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How do I get Rid of Pubic Lice?

By Christina Edwards
Updated Feb 15, 2024
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Pubic lice are commonly referred to as crabs, and these tiny parasites are known for infesting hairy areas of a person's body, especially the genital area. Like other types of lice, such as body lice or head lice, these types of lice usually cause intense itching. Treating pubic lice generally involves shaving or trimming pubic hair, applying a topical cream or shampoo, and combing out the eggs. Fabric that has possibly come into contact with pubic lice should also be treated as well.

Before applying a chemical to kill the pubic lice, many doctors recommend shaving or trimming hair in the genital region. This will remove many of the lice and eggs and allow the chemical treatment to better kill what's left. After trimming hair infested with lice, all tools should be washed thoroughly with soap and hot water.

There are a variety of creams and shampoos on the market designed to kill pubic lice. Most of the time, these can be obtained without a prescription. Permathrin and lindane are considered to be two of the most effective chemicals used to kill lice. Most of the time, they are applied to the affected area and allowed to sit for a spell before being washed off. Depending on the type of treatment, it should be left on for three to ten minutes.

For people who prefer not to use chemicals on their bodies, there are some natural remedies for pubic lice. Tea tree oil is one example. Like the commercial products used to get rid of pubic lice, this oil is applied to affected areas. It should first be diluted with a vegetable oil, however, since it can be quite strong.

Combing any remaining hair is another step that many doctors recommend. This will remove any remaining pubic lice or eggs. Nit combs are very fine tooth combs that are designed for this purpose. The teeth on these combs are so close together that they catch anything that is still in or on the hair and remove it.

Since pubic lice are usually contracted by very close contact with infected bedding, clothes, and towels, all of these types of items should be thoroughly washed. Skipping this step can lead to the reinfestation of pubic lice. Fabrics like sheets, towels, and clothing should be washed in the hottest water possible before being dried in the dryer on high heat.

Crabs are often contracted during sexual contact, so any recent sexual partners should be checked and treated as well, if necessary. Also, anyone who has come in close contact with an infested person's bedding, clothing, or towels should be treated. This can include children or friends.

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Discussion Comments
By browncoat — On Apr 15, 2014

@MrsPramm - In theory, yes, but they are intensely irritating and I'm sure most people would prefer to be rid of them permanently. They only live in pubic hair though, not anywhere else on the body, so there is a really easy fix.

Of course, not everyone is willing or able to remove their hair, so it's better to avoid getting them in the first place.

By MrsPramm — On Apr 15, 2014

@KoiwiGal - I doubt they will become completely extinct. Maybe there will be a great reduction of pubic lice among the people who are following this trend, but we've got to remember that they are a parasite that is found all over the world and it's not like people all over the world are following the same trend.

As sexually transmitted diseases go, this is actually one of the very mild ones and they are relatively easy to treat as well. I'd prefer it if they were extinct, of course, but I think we can live with them.

By KoiwiGal — On Apr 15, 2014

Apparently the fact that it has become much more popular for women and men to take off all their pubic hair has led to a vast reduction of pubic lice and might even lead to their extinction eventually. It's one of those funny quirks of history that this would happen as an unintended side effect I suppose, although I thought the same kind of grooming was popular in some historical times as well.

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