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Crabs a.k.a. pubic lice


(a.k.a. pubic lice)

Crabs are tiny little blood-sucking bugs (lice) that live in pubic hair and cause a lot of itching. Pubic hair is the hair on the front of your genital area or crotch. Lice that live in the hair are not pubic lice; they are head lice.

Crabs have three stages of life: egg, nit, and louse (just one—more than one are lice. Like mouse/mice). The nits hatch within five to 10 days after they are laid.

How do I get crabs?

You get crabs by touching or just being close to someone who already has them. Even if you don’t have sex, you can get crabs or give them to someone else. These little bugs can literally jump from one person’s pubic hair to another’s. It is possible, but rare, to get them from sharing bedding or clothing.

Usually, crabs live in the pubic hair, but lice can also be in armpits or mustaches. Little kids usually get them on the eyebrows or eyelashes.

What do crabs do to my body?

  • Usually, you’ll have a lot of itching because of the lice bites.
  • Dark or bluish spots appear where you were bitten and last for several days.

How do I find out if I have crabs?

You can go to your health care provider and let him or her check you to see if you have crabs. If you don’t have a health care provider, search for a clinic near you.

Is there a cure for crabs?

Yes! You can treat crabs by putting a liquid medicine directly on your pubic hair. You can get a prescription from your doctor, and you can buy treatments in the store too. After the treatment, use a small comb to take out the lice and the eggs. Make sure you wash and dry your clothes, bedding, towels, etc. with hot water to kill crabs and their eggs.

What do you wanna learn more about?

Join us for a discussion of Dr. Tang’s new book, It’s Not Hysteria Everything You Need to Know About Your Reproductive Health (but Were Never Told), and ask Dr. Tang your questions about reproductive health!