Signs & Symptoms Of Pubic Lice: The Facts

Pubic lice is a curable STD that causes feeling of embarrassment, shame, disgust and discomfort in those who have to experience it. It's much different from other STDS, such as Gonorrhea or Chlamydia that are caused by viruses or bacteria. In fact, it has more in common with the head lice you were checked for as a child, with a whole different stigma.

What do Pubic Lice look like?

Pubic lice are a lot like head lice, only they are found in the pubic area, with rare appearances in leg, arm or facial hair. They are small and appear to be gray or tan in color. They have two large pincher claws for grasping hair shafts. Their claws give them the appearance of being miniature sea crabs, hence the popular slang term, "crabs."

How do Pubic Lice Survive?

Pubic lice feed on human blood. They cannot live without it for more than two days, and they cannot live on the blood of animals. This makes contracting lice almost exclusively limited to sexual contact. While it's possible to contract lice from a towel, clothing, or bedding, it would have to be at the same time or right after an infected person used it.

A person with pubic lice might not notice right away. The female louse can lay up to 30 eggs before her death, and it takes two weeks for the egg to hatch and the new louse to mature. This means that while the infestation may begin slowly, it can quickly get out of control if left unattended.

Signs of Pubic Lice

The first sign you might have lice is an itching that doesn't go away. Upon inspection, it should be obvious. There will be visible lice as well as their eggs. Their eggs are light-colored and you'll find them glued to individual hair shafts.

Lice are generally more active at night than during the day. This is when they move about and feed. Even though it itches, giving in and itching will only make it worse. The skin can become inflamed from the bites of the lice, and itching intensifies this. Itching can also help the lice spread from area of the body to another.

Treating Pubic Lice

As soon as you know you have pubic lice, you should move to get treatment. Treatment is fairly simple, but can be time-consuming and irritating. Lice cannot simply be washed away because lice can hold onto the hair shafts for long periods of time.

Lice are best killed by using a special shampoo and then rinsed or combed away. The shampoo used for pubic lice can be the same as for head lice, but it is important to make sure the harsh chemicals are safe for your pubic area.

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