Why are Pubic Lice Called Crabs?

The appearance of pubic lice

Pubic lice, also known as crab louse, resemble teeny crabs when viewed under a microscope. They have a pair of pincers, three pairs to be exact, that they use for different purposes.

The front pair is used to hold the skin while the parasite feeds on human blood.

The second and third pairs cling to the hair shaft, generally in the pubic region of the human host. These six-legged creatures are whitish gray or reddish brown, and roughly the size of a pin head, or about 1-2mm.

Pubic lice have been documented for hundreds of years, in countries around the world. They do not favor one group or sexual persuasion over another. They're nothing to be alarmed or ashamed about, but in terms of itching and the general "ick" factor, you will want to deal with them sooner rather than later.

The first step is diagnosing the lice.

What are the symptoms of pubic lice?

  • Itching in the pubic region, particularly at night; pubic lice feed on human blood
  • Dots of blood or parasite defecation in your underwear
  • Crawling lice or the appearance of nits (pubic lice eggs) in the pubic hair, beard, underarm or leg hair
  • Bluish marks on the thighs or abdomen where the parasites have bitten to draw blood

Where do pubic lice come from?

  • Pubic lice are parasites, most likely transmitted sexually; actual intercourse is not necessary for the transmission. The contraction could have also been made via an infested person's clothing or linens, but pubic lice are generally transferred from one warm pubic region to the next during a sexual encounter.
  • Humans are the only known host.
  • Toilet seats are an unlikely source of transmission as pubic lice die once separated for a length of time from the human host.

Females lay their nits, or eggs, at the base of the hair follicle. After about a week the eggs hatch into nymphs. The nymphs then evolve into adult lice which subsist on human blood, much like a leach or tic.

Removal of pubic lice

Natural products may offer a great line of defense for the removal of pubic lice. They sometimes go overlooked in favor of over-the-counter remedies or prescription medications. But, often prescription strength medications are harsh and create symptoms such as burned or cracked skin in sensitive areas. Additionally, natural products are generally safe for all ages; check the instructions on the packaging. Oils like peppermint, tea tree or eucalyptus are readily available these days and can offer gentle and safe relief.

What else should I do after removing the pubic lice?

It is advisable to get checked for any STD's you may have contracted from a sexual partner. If you have experienced an allergic reaction to the medication, or an infection due to scratching, your doctor will know how to best treat your symptoms. Contact him or her for advice.



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