Pubic Lice FAQ

Pubic Lice FAQ

What are Pubic Lice?

Pubic Lice, also known as Phthirus pubis or “crabs,” are a parasitic insect that commonly infests the genital area of humans, but can also be found in the other types of human hair such as the eyebrows, beards, moustaches, thighs, abdomen, underarm, and even eyelashes. These lice are generally less mobile compared to Body or Head Lice. Pubic Lice are usually referred to as “crabs” because of their resemblance to the crab in their pincher-like claws.

Are there different types of lice?

There are 3 types: Head Lice, Body Lice and Pubic Lice.

Who is at risk of developing Pubic Lice?

Pubic Lice occur most frequently in those who have multiple sexual partners or have sex with an infected person but can also be transmitted in other ways. The most common risk factors for transmission of Pubic Lice are:

  • Having multiple sex partners
  • Having sexual contact with an infested person
  • Sharing bedding/clothing with an infested person

Are Pubic Lice contagious?


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How do I know if I have Pubic Lice?

Pubic Lice are best diagnosed by close visual inspection. It may also be possible to see the actual insect in the affected area or the presence of nits wrapped around your hair shaft. You will most likely experience the itching initially because it can take up to 2-4 weeks for eggs to hatch and mature lice to be visible. Because itching is the first symptom of Pubic Lice, and this leads to scratching of the affected area, the scratches made by an itching patient are usually the first visible sign of an infestation. Pubic Lice may then cause the formation of small, inflamed, bluish-gray spots on your body, particularly on your thighs. Eventually, small dark-brown or black specks secreted by the Pubic Lice will appear on the inside of your underwear.

How do you get Pubic Lice?

Pubic Lice are transmitted through direct person-to-person contact, most often sexual in nature, or by sharing infested bedding or clothes.

Can I catch any other diseases from Pubic Lice?


Can I catch Body Lice from my pet?

Pets do not transmit Pubic Lice nor can Pubic Lice live on pets.

I always use condoms so how did I get Pubic Lice?

This is a common misconception. Wearing a condom during intercourse will not protect you 100% from contracting Pubic Lice.

Why aren’t over-the-counter treatments working for me?

Doctors have used the same chemicals, such as pediculicides, for years to treat all types of Lice. Healthcare Professionals and Entomologists reported as early as 1985 that lice have become resistant to pediculicides. Recent developments in the science of parasite research has resulted in newer, more effective pubic lice treatment solutions.

What is a pediculicide?

These are the dangerous pesticides that are sold to treat all types of Lice. Most over-the-counter remedies contain an insecticide called permethrin or pyrethrin. Even more dangerous is a pediculicide that contains Lindane. These products are neurotoxins and, when used excessively and incorrectly, can lead to seizures and death. They are especially dangerous to small children, infants, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems.

When do I know that I am not contagious anymore?

The general rule of thumb is after you have completely treated yourself and your environment and have no more nits. Pubic Lice have a life cycle of about 23 days and the nits can survive for up to 14 days once removed from a host. You should continue to check yourself in order to make sure that there is no re-occurrence or outbreak.

How long can Pubic Lice live in my home?

The adult pubic louse can only survive for 48 hours without its host to feed upon thus any Pubic Lice in your environment should die off in about 2 days.

How can I remove the Pubic Lice in my house?

You can wash all sheets, pillows, bedding, and clothing in hot water and then dry them on high heat. The heat will be effective against any Pubic Lice that are living on these objects. You also need to treat all carpets, furniture, brushes, combs, hats and hair accessories.

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Where can I go for Information on Pubic Lice?

The internet is a great source for information on Pubic Lice but why spend hours searching when DermaTechRx™ can provide you with all the same information? Our informational eGuide is full of answers, suggestions and tips that we’ve collected from books, articles, customers and numerous other sources. If you sign up to receive our Free Pubic Lice Reports, we’ll send all this information directly to your inbox. Still have questions? We recommend visiting the following site to get live support or more information on your needs.

How can Pubic Lice be prevented?

You can practice preventive measures by limiting your number of sexual partners and practicing safe sex but it is important to know that condoms will not protect you 100% from contracting Pubic Lice. Of course, good personal hygiene is always recommended. Additionally, when trying on bathing suits, be sure to keep your own underwear on since this may also aid in preventing transmission.

Are there any home remedies for dealing with Pubic Lice?

There are no home remedies that will cure your case of Pubic Lice but there are some measures that you can take that may temporarily serve to ease your suffering.

  • Thoroughly wash your entire body
  • Wash all of your clothing and linens in extremely hot water and dry on high heat
  • Thoroughly vacuum your furniture and floors, immediately throwing out the vacuum bag afterward
  • You may use an over-the-counter antihistamine to control itching but remember that these medications will typically make you drowsy

What research is being done?

In recent years, scientists studying Pubic Lice have done so with the hopes of gaining more information on the lifestyles of the first hominids and the evolution of modern man. Such studies have concluded that Pubic Lice was given to humans from gorillas, but not necessarily through sexual contact. Although this method of transmission is not completely out-ruled, it is more plausible that the transmission occurred as a result of humans and gorillas living close together and men eating gorillas for survival. To read more about this study, please click here.

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