You may have heard about head lice and body lice, but have you ever encountered the term "pubic lice"? Yes, you heard correctly – there can be lice in your genital area, commonly known as pubic lice or "crabs." These tiny creatures feed on human blood and can lead to intense itching. Let's delve deeper into what pubic lice are all about.
Our genital area is an intimate region that requires proper care and hygiene. Unfortunately, some men experience infestations of pubic lice, often referred to as crabs. These creatures feed on human blood and their bites can result in severe itching. The primary mode of transmission for pubic lice is through sexual activity. In fact, men who have been diagnosed with sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are at a higher risk of contracting pubic lice.
Aside from sexual contact, pubic lice can also be transmitted by sharing clothes, bedsheets, or towels with an infected person. Age is not a barrier to infestation, as even children can become host to pubic lice. In children, these lice can be found in their eyelashes or eyebrows. It's worth noting that pubic lice infestations are relatively common and, fortunately, not typically harmful.
As mentioned earlier, if you have pubic lice, you'll likely experience severe itching in your genital area. But that's not all – pubic lice can also spread to other parts of your body with coarse body hair, such as:
Beard or mustache
In addition to itching, other symptoms may manifest, including a low-grade fever, irritability, a lack of energy, and the development of pale bluish spots near the bite sites.
Complications Caused by Pubic Lice
Usually, a case of pubic lice can be treated with an over-the-counter lotion or gel specifically designed to eliminate lice. However, in some instances, these infestations can lead to complications, such as:
Discolored skin: Pubic lice bites may result in pale blue spots at the feeding sites.
Secondary infections: Intense itching can lead to scratching, which, in turn, can cause other infections.
If you've been experiencing persistent itching in your genital area, it's advisable to consult your urologist. Your doctor can diagnose the issue through a visual examination, sometimes with the aid of a magnifying glass. If moving lice are found, you'll require treatment. Even if eggshells are discovered after successful treatment, don't worry – they don't indicate an ongoing infestation. However, your doctor may recommend screening for STIs.
If you've been diagnosed with pubic lice or crabs, it's crucial to prevent their spread to your loved ones. To minimize transmission, consider the following steps:
Seek early treatment.
Avoid sexual activity until the pubic lice have been eradicated.
Ensure that your sexual partners also receive treatment.
Refrain from sharing towels, bedsheets, and personal items with others.
Consider removing pubic and other body hair.
While pubic lice are a common sexual health issue and are generally not dangerous, they can easily spread to other individuals, particularly your sexual partners. Early treatment is the best approach to eliminate them, rather than enduring the discomfort of itching. Since self-diagnosis can be challenging, don't hesitate to consult a urologist as soon as possible. Additionally, take steps to prevent sharing personal belongings with your loved ones, including children.
Written by: Deepti Dogra
Edited by: Aniket Joshi