Since thousands of years lice are known to infest human beings. They are tiny parasites which feed on human blood and reproduce on the body. There are three types of louse namely body louse (pediculosis humanus), head louse (pediculosis capitis), and pubic louse (pediculosis pubis). Pthirus pubis also called crab lice is a parasite which infects the pubic hair in humans to cause pediculosis pubis. This parasite may also infect other hairy areas of body, especially the eyelashes.
Like all the lice, the bite of pediculosis pubis causes intense itching. The word crab is used because the lice appear similar to crab.Spread of pubic lice is through intimate contact (sexual intercourse). It may also spread by sharing clothing, towel and bed linen of an infected person. Treatment consists of use of over the counter lotions and ointments that kill the lice and its egg.
How Is Pediculosis Pubis Transmitted?
Pediculosis pubis is an itchy disease caused by pubic lice. It is also referred as crab lice. The parasite is extremely tiny and is difficult to be seen with naked eye. It latches near the hair root of pubic region and in some cases even on eyelashes and eyebrows hair on thigh.
Pediculosis pubis is distributed worldwide and at any given point 2 to 3 percent of population is infected from this discomforting condition. The lice prefer to colonize and live in genital and peri-anal hair because of moisture in this area. It can affect both men and women. In children eyelashes is often the site of infection.
Pediculosis pubis is transmitted by close intimate contact. The probable mode of transmission in majority of cases is through sexual intercourse with an infected person. Intimate relationship with several partners increases vulnerability to this disease.
Pubic lice can ambulate and travel from groin area to eyelashes or other hairy areas such as armpits and chest by themselves. It can also be transmitted through contaminated bed linen and clothing of an infected person. Sharing combs and hair brushes can also transmit the infection.
Symptoms Of Pediculosis Pubis
Pediculosis pubis causes intense itching in the pubic area. The pubic lice may spread to other areas of body having coarse hair and moisture. It may spread to armpits, thighs, legs, beard and mustache, eyelashes and eyebrows. In children the symptoms of itching are more commonly seen on eyelashes. When present on eyelashes the condition is called phthiriasis palpebrarum.
Itching occurs when the skin reacts to the saliva of lice. Itching can become severe after one or two weeks after the initial infection. In some cases pale blue spots may develop at the site of bite. Scratching due to severe itching can lead to secondary bacterial infection.
Home Remedies To Treat Pediculosis Pubis
Treatment of pediculosis pubis consists of using over the counter lotions and ointments that are meant to kill the lice. All medications and ointments must be used with consultation of the physician. Even after treatment is successful, few lice eggs may remain stuck on the pubic hair. This may be removed with nit comb and tweezers.
In case of phthiriasis palpebrarum, trimming or plucking eye lashes or applying petroleum jelly is beneficial. Additionally family members, sexual partners and close companions must be simultaneously examined and if necessary treated. Towels, clothing, of the patient must be kept separately and washed with warm water. Clothes that cannot be washed must be dry cleaned.
Home remedies such as tea tree oil is time tested for killing pubic lice. Mix few drops of tea tree oil with olive oil. Apply on the pubic area and affected parts. You can use nit combs simultaneously to remove the lice. Sexual contact must be avoided till the treatment is complete. Patient must shave the pubic area.