Pubic Lice (Crabs)

Pubic Lice

Pubic lice usually affect the genital area, but can also occur in other areas, such as the abdomen or armpit. How do they spread? We will tell you everything about it!

The everyday slang use of pubic lice in English is “crabs”. Pubic lice are small insects that live on the pubic hair of people. This condition is considered a sexually transmitted disease, but this is not the only way it is transmitted.

Experts estimate that about a million people catch pubic lice each year. This is very common. The insect that causes this is called Pthirus pubis. It feeds on blood, and its bites produce a very intense and uncomfortable itching in the genital area.

Interestingly, some text, even the Bible, spoke of pubic lice throughout history. Although they are similar to head lice, the main difference is that these lice do not tend to transmit any other disease. However, it is an alarming infection that can also affect the social life of those suffering from it. Therefore, in this article, we will explain everything you need to know about pubic lice and how it spreads.

How do pubic lice work?

As we noted above, pubic lice are small insects that live only in humans, especially in the genital area. Pubic lice resemble the shape of sea crabs. Thanks to a substance that acts as a stabilizer, they stick to the hair. When they stick there, they bite the skin. The bite is so dense that it causes itching due to some components of saliva and faeces.

Typically, symptoms appear about a week after infection. In addition to itching, it is typical for skin rashes and swellings, as well as scratching-related sores.

Although it often affects only the groin area, pubic lice can also spread to other areas. For example, it is essential to know that a person can affect chest hair, armpits or abdomen.

An important fact is that they can appear even on eyelashes. This is common in children who have been sexually abused. Therefore, the presence of such lice in children sometimes leads paediatricians to cases of rape and sexual abuse.

How does pubic lice spread?

Experts tend to see pubic lice as a sexually transmitted disease. This condition is most commonly caused by sexual contact with an infected person. However, this is not the only way they spread.

Although less often, pubic lice can also spread using certain clothes, sheets or towels of an infected person. However, it is almost impossible to get an infection from areas such as the bathroom or toilet.

Because this insect cannot live far from the human body for a long time, they need a temperature of about 27 degrees or higher to survive. Nevertheless, anyone with this infection should make sure that they properly clean all nearby objects and clothing.

How is pubic lice infection diagnosed and treated?

Diagnosis of pubic lice is very simple since it is usually enough to observe the genital area. They can often be seen with the naked eye. Also, the clinical picture is very characteristic. Therefore, the doctor usually does not need any additional evidence.

Some creams, shampoos, and lotions that kill insects can treat the condition. Most people usually need more than one session to kill all the lice. It is also important to properly clean all clothes, towels and sheets.

However, the most important thing is to be aware of the need to stimulate nearby people, especially sexual partners, as it is a highly contagious infection.

You may be interested in this article: Getting Rid of Vinegar and Lice by Natural Ways.


Pubic lice are small insects that cause itching in areas with hair, especially the genitals. They are usually transmitted sexually, but they can also spread through other fabrics, such as clothes or bed linen.

If you have any questions about the infection, you need to consult your doctor. They will show the most appropriate treatment and some recommendations to eliminate the disease.