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Pubic Lice (Crabs)

Pubic Lice:

Pubic lice are tiny insects that infect the pubic hair area and lay eggs. These lice can also be found in armpit hair and eyebrows.



Pubic lice are known as Phthirus pubis. They are found mostly in teenagers. Pubic lice are often spread during sexual activity.Rarely, pubic lice can passed through contact with objects such as toilet seats, sheets,blankets, or bathing suits at a store.Animals cannot spread lice to humans.

Other types of lice include:

►Body lice

Head lice

You are at greater risk for pubic lice if you:

Have many sexual partners

Have sexual contact with an infected person

Share bedding or clothing with an infected person



Pubic lice causes itching in the area covered by pubic hair. Itching often gets worse at night. The itching may start soon after getting infected with lice, or it may not start for up to 2 - 4 weeks after contact.

Other symptoms can include:

Skin reaction that causes skin to turn bluish-gray in color

Sores in the genital area due to bites and scratching


Exams and Tests:

The health care provider will do an exam to look for:

Small gray-white oval eggs (nits) attached to the hart shafts in the outer genital area. Adult lice may also be present.

Scratch marks or signs of an infection, such as impetigo.

Because pubic lice may cause an eye infection (blepharitis) in young children, eyelashes should be viewed with a high-powered magnifying glass.

Adult lice may be easily identified under the microscope. Pubic lice are often referred to as "the crabs" because of their appearance.

Teenagers with pubic lice may need to be tested for other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).



Pubic lice are best treated with a prescription.Most people need only 1 treatment. If a second treatment is needed, it should be done 4 days to 1 week later.Over-the-counter medicines to treat lice must be prescribed by the doctor after examination.