Symptoms of crabs (pubic lice)
Pubic lice are parasites that live in your hair follicles. They cause itching and burning sensations when they bite or scratch at your skin.
The symptoms usually appear between the ages of 10 and 15 years. However, it may occur earlier or later than that.
You might not even notice them until you start having them every other day or week.
In some cases, the symptoms disappear after a few months. But in others they last longer.
Itching is the most common symptom of pubic lice.
Burning or stinging sensations are quite common too
You can also experience rashes and blisters that may accompany the other symptoms
Severe itching as well as burning sensations when you urinate or engage in sexual activities are also possible
Long-lasting symptoms can lead to hair loss in that affected area
You may also experience depression and anxiety caused by the embarrassment and shame of your condition.
What causes pubic lice?
You can get pubic lice when you engage in intimate body contact with an infected person. Your chances get much higher if your partner is infected, but it is not the only way of getting them. You can also get them from clothing and bed sheets that have been used by an infected person.
These lice cannot survive for long periods of time without human hosts. They die after a few days to a week, which means you cannot catch them from infected furniture and bedding.
How do you get pubic lice?
You can get pubic lice when you engage in intimate contact with an infected person. Possible ways of getting them are:
Having unprotected sexual activity with an infected person
Having contact with the infected person’s genitals using your hands or any other body part that is not protected with a latex glove
Sharing infected clothing or bed sheets
Sharing combs, brushes, towels, razors or other personal items that have come in contact with the infected person’s genitals
It is important to note that you can still get infected by an infected person who is using condoms. This is because the condoms do not cover all of the pubic area.
In fact, they only cover the person’s genitalia. Even if the infected person puts the condoms on properly, they can still have access to other parts of your body like your pubic hair.
How can you tell if someone has pubic lice?
There are some telltale signs that someone may have pubic lice. Look out for any of the following:
You may notice small bluish or grayish white dots near their genitals. These are pubic lice or their eggs
You may also find small, grayish white nits attached to the hair. These look like dandruff but are much smaller
You may notice red bites on the skin near the genitals. These are usually swollen and very itchy
What is the treatment for pubic lice?
The treatment for pubic lice depends on the severity of the symptoms. It is important to seek medical advice if you notice any of the symptoms listed above or if someone has told you they have an infestation.
The most common treatment is a special lotion that you can buy at the drugstore to kill the lice. Your doctor may also prescribe a medicated shampoo.
You need to apply the lotion or the shampoo as directed. You may also have to repeat the treatment after one week to get rid of any lice that were not killed after the first round of treatment. You may also need to use medicated shampoos and conditioners to get rid of the eggs.
You may need to speak to your doctor about any associated symptoms. If the infestation is severe, he or she may need to give you an additional medication.
In some cases, they may also recommend that you use an over-the-counter lotion to soothe the itch.
In some cases, pubic lice can be a sign of a more serious condition. If you have pubic lice and experience any other symptoms, seek medical help immediately.
These can include:
Swollen glands in your groin, armpits or neck
The sudden appearance of a rash anywhere on the body
How can you prevent getting pubic lice?
The best way to avoid getting pubic lice is to practice safe habits when it comes to your sexual activity.
Sources & references used in this article:
- Pubic lice (Pthirus pubis): history, biology and treatment vs. knowledge and beliefs of US college students (AL Anderson, E Chaney – … journal of environmental research and public …, 2009 – mdpi.com)
- The” nuisance” sexually transmitted diseases: molluscum contagiosum, scabies, and crab lice (SA Billstein, VJ Mattaliano Jr – The Medical clinics of …, 1990 – pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- The diagnosis and treatment of scabies and pubic lice (BM Faber – Primary Care Update for OB/GYNS, 1996 – Elsevier)
- A Treatment for Head Lice, Crab Lice and Scabies. (GW Eddy – War Medicine, 1944 – cabdirect.org)