Pubic lice are passed on through sexual contact. Unlike other STIs, you can get them even if you practice safer sex, as they can move between people during skin-to-skin contact.

Our doctors can see you discreetly in the comfort of your own home. You won’t need to go to a clinic, or take time out of your schedule. You can see an experienced, caring doctor online in minutes.

Pubic lice are small insects that are passed from person-to-person through close physical contact, including sex. Due to their appearance, they’re sometimes known as ‘crabs’.

Even if you practice safer sex, a condom won’t prevent the spread of pubic lice, as they only require skin-to-skin contact to move around.

As their name suggests, they’re most often found in pubic hair, but they can also settle in hair on your chest, face, stomach, legs or underarms. In rare cases, pubic lice are found in eyebrows or eyelashes.

Fortunately, they’re very easy to treat and our doctors are able to provide a discreet prescription for the special shampoo or lotion you’ll need.

As pubic lice are so small, you might not be able to tell they’re there just by looking for them. If they are visible, you may notice yellow, grey, red or brown dots in your pubic hair.

However, it’s likely that the main symptom you’ll notice is itching. This is caused by an allergic reaction to bites from pubic lice and is often at its worst during the night, when they’re awake. Other symptoms include:

  • Irritated skin - this will be worse depending on how much and how vigorously you scratch
  • Blue or red spots on your skin where pubic lice have bitten
  • Black powder in your underwear

If left untreated, pubic lice could cause skin problems, while if they’re in your eyebrows or lashes, you could suffer from conjunctivitis.

There are a number of shampoos, creams and lotions that can get rid of pubic lice. Our doctors can recommend the best one for you.

You’ll be given specific instructions for using them and it’s important you follow these to the letter.

Some products only need to be applied to the affected area, while others will only solve the problem if you use them on your whole body.

You’ll need to repeat the treatment at least once. This is because pubic lice lay eggs that take a couple of days to hatch and won’t be killed off by your treatment.

By repeating your treatment around three days later, you can be sure that all the lice are gone.

If your treatment doesn’t work, our doctors can provide you with an alternative. There are also special products available if you have lice in your eyebrows or eyelashes.

It’s important that you don’t have any intimate physical contact with people until your pubic lice treatment is complete.

Anyone you’ve been in physical or sexual contact with recently will also need to be made aware, so that they can have treatment too . Our doctors can help you arrange for them to be contacted anonymously.

Pubic lice can’t fly or jump, so the only way to pass them on is through physical, skin-to-skin contact.

This can occur during vaginal, oral or anal sex, even if you’ve used a condom, because condoms don’t cover your pubic area. The lice can also be passed on during any other form of intimate contact, including hugging.

There’s a slight chance that pubic lice can be passed on by sharing bedding, towels or clothes. However, because the lice need blood to stay alive, they will only survive for a short time once they leave an infected person’s body.