Pubic lice or “crabs” are tiny parasitic insects that live on coarse human body hair, such as pubic hair. They are spread through close body contact, often through sexual contact. The lice are visible to the human eye and cause itching and red spots in the infected area. They feed on human blood and their eggs, or nits, are laid on the hair shaft close to the skin. Pubic lice infestation, also called pediculosis pubis, is treatable with over-the-counter or prescription medication.
Causes of Pubic lice
Pubic lice, also known as crabs, is a parasite that thrives in pubic or genital area hair. Here are the common causes or ways you can get them:
1. Sexual Contact: This is the most common method of transmission. Pubic lice generally spread through direct, skin-to-skin sexual contact with an infected person.
2. Sharing Bedding or Clothing: If you share bedding, towels, or clothing with someone who has pubic lice, you might get infested too. However, this is less common as lice cannot survive long when away from the human body.
3. Poor Personal Hygiene: Lack of cleanliness can make a person prone to pubic lice infestation.
4. Close Living Conditions: Pubic lice can spread easily in close living conditions where personal products, clothing, or bedding are shared.
It’s important to note that pubic lice do not spread through toilet seats as they can’t cling onto smooth surfaces. They also don’t spread through animals or pets since they are human-specific parasites.
Risk Factors of Pubic lice
Pubic lice, also known as crabs, are tiny insects that infest the hair and skin primarily in the pubic area. While any person can get pubic lice, there are certain risk factors that can increase a person’s chances of getting it:
1. Multiple Sexual Partners: Pubic lice are most commonly spread through sexual contact. The risk of getting pubic lice increases with the number of sexual partners a person has.
2. Sharing Bedding or Clothing: Pubic lice can survive outside the body for certain periods. Sharing bedding, clothes, or towels of an infected person can result in an infestation.
3. Close Personal Contact: Since pubic lice can be transferred from the hair of one person to another, close physical contact can be a risk factor.
4. Poor Personal Hygiene: People with unclean living conditions or poor personal hygiene can have an increased risk of contracting pubic lice.
5. Lack of Pubic Hair Grooming: Pubic lice thrive in coarse body hair. Regular grooming could reduce the risk.
6. Weakened Immune System: People with weakened immune systems may be more susceptible to pubic lice.
Remember, pubic lice are not an indication of cleanliness or moral character. The bugs can infest anyone, regardless of personal hygiene or living conditions. It is crucial to seek treatment if you think you may have pubic lice, as they will not go away without medication.
Signs and Symptoms of Pubic lice
Pubic lice, also known as crabs, are tiny insects that infest the hair and skin primarily in the pubic area although they can also be found in other coarse hair such as eyebrows, eyelashes, chest hair, armpits, and beard.
The most common symptom is intense itching in the genital area. The lice bites may further cause the following signs and symptoms:
1. Skin reaction: Small, blue spots may appear where the lice bite. These spots may last for several days, and are often mistaken for rash.
2. Visible lice or eggs: The lice or eggs (nits) may be seen in the pubic hair. They are extremely tiny, and are usually seen as small grey-white or yellow-brown specks.
3. Irritability: Excessive scratching, particularly at night, may lead to irritability and loss of sleep.
4. Infection: Scratching might lead to secondary bacterial infection, marked by redness, pus, crusting, warmth, or swollen lymph nodes.
If you’re suspicious about having pubic lice, a healthcare provider should be consulted to confirm the diagnosis and advise on effective treatment.
Diagnosis Pubic lice
Pubic lice, also known as “crabs,” are tiny parasites that attach themselves to the skin and hair in the pubic area, but can also be found in other areas with coarse hair such as armpits, eyebrows, and eyelashes. Their scientific name is Pthirus pubis.
These parasites feed on the blood of their host, causing intense itching and discomfort in the affected areas. They are commonly spread through sexual contact, but can also be spread through sharing unclean bed linens or towels. It is also worth noting that pubic lice doesn’t indicate poor personal hygiene.
Symptoms generally include itching in the genital area, visible nits (eggs) or lice in pubic hair, and sometimes mild fever or fatigue due to the body’s immune response.
To confirm the diagnosis, a doctor usually performs a visual examination to identify lice or nits. For treatment, topical medications that kill lice and their eggs are typically prescribed. In addition to this, any clothing, bedding, and towels used by the infested person should be washed in hot water to destroy the lice.
Remember that it’s crucial to avoid sexual contact until treatment is completed and the lice are entirely gone to prevent passing the infestation to others. Following safe and hygienic practices is the best prevention.
Treatment of Pubic lice
Pubic lice, often known as “crabs,” are small insects that infest the hair and skin in the pubic area. Treatment for this usually involves the use of specific lotions or shampoos that are designed to kill these lice. The following are the general steps involved in treatment:
1. Over-The-Counter Treatment: The first line of treatment usually involves over-the-counter lotions or shampoos containing 1% permethrin or pyrethrins, which can effectively kill lice. These products are typically applied onto the affected area and left on for several minutes before thoroughly washing off.
2. Prescription Treatment: If over-the-counter treatments do not work, a doctor may prescribe stronger medications such as malathion lotion, ivermectin lotion, or a pill to treat the infestation.
3. Manual Removal: Sometimes, particularly in the case of nits (lice eggs), manual removal may be necessary. This is typically done using a fine-toothed nit comb.
4. Cleaning Bedding And Clothing: It’s necessary to wash all bedding, clothing, and towels that came into contact with the infested individual during the two days before treatment in hot water. Items that aren’t washable should be dry-cleaned or sealed in a plastic bag for two weeks.
5. Repeat Treatment: Because some nits are resistant to treatment, it’s often necessary to repeat the treatment in about 7-9 days to kill any newly hatched lice.
6. Sexual Partners and close contacts: Sexual partners and everyone in the same home should be treated at the same time, to prevent re-infestation.
Remember: In addition to seeking treatment, it’s important to avoid sexual contact until you and your partner(s) have successfully completed treatment and are sure the lice are gone.
It’s always recommended to seek advice from a healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment. If you have been diagnosed with pubic lice, you may also want to get evaluated for other sexually transmitted infections.
Medications commonly used for Pubic lice
Pubic lice, also known as crabs, are small parasitic insects that live in the pubic hair, but can also be found in other body hair such as armpits, eyebrows, or lashes. The most common symptoms include itchiness and visible lice in the hair.
Common treatments used for pubic lice include:
1. Permethrin lotion (1%): It is a topical cream that kills lice.
2. Malathion lotion (0.5%): This is an alcohol-based lotion that is usually applied to the affected areas and washed off after 8–12 hours.
3. Lindane shampoo: This is a less-common option due to potential neurological side effects. It is used only when other treatments do not work.
4. Ivermectin: It is taken orally and may be considered if other treatments fail.
5. Pyrethrin with piperonyl butoxide shampoo: A product that works by disabling the insect’s nervous system. It is applied to the affected area and rinsed off after 10 minutes.
In general, these medications are applied to the affected area and then thoroughly washed off after a certain period of time. Most of these treatments require repeat application after one week to kill any newly hatched lice.
It’s important to note that these medications are used to kill the lice, but they don’t remove the eggs (nits) from the hair. This means combing through the hair with a special fine-toothed comb is also required to remove any remaining eggs.
If over-the-counter lotions or shampoos aren’t effective, you may need treatment with a stronger prescription medication. Always consult a healthcare professional before starting or changing a treatment regimen.
Prevention of Pubic lice
Pubic lice, also known as crabs, are tiny insects that infest the hair and skin in the pubic area. They can also infest other areas with coarse hair such as eyebrows, eyelashes, and armpits. Here are some ways to prevent getting pubic lice:
1. Abstain from Sexual Contact: As pubic lice are most commonly transmitted through sexual contact, the most effective way to prevent them is by abstaining from sexual activities. If you are sexually active, consider limiting your number of sexual partners or use protection.
2. Avoid Shared Personal Care Items: Pubic lice can live away from the body for about 24 hours, so it is best not to share personal care items such as towels, sheets, clothes, underwear, etc.
3. Avoid Shared Bedding and Clothing: Try not to share your clothes or bedding with anyone who has an infestation of pubic lice.
4. Regular Cleaning: Regularly clean and launder your clothing and bedding, especially if you know or suspect someone with pubic lice has been in contact with these items.
5. Abstain from Close Bodily Contact: With infected people, try to avoid close contact as the lice can move from person to person.
6. Regular Checkups: Keep an eye out for symptoms of pubic lice like intense itching in the pubic area, visible lice/eggs in pubic hair, or small spots of blood or bruising in your underwear (caused by louse bites). If you notice any of these signs, seek medical help immediately.
Although using protection during sexual intercourse does reduce the risk of transmission, it does not eliminate it completely, as condoms and dental dams do not cover all the hairy areas around the genitals.
It’s important to remember that anybody can catch pubic lice, it is not related to cleanliness or personal hygiene. Everyone who has close bodily contact with an infected person is at risk.
FAQ’s about Pubic lice
Pubic lice, also known as crabs, are tiny parasitic insects that live on coarse human body hair, such as pubic hair. Here are some frequently asked questions about pubic lice:
1. What are pubic lice and where do they come from?
Pubic lice are tiny insects that live in the coarse hair of the human body. They are most commonly found in the pubic hair, but can also live in underarm hair, hair on the legs, chest, eyelashes, and eyebrows. They are often spread through sexual contact, but can also be spread through sharing clothes, towels, or bedding with an infested person.
2. How do I know if I have pubic lice?
Signs of a pubic lice infestation include itching in the genital area, visible tiny insects in the pubic hair, or tiny blue dots or small, oval-shaped eggs on the pubic hair or skin.
3. How do I get rid of pubic lice?
Pubic lice are typically treated with over-the-counter lotions or shampoos that kill lice. Some people may also need to use a special comb to remove eggs. For a severe infestation, you may need prescription medication.
4. Can pubic lice lead to other problems?
While pubic lice themselves aren’t dangerous, scratching from the itching can lead to skin infections. Additionally, because pubic lice are often spread through sexual contact, anyone with pubic lice should also be tested for other sexually transmitted infections.
5. How can I prevent getting pubic lice?
The most effective way to prevent pubic lice is to avoid close personal or sexual contact with anyone who has the lice. It’s also important not to share bed linens, clothing, or towels with an infested person.
6. Are pubic lice the same as head lice or body lice?
While pubic lice are similar to head and body lice in that they are all parasitic insects that feed on human blood, they are a different species. Pubic lice cannot be transmitted by head-to-head contact like head lice can, and pubic lice infestations are usually more limited to specific areas of the body.
Remember, if you suspect you have pubic lice, it’s important to see a healthcare professional for accurate diagnosis and treatment.
Pubic lice, also known as crabs, are tiny insects that infest the hair and skin in the pubic area. They are parasites that feed on human blood, and their bites can cause severe itching. Pubic lice are usually transmitted through sexual contact.
Here are some reputable journal articles related to pubic lice:
Remember to always search for information, including journal articles, using recognized, reputable sources and always seek advice from a healthcare provider for medical issues.
Complications of Pubic lice
Pubic lice, also known as crabs, are small parasitic insects that feed on human blood and mainly live in the pubic hair area. They can sometimes also be found in other coarse hair on the body, such as hair on the legs, armpits, mustache, beard, eyebrows, or eyelashes. Here are some potential complications of pubic lice infestation:
1. Secondary infection: Constantly scratching the infested area can cause sores which might lead to secondary bacterial skin infections.
2. Eye infections: In rare cases where the lice infest eyelashes or eyebrows, they can cause eye infections or irritations, such as conjunctivitis or blepharitis.
3. Anemia: Though not common, severe and chronic infestation can lead to anemia caused by blood loss from the lice feeding.
4. Stress and Sleep disturbances: the persistent itch and the social stigma attached to the infestation can lead to psychological stress, embarrassment, and sleep disturbances.
5. Spread of other STIs: Since pubic lice are most often spread through sexual contact, a person with pubic lice may also be at increased risk of spreading or contracting other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
6. Allergic reactions: Some people may have an allergic reaction to the bites which can result in severe itching, inflammation, and rash.
It’s important to see a healthcare provider if you believe you have pubic lice. They can provide effective treatment to get rid of the lice and manage any associated symptoms or complications. Additionally, abstaining from sexual contact until you’re treated can prevent spreading the lice to others.
Home remedies of Pubic lice
Home remedies alone won’t completely eliminate pubic lice (also known as “crabs”). However, they can be used alongside medical treatments prescribed by a healthcare provider to alleviate discomfort and symptoms.
1. Shaving: Removing all the hair from your pubic area will not cure pubic lice, but it can help make treatment more effective.
2. Combing: Regularly combing the affected area with a fine-toothed comb can help remove some lice and eggs (nits). However, this method is unlikely to get rid of the infestation entirely.
3. Washing clothes and bedding: Wash all clothing, bedding, and towels used in the two days before treatment began in hot water—over 130 degrees Fahrenheit. If it can’t be washed, put it in a sealed plastic bag for two weeks.
4. Vacuuming: You should vacuum anywhere you’ve sat or laid down in the two days before treatment. This includes furniture, mattresses, car seats, etc.
5. Tea tree oil: There is some anecdotal evidence that tea tree oil may help kill or repel lice. Mix a few drops in a carrier oil and apply topically. However, tea tree oil won’t kill nits or prevent them from hatching, so it should not be used as a sole treatment.
Remember to always consult with a healthcare provider before initiating any home remedy. Pubic lice are typically treated with over-the-counter lotions and shampoos containing 1 percent permethrin or a mousse containing pyrethrins and piperonyl butoxide. If those don’t work, you may need prescription medication.
Prevention is always the best approach to dealing with pubic lice. Avoid sharing clothes, towels and bedding and limit sexual contact while being treated for pubic lice. Condoms do not prevent their spread.