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Crabs (Pubic Lice) - Are they Contagious?

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Richika Sahay Shukla 93% (941 ratings)
DNB (Obstetrics and Gynecology), MBBS
IVF Specialist, Noida  •  19 years experience
Crabs (Pubic Lice) - Are they Contagious?

Pubic lice, also known as ‘crabs’, is a condition which occurs when certain parasitic insects are present in the genitals. These insects cause red spots to form on the vagina which result in itching. Crabs are also known to affect other parts of the body such as eyebrows, eyelashes and beards. This disease is extremely contagious in nature; it can be passed on from one person to another via sexual intercourse, hugging and kissing. In some cases, this condition can also be passed on from the parent to the child.

Symptoms
If you are affected by crabs then you will have itching and pain in the genitals. The saliva of the insect can cause allergic reactions on the skin, resulting in the itch. The itching tends to worsen at night. Bluish or red spots may appear on the affected area. The lice are usually around 2 cm long and can’t be spotted easily.

Causes
Contrary to popular belief, pubic lice or carbs are not caused by poor hygiene. This disease spreads via bodily contact with an infected person and they feed on human blood to survive. Lice usually spread via sexual intercourse which may be anal, vaginal or oral.

Treatment for pubic lice
Treatments for pubic lice involve shampoos, lotions and insecticide creams. Some of the treatments for pubic lice need to be applied locally while others require full body treatment. Apart from following the treatment procedures, you need to take preventive measures to prevent infestation. Avoid sharing personal items such as toiletries, as lice can spread through it. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a gynaecologist.

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