These are the small parasites found in genital areas of humans. They usually spread through sexual contact and are most common in teenagers. They can also spread by sharing towel, clothes and bed. Having multiple sex partners can be a cause too. Pubic lice feed on your blood and their bites cause itching.
As well as being found in pubic hair, the lice are sometimes found in underarm and leg hair, hair on the chest, abdomen and back, facial hair, such as beards and mustaches eyelashes and eyebrows also.
Pubic lice are also called “crabs” because they look like crabs.
What Is Pubic Lice?
Pubic louse is an insect that is an ectoparasite of humans and they feed on human blood. An adult louse is 1.3 to 2 millimeter long.
Pubic lice lay their eggs on the coarse hairs of genital regions of human body. The female louse lay about three eggs a day, after the hatching of an egg it goes through 2 stages.
The nit is another name of the egg of the louse. It is hard to see and is firmly attached to the hair. Louse is usually oval and hatches in 6-10n days.
The nymph is an immature louse that hatches from the egg. Nymph looks like mature louse but is very small in size and take 2-3 weeks after hatching to mature.
The adult louse looks like a mini crab, have six legs and front legs are like claws of crab. It is either grayish brown or tan in color. Female louse is larger than male louse and lay eggs (nits).
It can only feed on human blood, but as it fall off the human body it usually die out within 2 days.
What Are the Symptoms of Pubic Lice?
The main symptom of pubic lice is itching in pubic areas due to hypersensitivity from the saliva of the lice. After two to three weeks the areas infested by lice become grayish blue.
Itching is due to the lice when they bury their heads into the skin or hair follicles. They inflame the area where they bite and discolor the skin.
In young children the pubic lice may cause irritation or infection of the eyes called “blepharitis”.
How Can I Know If I Have Pubic Lice?
There is no particular testing for pubic lice the doctor can easily diagnose by checking-up through magnifying glass.
Person can be tested for other STDs to confirm the presence of pubic lice.
Is There a Treatment for Pubic Lice?
There are different shampoos and lotions to get rid of pubic lice and can easily be available at drug stores.
Malathione is prescribed to apply on the infected area and washed after 8 to 12 hours. Ivermectin is an oral drug given for 10 days to treat the problem.
Permethrin is also used. Antihistamines are prescribed for the treatment of itching and drug used are from the class of diphenhydramine.
When no other treatment works, doctors prescribe lindane. Its toxicity is enough to kill the lice but it is not recommended for pregnant or breast feeding mothers.
How Are Pubic Lice Spread?
Although pubic lice cannot jump or fly yet they can transmitted or can spread through very close contact say sexual contact.
They can also spread by sharing towels and clothes with uninfected person. They cannot spread through toilet seats and close sittings at all.
Cats, dogs and other pets can be a cause of spread of pubic lice without infecting the animals.
How Can I Prevent Getting or Spreading Pubic Lice?
To prevent pubic lice avoid sexual contact, don’t share bedding or clothing with anyone. Take preventative measures if you are participated in water sports so the risk of spread is reduced.
If the infected one is getting the treatment, one should take tests to check for other STDs.
If one have pubic lice, one should tell his/her partner and should take proper treatment. Disinfect all the bed sheets and clothes after the treatment has been completed.