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Pubic Lice

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jun 5, 2024.

What are pubic lice?

Pubic lice, or crabs, are tiny bugs that live on blood in your genital area. They are tan, gray, or brown, and are about the size of a sesame seed. They lay eggs (nits) and attach the eggs to body hair. Pubic lice are spread through direct contact. For example, sharing clothing or bedding with someone who has lice. You can also get lice if you have sex with someone who has lice.

What are the signs and symptoms of pubic lice?

How are pubic lice diagnosed and treated?

Your healthcare provider will ask about your signs and symptoms and examine you. Lice medicine is used to kill pubic lice and is available without a doctor's order. Lice medicine usually comes as a lotion or cream. Use it as directed. You may need to apply the medicine to hair on your chest, underarms, and groin. Throw away all lice medicine that you do not use. Keep it away from your eyes. Other medicines may also be given to decrease itching and inflammation.

How can I manage my pubic lice?

Treatment options

The following list of medications are related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

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How can I prevent the spread of pubic lice?

When should I call my doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.