Itchy Pubic Hair – Causes of Itching Pubes (Pubic Region)

Pubic hair is the hair that grows around the external genitals in the pubic region. The hair in the pubic region is thicker than the hair that grows in other parts of the body. Pubic hair is also referred to as groin hair. Unlike hair in other parts of the body, pubic hair grows only after puberty.

Changes in the level of male and female hormones after puberty are responsible for causing growth of pubic hair. Before puberty, the pubic region contains fine vellus hair. These hairs are replaced by coarser pubic hairs after puberty. Pubic hairs are, therefore, terminal hairs, and are considered a secondary sexual characteristic.

Itching in the Pubic Region

Itching in the pubic region is a common occurrence in both adults and children. Itching in this area may even be a constant problem for some individuals. Such cases of constant itching are usually caused by certain skin infections or diseases. Itching in the pubic region does not emanate from the pubic hairs. The causes of itching in the pubic area typically lie in the skin that covers the pubic region. Therefore, “itchy pubic hair” is not a correct phrase to describe itching in the pubic region.

Why does the pubic region itch?

The itching sensation in the pubic region does not arise from the pubic hair. Hair is made up of keratin protein and dead cells. Therefore, hairs cannot elicit any sensation. The sensations of pain, touch, itching, and heat are elicited by receptors present in the skin. The skin of the pubic region can itch just like the skin in other regions of the body. However, the skin in the pubic region is more prone to itching due to its location.

Causes of Itching in the Pubic Region

The pubic region is the area of the skin that extends from the lower part of the abdomen to the genitals. The groin area refers to the larger region that encompasses the pubic region, genitals, and the inguinal folds that are continuous with the skin on the thighs. A variety of factors can cause itching in the groin and pubic regions. These causes may either be physiologic or pathologic in nature.

Read more on itchy groin.

Heat

The pubic region has a relatively higher temperature than the skin in other parts of the body. This is because the pubic area is almost always covered with layers of clothing. The layers of cloth that cover the pubic region cause heat buildup in the area, which can lead to sweating, irritation, and itching. The presence of pubic hair also contributes to the heat buildup by trapping heat and sweat. People who live in hot and humid regions of the world are more prone to have itching in the pubic region.

Sweat

Sweating is a mechanism by which the body tries to remove excess heat and remain cool. However, due to the cover of clothing in the pubic area, sweat in this region gets trapped and fails to evaporate. The accumulation of sweat on the skin of the pubic region leads to irritation and itching. People who sweat profusely (such as individuals who are physically active or those who live in hot climates) have a higher likelihood of having sweat buildup and itching in the pubic region.

Undergarments

The act of wearing any undergarment is enough to cause heat buildup in the pubic area. However, the fit and fabric of the undergarments determines how much heat buildup and irritation occurs. The thicker the fabric and the tighter the fit of the undergarment, the higher the heat buildup in the pubic region. Coarse fabric and tight fitting undergarments may also cause chaffing of the skin, which can result in infections that cause severe itching.

Lack of hygiene

Taking care of personal hygiene goes a long way in preventing the skin problems that occur in the pubic region. Washing the pubic area every day aids the removal of dead skin cells, sweat, body secretions, and dust. This reduces the chances of getting skin irritation or infection. A simple wash with soap and water is enough to maintain healthy skin in the pubic area.

Injury

Injury to the skin in the pubic region can be caused by many different factors. For example, scratching the skin in the pubic area may cause an injury, which may lead to infections. Shaving pubic hairs may also cause an injury to the skin in the pubic region. Such injuries can lead to irritation and infections that are characterized by itching sensations.

Bacterial skin infections

The human skin harbors many different kinds of bacteria. Some of these bacteria can cause infections when they overgrow and get access to underlying tissues through cracks in the skin barrier. Bacterial skin infections are commonly caused by Streptococcus and Staphylococcus species of bacteria. Infections caused by these bacteria are typically acute in nature, and are characterized by redness, swelling, itching and pain in the affected skin areas. Sexually transmitted diseases are a frequent cause of bacterial infections of the skin in the pubic region.

Fungal skin infections

Like bacteria, many species of fungi also live on the human skin. These fungi do not cause any skin infections under normal conditions. However, breaks in the skin and a weakening of the immune system may allow fungal skin infections to occur. The warm and moist skin in the pubic region is ideal for the growth of fungi. Therefore, fungal skin infections caused by dermatophytes (such as tinea cruris or jock itch) are common in the groin area. Yeasts (such as Candida albicans) may also cause skin infections in some cases. Itching is a common symptom of fungal skin infections.

Read more on jock itch.

Infestations

Infestation of the pubic region by tiny insects is also a cause of itching in this area. The insects may burrow into the skin, lay eggs, and also feed on blood. Lice and scabies are two examples of insect infestations of the pubic region. Scabies is caused by mites, which burrow into the skin and cause severe itching. Pubic lice (also known as crabs) spread through sexual contact and are different from the lice found on the head or body.

Sexually transmitted infections

Itching in the pubic region is also a symptom of many sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, and genital herpes. Both the genitals and adjacent skin areas are typically affected in these conditions. Skin rashes may or may not be present along with the itching symptom.

Contact dermatitis

Skin irritation caused by physical contact with various substances may also be the cause of itching in the pubic region. The substances that can cause skin irritation upon repeated contact include water, soap, sweat, body lotions, talcum powder, perfumes, and sanitary pads. In some hypersensitive individuals, allergic skin reactions may also occur upon contact with such substances. Itching is a common feature of contact dermatitis.

Other causes

Apart from the above mentioned causes, itching in the pubic region may also be due to conditions such as psoriasis, hives, genital warts, atopic dermatitis, and seborrheic dermatitis.

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