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Pubic Lice: Easy To Treat Once Diagnosed

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Pubic lice are tiny insects that normally reside in pubic hair, underarm hair and, occasionally, in eye-lashes and eyebrows. They are often referred as “crabs”, due to their crab-like appearance. They are 2 mm long and yellow-grey in color.

Causes of Pubic lice

Sexual contact is considered as one of the most common ways through which pubic lice passed from one person to another. However, it is important to state that close contact with family members is also considered as a major reason of getting affected with them. For instance, kissing or hugging any person having an infected moustache or beard results in catching pubic lice.  Pubic lice also spread by sharing bedding, clothing, towels, etc of infected person. They cannot fly or jump, they simply move by crawling.


Sometimes, it does happen that people experience symptoms several weeks later after getting into contact with them. Symptoms that may appear include:

  • Itching in the affected areas
  • Appearance of faint blue spots at nearby skin.
  • Eye inflammation, if eyelashes are affected.
  • Appearance of sores in the genital area.

Diagnosis Test for Pubic Lice Infestation

One cannot see crawling lice in the hairs, hence appearance of nits, nymph, etc confirms that a person is infected with it and need to be treated. Eye-lashes of small children should be examined with magnifying glass of high power, in order to confirm their presence. Signs or scratch mark of impetigo infection also indicates about the presence of lice infestation.


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Pubic Lice treatment is simple and involves making use of lotion, cream or shampoo. Basically, person has to thoroughly use the prescribed shampoo or lotion into the pubic hair for at least 5 minutes.  Lotion is applied to affected areas including scalp. After rinsing well with water, comb hair with fine-toothed comb. It is necessary to wash clothes and towels in hot water. If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, then do inform about the same to your doctors, so accordingly, treatment is given to you. Moreover, it is important that sexual partners and other family members infected with lice infestation must be treated at the same time.

Prescription like Elimite, Kwell, Rid and Nix, malathione lotion, permethrin dermal cream, etc is recommended by major doctors. Rid and Nix are over-the-counter medications prescribed by pharmacists. According to the Centers for Disease Control “Over-the-counter treatments of Pubic lice contain either combination of pyrethrins and piperonyl butoxide or permethrin as an active ingredient to kill live pubic lice”. Although, infection gets treated effectively with single treatment, another treatment can be carried out successfully after completion of 4 days or 1 week, if required. Shaving should be strictly avoided after taking the lice treatment. On an average, an adult needs 20-30 gm of cream or 100ml of lotion is considered suitable to apply on the whole body. It is advised not to indulged in any kind of sexual activities till the treatment gets completed.  It is noteworthy to disclose that without treatment, pubic lice won’t go away. Good personal hygiene is recommended to prevent infestation of the pubic lice is one of the best ways to keep lice infestation at bay.

Possible Complications

“Constant digging and scratching may result in making skin raw or rough is considered as possible complication that infected person can experience”.

Summary- Pubic lice are small insect that infect pubic hair, armpit hair, eyebrows, etc. Physical contact with infected person results in spreading of the lice from one hair to another. Washing hair with creams, lotions, shampoos, etc are recommended by health professionals in order to treat lice infestation.

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Written by: Saptakee sengupta
Date last updated: April 12, 2015