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Not everyone who has pubic lice will have symptoms. When signs of pubic lice do occur, they include visible nits, intense itching, and an unexplained rash. They are generally found in the genital area on pubic hair, but can also appear on other coarse body hair, such as hair on the legs. In children, indications of pubic lice may appear in eyebrows or eyelashes.

What Are the Signs of Pubic Lice?

Pubic lice are blood-sucking insects that are transmitted either through direct contact or through contact with infested clothing, towels, or bed linens.
Not everyone with pubic lice will have symptoms. However, common symptoms and signs of pubic lice can include:
  • Frequent, intense itching, which is caused by an allergic reaction to the insects' saliva.
  • Visible nits (eggs) or crawling lice.
  • Unexplained flat, bluish-grey rash on the stomach, arms, or legs.
  • Small, red bumps or sores in the pubic area. These sores, which are caused by scratching, can sometimes become infected with bacteria. Infected sores may become red and tender, ooze, and then crust over.
  • Irritation and crusting of the eyelids.
Pubic lice are generally found in the genital area on pubic hair, but may occasionally be found on other coarse body hair, such as hair on the legs, armpits, mustache, beard, eyebrows, or eyelashes. Infestations of young children are usually on the eyebrows or eyelashes.
Pubic lice are not found on the head. That is known as head lice and is caused by a different type of lice.

What Do Pubic Lice Look Like?

There are three forms of lice:
  • The egg (also called a nit)
  • The nymph
  • The adult.
(Click What Do Lice Look Like? to see images of pubic lice.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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