MADRID, 27 Jul. (EDITIONS) -
The body preserves several traces that show human evolution at a physical and social level. For example, the coccyx, the last piece of the spinal column, is the vestige of a tail. One of these traces is pubic hair, which at the dawn of humanity had specific functions. However, it is currently completely reviled. So much so that some people choose to make it disappear permanently.
Indeed, "pubic hair has several physiological and social functions," the member of the Spanish Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (AEDV) tells Infosalus. Doctor Vicente Manuel Leis Dosil, who adds that "some of them are nowadays unnecessary thanks to the progress of civilization".
At a physiological level, the now obsolete function of pubic hair, whose appearance between the ages of 8 and 13 is called pubarche and occurs earlier in girls, was to regulate the temperature of the external genitalia. This regulation is "vital to maintain fertility, especially male fertility," points out the dermatologist at Idelia Dermatology. Pubic hair no longer serves in this context because "this function is currently guaranteed by the use of clothing," explains Dr. Leis. On the social side, pubic hair in ancient times "was an indicator that the woman was already fertile", something that in our current framework "has also been overcome", reports the expert.
But although most people tend to find it annoying and remove it, pubic hair serves important functions today as well. Dr. Leis specifies that "the hair prevents friction and trauma to the pubis and the mount of Venus during intercourse," says the expert. In addition, "it has been shown that it hinders the transmission of certain sexually transmitted infections", the member of the AEDV has highlighted.
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In fact, chafing prevention is also the reason behind its curly appearance. The other reason that justifies that it is curly and not straight is the aforementioned temperature regulation function, something that the doctor values as an "adaptive advantage". "With age it's common for it to become a little straighter," adds Dr. Leis.
The functions still useful today are those that advise against the complete removal of pubic hair. "Complete hair removal has been linked to an increased risk of certain sexually transmitted infections, such as molluscum contagiosum," specifies the expert. "It is also related in some work as a risk factor for vulvodynia," adds Dr. Leis, who summarizes that "that is why complete hair removal should not be recommended from a medical point of view."
DOES IT GIVE CLUES ABOUT HEALTH?
Another reason that accounts for its current functionality is that some hair diseases "can also manifest themselves in pubic hair, such as alopecia areata or some inflammatory-type alopecias," says Dr. Leis.
On the other hand, some types of endocrine disorders "may have an increase or decrease in body hair," the expert recalls. For example, "in hypothyroidism, body hair can be lost and, in situations of hyperandrogenism, the hair can overflow the pubic region and extend towards the abdomen", concludes the member of the AEDV.