Pubic lice infection is a type of Sexually-Transmitted Disease (STD). Learning about pubic lice is an important step in protecting ourselves from this type of infection.
What is Pubic Lice?
Pubic lice are also referred to as “crabs” or crab lice. These are insects that serve as parasites which commonly inhabit in pubic hair of the genital region. However, pubic lice can also be found on parts of the body with hair such as arm pits, legs, beards, eyebrows and eyelashes.
Anyone can get infested by the insect which means it can occur in any race, age and levels of society.
Signs and Symptoms of Pubic Lice Infestation
People don’t usually get signs and symptoms until a few days of pubic lice infestation. Some people don’t get signs and symptoms at all. However, if they do, here are the things to watch out for.
- Severe itching of genitals and anus
- Mild fever
- Presence of nits (lice eggs) in pubic hair
- Visible crawling lice
How Can I Know If I’m Infested With Pubic Lice?
Usually, you will know if you have pubic lice. You can also see a doctor if you suspect such infestation.
When you look at pubic lice using a magnifying glass, they appear like small crabs that are pale colored. However, once they are filled with blood, they change color into dark red or brown. They also lay eggs that are found in clumps on roots of the pubic hair. Its appearance can be compared as the dandruff found on human hair.
A Closer Look
Pubic lice have different forms according to what life stage they are into: the nits, nymph and the adult lice
Nits are actually lice eggs. They can be very tiny making it hard to see. They attach firmly in countless numbers on hair shafts of the pubic hair. For about 6-10 days, these nits hatch and turn into nymphs.
Nymphs are young lice that come from the nits. They typically look like an adult lice but a smaller version of it. Nymphs feed on human blood to mature and be able to reproduce. They usually take 10-21 days to mature and be able to lay eggs.
An adult louse resembles a small crab when examined through a magnifying glass. As an insect, they have 6 legs and their two front leg looks like the pinchers of the crab. That is why they are also known as crab lice.
How Does Pubic Lice Spread?
Pubic lice are easily spread through sexual encounters with people infested with it. They can also be spread directly through close skin-to-skin contact or contact with used clothing, towels, linens and other personal things an infected person uses.
However, the idea that pubic louse can be passed through sharing a bathroom with a person infected is impossible. Lice don’t have the ability to crawl on smooth surfaces and cannot live long without the warmth of a human habitat.
Effects of Having Pubic Lice
Aside from intense itching brought by pubic lice, it cannot damage your sperm or any structures in your reproductive system. However, if you scratch a lot, it can cause tiny breaks in your skin which could invite infection around the skin of your genital region.
Pubic Lice should be diagnosed properly by a health care provider because it is easy to mistake as other types of skin diseases. It is also important to be checked for other sexually transmitted diseases to get proper treatment.
What is the Treatment For Pubic Lice?
When you consult a physician, he will prescribe you a shampoo that can kill lice including its eggs. There are lotions that are also available in the pharmacy and can be bought even without prescription. All these treatments can be safe and effective as long as you follow everything that is written in the packaging.
If you have been diagnosed with pubic lice, you don’t have to be ashamed to report this to your doctor. It is treatable and could go away mostly after the first treatment. It is very important that you practice proper hygiene and wash your personal belongings in a hot water to make sure the lice won’t come back after the treatment. It is a must to avoid sexual contact with a person with pubic lice until they are already treated.
When shopping for clothes or underwear, avoid fitting them when you haven’t washed them yet. That also includes swimming trunks and other swim wears.
Lastly, the best protection you can get is to stick with one sexual partner. Once you or your partner have been infected by it, both of should be treated including your bed, linens and other things you frequently come in contact to.
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