Pubic lice or the crabs are tiny blood-sucking bugs found in genital areas stuck to the skin and hair near your genitals. They can be found in underarms, mustache, eyebrows, leg, and chest hair, too. The crabs aren’t dangerous, and you can quickly get rid of it.
What do pubic lice look like?
The pubic lice fall into three categories based on their lifecycle:
Nit: Pubic lice eggs, the first stage of the life cycle, are known as nits. It is still the l lice egg that is not easily visible to human eyes.
There are two reasons behind it. First, they are too small, and second is that nits firmly attach themselves to the shaft of the hair.
Nits are yellow to white in color and oval in shape. They can be visible with a magnifying glass. It takes them about 6-10 days to hatch.
Nymph: After the 6-10 days, the baby lice comes out of the hatched nits, referred to as the nymph. The nymph looks like an adult crab; however, it is smaller in size.
It will almost take 2-3 weeks for the nymph to be capable of reproducing. It feeds on blood to survive.
Adult: The fully grown-up pubic lice now looks like a smaller version of crab. It has six legs, the two long front legs that more or less resembles like the pincher claws of a crab has earned them the name “crabs”.
The female lice are bigger in size compared to their male counterpart in size. If it falls off the human body, it will die within a day or two as it can only feed on blood.
How do you get pubic lice?
The pubic lice need a medium to transfer from one body to another. The most common one is through sexual contact and commonly found in adults. The pubic lice, if discovered in a child, means that there has been sexual contact made and abuse.
Using condoms or contraceptive methods doesn’t protect you from getting pubic lice. The other medium could be through clothing (trousers, jeans, etc.), towels, or bed linens of the infected person.
There is a misconception that pubic lice spread by sitting on a toilet seat.
The chances of it are remarkably low and almost next to impossible. Neither the crabs can stay away long from the warm human body nor are their feet designed to hold onto or walk on a smooth surface like that of a toilet seat.
Can you see pubic lice?
The pubic lice are tan to a grayish-white in color, but their color darkens after sucking human blood. Female lice lay eggs, smaller than a pinhead, that hatch into lice after 7-10 days.
It can be visible through the magnifying glass only.
Pubic lice symptoms
Pubic lice symptoms are discovered only after five days of infestation. Some of us may identify the pubic lice symptoms with rash or any other causes. However, these are the symptoms that could indicate pubic lice infestation:
- Severe itching on the affected area resulting from the saliva of the lice that can get worst at night and crabs bite.
- Blood spots on groins and lower abdomen caused by lice bites.
- Red bumps on the skin.
- Feeling feverish, run-down, or irritable.
- Dark or bluish spots are indicating skin area infested by the crabs. These are also the result of the crab’s bites.
- Note: Symptoms are the same for men and women, few may not notice any symptoms but the lice or nits on their body or clothes.
Pubic lice treatment
Pubic lice treatment is possible with two types of insecticides called the malathion and the permethrin lotion. They are specially formulated to be used on the human body and is easy to apply and works well.
Use 100 ml or 20 g/30 g of the lotion on average adult and apply it to the whole body. You should leave the malathion lotion for 12 hours and permethrin cream for 24 hours and then wash it off (below 18 yrs age should not use permethrin lotion).
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you will need to consult your doctor or pharmacist after applying the cream put on clean underwear or clothing and follow the process for seven days for better results.
Home remedies for pubic lice
It is always a better idea to look for home remedies that are easy to prepare and more efficient.
- Neem leaves
Take some neem leaves and add water to make a paste. Apply it liberally over the pubic area and leave it to dry. You can leave it overnight for the best results.
The next morning scrub it off with a brush and wash with lukewarm water. Repeat the process every morning and evening for a week.
Neem leaves have antibacterial properties that can suffocate lice. It is one of the most efficient ways to kill it.
2. Petroleum Jelly
Petroleum jelly kills lice by suffocating them because of their lubricative nature. Apply it to the affected area and leave it on for a couple of hours.
Repeat the process 2 or 3 times a day and clean it off by using tea tree shampoo or dishwashing liquid.
Vinegar is highly acidic, which kills the lice on contact. Mix an equal amount of vinegar and water. Dip a large cotton swab on the solution and apply it to the pubic area or any affected part.
Leave it for 30 minutes. Remove the remaining nits and eggs by scrubbing the area with lemon juice, salt, sugar, and honey.
4. Peppermint Oil
Peppermint has a cooling effect which irritates the lice. Apply the oil on the affected area. Leave it for 30 minutes and use a nit comb to remove the remaining eggs. Repeat this process once a day.
- Wash any infected sheets, towels, bed linens, and other personal articles.
- Improve your hygiene and clean your personal belongings from time to time.
- Inform your sexual partner about the lice.
- While undergoing treatment, To avoid further infestation treatment of your sexual partner is necessary.
- Pubic lice are common problems, so don’t hesitate to talk about it with your doctor.