene habits of American women, a group of OBGYNs and urologists asked more than 3300 U.S. women between 18 and 65 about how they groomed. The results, published in JAMA Dermatology and spotted by LiveScience, give us a broad look at how women view their pubes.

Here's what they found: Almost 84 percent of women said they had done some kind of landscaping on their bush all their lives, and more than 62 percent of respondents reported removing all of their pubes at least once. 

They also discovered that only 16 percent said they had never groomed down there, a major reversal from trends in 1968, when 40 percent of women didn't groom at all and only 10 percent reported removing all their hair. Almost 93 percent of women in the study who groomed their pubic hair in some way said they did it themselves, rather than going to a salon. (For context, the modern “Brazilian wax” wasn’t invented until 1987—more than a decade before Sex and the City made it a hot topic.)

White women were the most likely to trim. And in general, grooming was more associated with younger, more educated, and wealthier groups. Neither sexual orientation nor how frequently the participants had sex was related to grooming habits. While most women (56 percent) said that sex was their motivation for trimming, shaving, or waxing (and 21 percent said it was because their partner preferred it), a surprising number were concerned about their doctor: 40 percent said they groomed before health care visits. And a full 59 percent groomed for what they said were hygienic reasons, which rather suggests that women think their pubes are gross—even though hair removal irritates the skin and actually makes it a better habitat for some gross bacteria

"There's nothing cleaner about" groomed pubic hair, study lead author Tami Rowen told LiveScience.

While no one should be told that what they do with their hair down there is somehow wrong or gross, it’s also good to get a fuller picture of what the average bush looks like, lest people think that being smooth as a Photoshopped baby’s bottom is the default.

Pubic hair is rarely seen in the public realm. Consider that the director of Fifty Shades of Grey felt it notable to mention in pre-release interviews that the movie would show the main character’s pubes. “She actually has a bush, which is fantastic!" director Sam Taylor-Johnson told the Huffington Post. This lack of hair visibility can give people the impression that everyone is waxing it all off. There are almost never hairs peeking out of swimsuit models’ bikinis, and when an Australian magazine posted an image of swimsuit models with a little extra hair on Instagram in 2015, the app censored the account.

Having no pubes isn’t cleaner than having a healthy tangle of hair down there, and grooming, like most of life, is not without its dangers. One study estimated that between 2002 and 2010, more than 11,700 people went to the ER with pubic grooming injuries, mostly related to shaving, with incidents increasing rapidly over the course of that decade. On the other hand, pubic lice are much rarer now that people go a little barer. Still, it’s important to know that no matter what you do with your pubes, you’re probably not the only one.

[h/t LiveScience]

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The CDC Makes It Official: Public Pools Are Disgusting
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Every summer, warm weather sends people across the country looking for a cool refuge in public pools, hotel pools, spas, and other water-based destinations. Before you take the plunge, you may want to heed the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Jumping into a publicly-populated pool could be like bathing in someone else’s diarrhea, as Men’s Health reports.

The health agency revealed its findings in their Mortality and Morbidity Report, which explains why pools are ground zero for bacteria. Between 2000 and 2014, the CDC traced 493 outbreaks and over 27,000 cases of illness that could be connected to exposure to a public pool. The primary culprit was Cryptosporidium, a parasite found in feces that causes intestinal distress. The determined little bugs can survive for up to seven days after encountering the CDC’s recommended levels of one to three parts per million (PPM) of free chlorine. Even if the pool is being cleaned and maintained properly, Cryptosporidium can idle long enough to infect someone else. The report also indicated that Legionella (which causes Legionnaire’s disease) and Pseudomonas (responsible for ear infections and folliculitis) were found in some of the pools.

The problem is likely the result of swimmers entering the pool while suffering from an upset stomach and leaving trace fecal matter behind. The CDC recommends that you not enter a public pool if you feel unwell, that you ask for a pool inspection report if you’re concerned about the hygiene of the facility, and that you absolutely not swallow any water. The agency also recommends that any pool owner who has experienced a “diarrheal incident” in their water opt for hyperchlorination to kill bacteria.

[h/t Men’s Health]

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Sleeping In on Weekends May Help You Catch Up on Sleep After All
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Weekend mornings are a precious time for nine-to-fivers. If you spend your weekdays staying up long past reasonable bedtime hours and waking up with the Sun, you may be tempted to sleep past noon every day off you get. Sleeping in feels great, and now a new study from sleep scientists at Stockholm University's Stress Research Institute finds that it may also be an effective way to make up for the sleep you missed during the week, contradicting previously held beliefs on the matter.

According to most sleep researchers, the only way to catch up on sleep debt is to adjust your sleeping patterns gradually over time—in other words, cramming in all the sleep you missed last week into a night or two won't cut it. A team of scientists reexamined this theory for their study published in the Journal of Sleep Research [PDF]. Researchers looked at the sleep data from about 44,000 Swedish adults collected in 1997 and followed up with the participants 13 years later. Accounting for factors like age, gender, and education, they report that adults who consistently slept for five hours or fewer throughout the week were more likely to have died after those 13 years than subjects who slept for six or seven hours, seven days a week. Oversleeping every day of the week also put participants at a greater risk of mortality.

But there's good news for people who do all their sleeping in on the weekend—subjects who under-slept five days and slept more during the last two days of the week had no greater risk of death than the people who got healthy amounts of sleep every night of the week. The results call into question past sleep studies that have only looked at sleep patterns during the week, ignoring weekend behaviors. The new study, though, focuses just on the sleeping habits of people at a specific point in time. To confirm what these results suggest, more long-term studies will need to be conducted.

Earlier mortality isn't the only health risk associated with unsatisfactory sleep habits: Getting too little or poor-quality sleep can mess with your memory, appetite, and cognitive and motor performance. That means finding time to get a good night's sleep, no matter the day of the week (if you're lucky enough to have the option), is still the healthiest course of action.

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