What are Crabs?
“Crabs” is the name given to the disease caused by the infection with pubic lice, which are known under the scientific term of Phthirus pubis. Pubic lice are blood-feeding parasites which cling to human pubic hair. A person can get infected either with the eggs of these parasites, or with the fully-developed, mature insects.
Symptoms of Crabs
Itching in the pubic area can be noted at the top of the list of symptoms caused by crabs. Many patients report the development of some light blue spots around the genital area and on the thighs. These spots are known as maculae ceruleae and form on the places where the lice bite the patient’s skin. Alternatively, noticing some suspicious dark spots on the underwear on the area that covers your pubic hair can also indicate a crab infection.
How is Crabs Transmitted?
The infection is transmitted through personal contact between two partners. It is important to know that unlike other sexually transmitted infections, the transmission of crabs does not necessarily imply penetration and that is why the means of protection used in order to prevent other STDs may not be efficient against crabs. These parasites only need direct, intimate contact in order to transfer from one carrier to another. Although such cases are rare, because pubic lice cannot survive in open spaces for long, sometimes they can be transmitted through indirect contact. To be more specific, if your partner is infected and you use the same sheets or towels, you can contact the disease too, regardless whether you have had a sexual contact or not.
Testing and Diagnosis of Crabs
If you present the symptoms of crabs and know that the circumstances you have found yourself in recently were favorable to an infection, you should contact your doctor right away. Crabs may seem harmless and easy to diagnose, but the situation is actually more complicated. To begin with, even if the symptoms are clear and the eggs or adult parasites are visible on your pubic hair, a professional diagnosis is still required because the disease may be accompanied by other infections or may have led to complications. Furthermore, lice carry the typhus virus which can get into your blood stream through the saliva they leave on the bite spots and cause a serious, general infection.
Crabs are extremely easy to diagnose by a specialist. Your doctor will examine your pubic area, looking for the main signs of the infection that are visible on your skin, as well as for the eggs or mature lice present on your pubic hair. Sometimes, the doctor may use a magnifying glass or other optical magnifying instruments in order to better observe the traces left by crabs. Furthermore, be prepared to be asked some questions concerning your recent intimate contacts. The answers will make it easier for the doctor to confirm or rule out the diagnosis.
Cures and Treatments for Crabs
In most cases, pubic lice are extremely easy to treat. Most often, a treatment based upon permethrin will be prescribed. You have to tell your doctor if you suffer from any allergies or if you are sensitive to some pharmaceutical agents, because sometimes the toxins meant to kill the lice can cause rashes on the patient’s skin. Your doctor needs to know about any sensitivity you might have so that he can prescribe you the best treatment. As part of the treatment, you will also have to completely shave the pubic area and get rid of the bed sheets and lingerie you have used while you were infected, in order to rule out the possibility of reoccurrence of the disease.
Remember to always follow rigorous personal hygiene habits and select your partners carefully so that you can avoid getting infested with crabs.