Crabs / Pubic Lice

Crabs/Pubic Lice: What is it?

Crabs or “pubic lice” are parasitic insects (they feed on human blood) and can be found attached to hair in the pubic area but sometimes are found on coarse (or thick) hair elsewhere on the body (for example, eyebrows, eyelashes, beard, mustache, chest, armpits, etc.). A common symptom is intense itching

Crabs/Pubic Lice: How can I get it?

Crabs are usually spread through sexual contact and/or close contact such as sharing clothes, bed linens, and towels with a person who has crabs.

Crabs/Pubic Lice: How can I get tested for it?

  • You can often figure out if you have crabs or “pubic lice” by looking at your pubic area. They often look like tiny crabs that are pale gray but darken in color when swollen with blood
  • They attach themselves and their eggs to pubic hair, underarm hair, eyelashes, and eyebrows. Their eggs are white and are found in small clumps near the hair roots. You can also see a health care provider and get examined by them

What is the treatment for Crabs/Pubic Lice?

A lice-killing lotion made up of 1% permethrin or a mousse made up of pyrethrins and piperonyl butoxide be used to treat pubic lice. If that doesn’t work, a doctor may have to prescribe something stronger.

Crabs/Pubic Lice: How can I protect my partner(s) once I know I have it?

Don’t have any sexual or close contact with your partner(s) until ALL the pubic lice are gone. You can tell this by looking at your pubic area or seeing a doctor who can let you know if you are cured.