Pubic lice


Pubic lice occur mainly in the pubic area.

The pubic louse (Latin: Phthirus pubis) is a parasite that prefers to colonize the pubic hair area of ​​humans. The infestation by pubic lice is also known medically as pediculosis pubis. The parasite becomes about 1.0-1.5 mm long and has a broad, gray body. Thus it can be seen with the naked eye. At the end of its legs, the felt louse has hook-like claws with which it anchors itself in human hair. Overall, pubic lice move very little in contrast to head lice.

Occurrence and transmission

Pubic lice are coming worldwide in front. They will mostly go through close physical contact, such as the Sexual intercourse, transferred from one person to another. Therefore the pubic louse infestation is one of the sexually transmitted diseases. Transmission through shared towels or bed linen is also possible. The pubic louse is strongly influenced by humans and needs them to survive. It prefers to settle in the Pubic hair, more rarely on the inside of the thighs, provided there is sufficient hair there. Pubic lice are less common in the Armpit or beard hair, even less often at the Eye hair (Eyelashes, eyebrows). In contrast to the head louse, the pubic louse does not nestle in the head hair.

After settling in the human pubic hair, the pubic louse feeds on human blood. It also secretes a sticky secretion with which it anchors its eggs to the roots of the pubic hair. If the pubic louse is removed from the human body, it can survive a maximum of 24 hours.

Life cycle

The adult female pubic louse lays about two to three eggs a day. These are also called Nits designated. The female sticks these to the hair roots of humans with the help of a special secretion. They hatch after a week Larvaewhich are fully grown after a further two to three weeks. Throughout her life, a female pubic louse can reach up to 200 eggs lay.

Symptoms and consequences

Pubic lice can sting. The puncture site often reacts with severe itching and a blue discoloration (so-called "taches bleues"; French for "bruises"), which the person concerned notices. In addition, pubic lice are usually visible with the naked eye or a magnifying glass. The excretions of the parasites can be seen as small rust-colored spots in the underwear. Usually there are no other symptoms. The symptoms usually start three to six days after infection. Pubic lice do not play a role as disease vectors.

The pubic lice infestation itself does not pose a direct health risk. Over time, however, the itching leads to scratched areas of the skin, which in turn can be entry points for other pathogens. In the case of a pubic louse infestation, the risk of infection with infectious diseases, especially sexually transmitted diseases, is indirectly increased.

Also read: Itching on the testicles- what's behind it


The diagnosis of pubic louse infestation can usually be made very easily by a doctor based on the typical symptoms. At the latest when examining the pubic area with a magnifying glass, the small parasites will be noticed.

Therapy and behavioral measures

The pubic lice can usually be eliminated easily by various measures. On the one hand, the complete shave the affected body part including removal of eggs, nits and adult pubic lice, as well as treatment with chemical preparations. Active ingredients that are used against pubic lice are for example Lindane and Malathion, such as Pyrethrum preparations, Fluorescein, Physostigmines, Petroleum jelly, yellow mercury oxide ointment and Pilogel. Following the treatment, nits can be treated with a special Nit comb combed out of the hair. A complete shave is not absolutely necessary, but has a prophylactic effect against renewed infestation. All therapy should follow eight to ten days be repeated to remove subsequently mature pubic lice as well.

In addition to therapy, it is important to adhere to certain rules in order to prevent re-infection with pubic lice. underwear and others dressthat comes into contact with the affected area of ​​the body to change daily and wash hot (at least at 60 degrees). Same goes for Bed linen and towels. In addition, these should not be shared with other people so that the pubic lice do not spread further. Clothing that cannot be washed at 60 degrees should be tightly closed for about two weeks be kept in plastic bags so that the pubic lice inside and their offspring die. Furthermore, should be on during the treatment phase sexual contacts with other people, as they can otherwise become infected.People who live in the immediate vicinity of the person affected should also be treated.


Pubic lice are very unproblematic to eliminate. With the therapy options mentioned, the infestation can be removed within a short time. Overall, pubic lice infestation is in the significantly less common in western countries become. Scientists attribute this to the increasingly common practice Intimate shave back, which makes it impossible for the parasites to colonize the human body.


It is believed that the pubic louse was around 3.3 million years ago was first transmitted from apes to human ancestors. This presumably happened through hunting gorillas, contact with their surroundings and their fur. According to studies, the human pubic lice and the Pubic lice from gorillas the same ancestors before evolving independently. This led to the above assumption.

Further topics from this area

head lice

Constant itchy scalp can be an indication of lice infestation. The uninvited guests can be touched by targeted treatment.
Here you get to the topic: head lice