Doctor explains how common shower mistake can cause intimate female body part to 'fuse together', stunting orgasms

READ MORE: Nearly half of young men don't know where a woman's clitoris is

Women on social media have been urged to thoroughly wash their intimate areas in the shower to avoid parts of their genitals 'fusing' together.

Responding to a thread about feminine hygeine on Reddit, a Maryland-based urologist explained how a build-up of bacteria and dead skin cells on specific tissues can result in parts 'sticking' together.

Last month, a user in the Reddit group r/TwoXChromosomes wrote a post warning of the problem, which affects the clitoris — the highly sensitive part of the vulva that contains an abundance of nerve endings.

In the post, user PeculiarOcelot suggested that nearly one in four women may have had part or all of their clitoris — a woman's main sexual pleasure zone — fused together from not properly washing the area.

Not properly washing your intimate areas could lead to clitoral adhesions, when the body part 'fuses' together

Not properly washing your intimate areas could lead to clitoral adhesions, when the body part 'fuses' together

Urologist Dr Rachel Rubin weighed in and explained the phenomenon is called clitoral adhesions, which is when the protective hood above the clitoris becomes attached to it.

This is essentially the female equivalent to a man's foreskin. 

Normally, when a woman becomes sexually aroused, the clitoris swells and the hood retracts. However, clitoral adhesions can keep the hood from moving, which makes it more difficulty to stimulate the clitoris during sex.

According to the International Society for Sexual Medicine (ISSM), improper hygiene is one of the most common causes of clitoral adhesion because it leads to a buildup of smegma, a combination of skin cells, oils, and other moisture.

Additionally, irritation around that area from clothing friction or frequent sex can result in adhesions.

In 2022, a study from Dr Rubin found that 23 percent of women who visit a sexual health practice, regardless of the reason, have clitoral adhesions.

Dr Rubin told Buzzfeed that cleaning the clitoral hood is similar to boys being taught to pull back their foreskin to prevent a similar issue called phimosis.

In phimosis, uncircumcised boys and men cannot easily retract their foreskin.

This usually does not cause issues, but in some people, it can lead to redness, discoloration, swelling, soreness, pain while urinating, and pain with erections or sex.

'When you get erections and it moves and stretches, it doesn't feel so good. It hurts. It's restricted. It's not comfortable,' Dr Rubin said.

She noted that the clitoris and the penis are actually very similar, as they have the same tissues, muscles, and nerves, though the clitoris has not been studied nearly as much as the penis. 'The clitoris is exactly the same in every way, shape, and form,' she said.

'It's just that we don't pee through or penetrate with our clitorises, so science has completely abandoned hearing about them.'

ISSM notes that 'maintaining good hygiene practices, including regular cleaning of the genital area, can help prevent recurrence of adhesions.' This includes pulling back the hood when showering.

Dr Rubin recommends using a handheld mirrror to check for adhesions. 'The head of the clitoris should look like the head of the penis that has a rim around it like a mushroom,' she said.

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