STD Home > Pubic Lice (Crabs)

Pubic lice are small, wingless insects that feed on blood and are generally found in the genital area. They are not the same thing as head lice. Other names for pubic lice include:
  • Pubic crabs
  • Crabs
  • Crab lice
  • Genital crabs.
Frequent, intense itching is the most common symptom of an infestation. Sexual contact is how they are typically transmitted; however, pubic lice can also be transmitted through contact with an infested person's clothing or bedding in some cases. Treatment usually involves over-the-counter (OTC) medication and careful laundering of the infested person's clothing and bed linens.
(To learn more about this topic, including more specific treatment information, click Pubic Lice.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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