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Pubic Lice: The Infestation of Crabs in Men

Updated: Jul 20, 2023

You must have heard about head lice as well as body lice. However, have you ever heard about pubic lice? Yes, you heard that right! There can be lice in your genital area as well which is known as pubic lice or commonly called crabs. These crabs feed on human blood and can cause intense itching. Let us get to know more about pubic lice.

Your genitals are an intimate area that needs proper care as well as hygiene. Unfortunately, some men’s genital areas get infested with pubic lice or crabs that feed on human blood and their bites can lead to severe itching. The most common way of getting pubic lice is through sexual activity. In fact, men who have been diagnosed with STIs are at a risk of getting pubic lice.

Apart from sexual intercourse, you can get crabs by sharing clothes, bedsheets or towels with an infected person. And it is not restricted to an age group. Children too get infected with pubic lice. However, in children, pubic lice live in their eyelashes or eyebrows. The truth is that pubic lice infestations are quite common and are not harmful.


Pubic lice cause severe itching.

We have already discussed above that if you have crabs you will be facing a lot of severe itching in your genital area. However, that’s not all! Crabs have its way of spreading to the other parts of your body with coarse body hair, such as:

  1. Legs

  2. Chest

  3. Armpits

  4. Beard or moustache

Apart from that, there are other symptoms as well that may occur such as low grade fever, irritability, lack of energy and pale bluish spots near the bites.

Complications Caused by Pubic Lice

Men with an STI can be infested with pubic lice.

Usually, if someone is infested with crabs, he can get rid of it with a louse killing lotion or gel that is available over the counter at a pharmacy. However, sometimes such infestations can get out of hand and cause certain complications, such as:

  1. Discoloured Skin: Pubic lice bites may lead to pale blue spots where it had been feeding.

  2. Secondary Infections: If the itching leads you to scratch yourself raw, it can cause other infections as well.


Pubic lice can lead to certain complications.

If your genital area has been itching a lot and you have been wondering why, perhaps it is time to check with your Urologist. Your doctor will be able to make a diagnosis by performing a visual examination. Perhaps a magnifying glass will assist. If he or she finds moving lice, you will require treatment for sure.

After the treatment, if there is a presence of eggshells, fret not, it does not mean that there is an infestation. These are just empty eggshells that can remain after a successful treatment. However, your doctor may recommend you to get screened for STIs.

Prevention of Spreading

If you have been diagnosed with pubic lice or crabs, it is important that you make sure that you do not spread it to any of your well wishers or loved ones. To avoid its further spread, here’s what you can do:

  1. Seek early treatment.

  2. Refrain from sexual activity until the pubic lice have gone.

  3. Ensure that your sexual partners also get the treatment.

  4. Refrain from sharing towels, bedsheets and other personal items with others.

  5. Remove pubic and other body hair.


Although crabs can be a common sexual health problem and is not dangerous, it can spread easily to other people, especially your sexual partner(s). Treating it early is the best way to get rid of it, rather than scratching your way through. As you won’t be able to diagnose it yourself, do check with a Urologist as soon as possible. Apart from that, avoid sharing your personal belongings with your loved ones, including children.

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