Pubic Lice: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, and Prevention
What Are Pubic Lice?
How Common Are Pubic Lice?Pubic lice infestations are relatively uncommon, but they still occur. It is important to seek treatment if you suspect you have an infestation, as pubic lice can cause itching and irritation. Over-the-counter and prescription medications are available to treat pubic lice.
Are Pubic Lice Different From Head Lice?
They are transmitted usually through sexual contact, but head lice get transmitted through close encounters of physical contact.
What Are the Symptoms of Pubic Lice?
One of the most common early signs of pubic lice is itching in the affected area, usually the pubic hair. This itching can be intense and is caused by an allergic reaction to the lice’s saliva, called pubic lice rash. Other symptoms of pubic lice may include:
- Small, red bumps or welts on the skin can become irritated and swollen.
- Visible lice or nits (lice eggs) on the hair shafts in the affected area.
- Mild fever or fatigue, as the body’s immune system, responds to the infestation.
- Blue spots or sores on the skin are caused by scratching the itchy areas.
- Irritation or inflammation of the affected area.
It’s important to note that symptoms of pubic lice may not appear immediately after infection, and some people may not have any symptoms. It’s always best to consult a doctor if you suspect you have pubic lice.
Causes of Pubic Lice
Pubic lice are typically caused by the transfer of the lice from one person to another through close physical contact, most commonly sexual contact. This can include vaginal, anal, or oral sex or a close connection between the genitals.
The lice can also be contracted by sharing personal items such as clothing, bedding, or towels that have come into close contact with an infected person.
Pubic lice are not a sign of poor personal hygiene; they can affect anyone, regardless of their grooming habits. They are not a reflection of a person’s sexual behavior or promiscuity.
It’s also worth noting that pubic lice have been around for thousands of years and are not new; new ways of living do not cause this infestation.
Treatment Options for Pubic lice
- Over-the-counter lotions or shampoos that contain pyrethrins or permethrin.
- Prescription creams, lotions, or shampoos that contain stronger concentrations of pyrethrins or permethrin or other medications such as malathion or ivermectin.
Home Care Treatment:
- Wash all clothing, bedding, and towels that may have come into contact with the lice in hot water and dry them on the hot cycle of a dryer.
- Vacuum the upholstery, carpets, and car interiors to remove any remaining nits.
- Wash all combs, brushes, and other personal grooming items that could have come into contact with the lice in hot water.
- Avoid close physical contact with others until treatment is completed and all lice and nits are gone.
- It’s important to follow the instructions on the medication package, and to complete the entire treatment process, even if the symptoms disappear before the end of the treatment. In some cases, a second treatment may be necessary.
How Can Pubic Lice Be Prevented?
For public lice prevention, it’s important to avoid close physical contact with individuals who have an infestation. Additionally, the following steps may help to reduce the risk of contracting pubic lice:
- Use condoms during sexual activity to reduce the risk of transmitting pubic lice.
- Avoid sharing personal items such as clothing, bedding, or towels that may have come into contact with an infected person.
- Practice good hygiene, including washing the affected area regularly and keeping the pubic area trimmed or shaved.
- Be aware of any itching or other symptoms in the pubic area, and seek treatment if necessary.
- Educate yourself about the symptoms and signs of pubic lice so you can identify them early if you get it.
It’s important to remember that pubic lice are not a sign of poor personal hygiene and can affect anyone regardless of their grooming habits. Therefore, personal grooming habits alone cannot be the answer to “how to prevent pubic lice?”.