Pubic lice



A contagious, itchy infestation of the genital area caused by insects.


Insects called pubic lice, also called crabs, feed on blood and spread most commonly during sexual activity. Sharing infested clothing, bedsheets or towels also may raise the risk.


Pubic lice can cause intense itching in the genital area. Diagnosis can be confirmed by seeing the moving lice and in some cases the lice eggs, called nits. Public lice can spread to other areas with coarse body hair, including the legs, chest, armpits, beard or mustache, or eyelashes or eyebrows.


Pubic lice treatment can involve using lotions or shampoos available without a prescription that have 1% permethrin (Nix) or pyrethrin. Stronger medicines taken by mouth or placed on the affected area also can be prescribed. All sexual partners should be treated at the same time to keep pubic lice from spreading after treatment.