Shaving is such a personal matter. Whether you whip out the razor daily or let it go all natural, the choice is yours and yours alone. So should you shave your vagina? There are a few potential health risks to keep in mind. Whether the upsides outweigh the downsides of taking a razor to your downstairs area is up to you. (And before it even becomes an issue: yes, you can’t actually shave your vagina; the part that sports hair is technically known as the vulva.)
Is there ever a medical reason to shave down there? Probably not. For starters, there is no need to be perfectly shorn for a gyno appointment. According to Medical Daily, because your pubic hair can be moved aside during an exam, it will usually not present a problem for your doctor. And as stated in Gynecologic Specialists, if you do need to be shaved for some reason (such as surgery), then the specialists can do that for you at the time of the procedure.
Also, shaving your vulva does present some potential health problems. According to Emily Gibson, doctor of KevinMD.com, frequently shaving down there may irritate your skin and follicles, paving the way for pathogens such as group A streptococcus and methicillin resistant staph aureus (MRSA). As Gibson further explained, the hair helps protect your sensitive bits from friction and even bacteria. So if you want to err on the side of safety and let your locks grow, remember that medical science is on your side.
But even if you agree that pubic hair is all cool and natural, you still live in a culture that, for whatever reason, seems to favor the “all bare down there” aesthetic. To keep your shave safe, use shaving cream and a sharp razor, and shave with the grain. This will help keep your lady parts protected from the burn. And as always, if anything about your vaginal area seems out of whack — you have inflamed follicles or strange bumps, for instance — don’t hesitate to get your doctor’s advice.