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What causes Pubic Lice?

Updated on January 10, 2014

What is Pediculosis

Pediculosis means infestation of lice.

There are three forms of pediculosis:

  • Pediculus humanus capitis (head lice)
  • Pediculosis pubis (pubic lice)


How is Pediculosis Pubis (pubic lice) Spread

Pubic lice (also called crabs) are mainly spread by sexual intercourse but adults including children can get infected in other ways such as when they share the same toilet seat, clothes, towels or bedding with an infected person.

Children can also get pediculosis pubis if they are sexually abused by someone who has it.

The lice are generally found on pubic hair but it’s not uncommon to find pubic lice on armpits, eyebrows and eyelashes.


Where do Pubic Lice Live?

The female louse lays up to three nits (eggs) a day.

The eggs are nestled at the bottom of the pubic hair follicles and take nearly a week to hatch.The lice hide in hair follicles and feed on the blood of its host leaving behind tiny bites similar in color to a bruise.

Pubic lice bites can cause severe itching and a burning sensation when passing urine in some people.

Pubic lice are busiest at night since this is the time it mostly feeds on its host leaving some victims scratching the infected area till it bleeds.

How Can You Prevent Pubic Lice?

  • Refrain from having sexual intercourse with an infected person.
  • Don’t share the same toilet seat, clothes, towels, bed linen with an infected person.


Treatments for Pubic Lice

Treatments and remedies used to heal infestations caused by pubic lice should be continued for at least a week.

  • Refrain from scratching the infected area as this can damage the skin and bacteria can set in if the skin is broken.
  • Wash hands immediately after scratching the infected area. If not you can spread nits or lice that may have attached itself to your hands or fingernails to other parts of your body.
  • Bathe regularly and check under the armpits since pubic lice can travel up from the genital area and hide itself inside the hairs found under the arm.
  • Wash the area using a medicated soap (preferably one recommended by the doctor) and while the pubic hair is still wet, use a fine-tooth comb to remove any nits and lice that may be hiding in the hair follicles.
  • Some people use Lindane (Kwell) shampoo but this should only be used under doctor's orders.
  • Soak clothes, towels, and bedding in hot water mixed with a disinfectant for half an hour before washing it.
  • Apply Vaseline petroleum jelly on eyebrows and eyelashes if nits or lice are found. The oil in the Vaseline will smother the nits and lice making it easy to remove the bugs.

Popular Home Remedy For Pubic Lice

If you can get some fresh neem leaves take a handful and grind with a little water tp make into a paste. Apply on the area and leave for two to three minutes. Then wash with warm water making sure to scrub as you wash with a soft bristle brush. Do this treatment in the morning and at nigh before going to bed.

Calamine Lotion to Treat Pubic Lice

Calamine lotion when applied on the area and kept till it dries is ideal to smother and remove pubic lice. Make sure to wash with warm water and use a soft bristle brush as you scrub the area clean of the dried calamine lotion.

Seek medical attention if the following symptoms occur:

  • The skin in the infected area is damaged and bacteria has set in.
  • There is severe itching and skin is inflamed.
  • Feeling of a burning sensation when passing urine

© 2011 Suranee Perera


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    • Suranee1969 profile image

      Suranee Perera 6 years ago from Kandy, Sri Lanka

      Hello Dave Matthews. You're absolutely right, a person can get infected with pubic lice in other ways:sharing a toilet seat, clothing, bedding, towels with an infected person. Thank you so much for visiting and for reading my hub. Wish you a wonderful weekend :)

    • Dave Mathews profile image

      Dave Mathews 6 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

      pubic lice should not be considered an "STD" since it can be contracted anywhere from anything.