Monday June 23 2014

Swollen scars on private parts as result of shaving

By Dr Vincent Karuhanga

Dear Doctor: My sister has swollen scars on her private parts that developed as a result of shaving the pubic hair. The doctor has advised surgery. What is the probability that after surgery they will not reoccur? And how is it related to the blood group?

Doreen Korugyendo

Dear Doreen: Because pubic hair grows curving inwards, shaving can damage the skin, causing what is known as razor bumps. These razor bumps are especially common in people who have curly hair and it is not surprising that they mostly occur after shaving pubic hair.

The bumps may result into big hard scars called keloids. Unfortunately, keloids can occur long after the bumps. Sometimes, the swollen scars may be of a type medically called hypertrophic scars which may regress with time. But if they do not and even appear to be getting bigger, they are likely to be keloids.

Sometimes, razors may damage the skin leading to introduction of germs with infection resulting in the scars, though mere skin injury may also lead to scars.

Since keloids appear with minor or sometimes insignificantly small injuries, the fear that surgery on keloids is likely to result into a bigger wound, and therefore, more massive scars, is genuine. Doctors, however, can use other treatments after removing keloids to lessen the likelihood of the reappearance. This may include targeted superficial low dose radiation or steroid injections.

Irradiation, however, has many complications and is usually used as a last resort. Also for a young woman or one in childbearing age, doing this on the pubis, which protects female eggs for reproduction, is not appropriate.

Since your doctor suggested surgery, please go for it because he must have assessed you properly and deemed it the better option.

Though not every person who shaves the pubes will get bumps or keloids, those who are prone should avoid shaving and instead just trim pubic hair with curved scissors to avoid the bumps. Originally, it was said that people with type A blood group are most likely to get keloids anywhere on the body, but recent research disputes this.