Pubic Lice Test
An infestation of pubic lice is typically diagnosed by visual examination. Your physician will check the area for signs of live lice and lice eggs, also known as nits.
Often called crabs, pubic lice are small insects that infest the genital area. This STD infects millions of Americans each year, according to Planned Parenthood. It can be easily spread through close contact with an infected person. While that usually means sexual contact, it is possible to get pubic lice if you share an infected person’s clothing, towels, or other personal items. If you suspect you have pubic lice, the condition is relatively easy for your doctor to detect and treat.
What you should know about pubic lice testing:
– What is pubic lice testing?
– How to prepare for pubic lice testing
– What to expect from pubic lice testing
– Understanding pubic lice testing results
I. What Is Pubic Lice Testing?
Pubic lice can cause severe itching and irritation. These tiny parasites infest the genital areas and can be spread to other parts of the body where hair is coarse, including armpit, leg, and facial hair. In addition to itching, people with pubic lice may also notice symptoms such as black spots in their underwear and small red or blue bites on the skin in affected areas.
Why should you get tested?
If left untreated, pubic lice can lead to further problems, including infection and scarring. Early detection and treatment can prevent long-term issues.
Who should get tested?
Any person who experiences persistent itching or finds signs of bites near their genitals should visit their physician for pubic lice testing.
When to get tested
It’s best to get tested as soon as symptoms arise.
II. How to Prepare for Pubic Lice Testing
Because the test is completed via a visual examination instead of laboratory testing, it’s easy to prepare for your appointment. Simply ensure the area is clean, and wear comfortable clothing that’s easy to remove for the examination.
III. How a Pubic Lice Test Works
Occasionally, you might be able to detect the presence of pubic lice or nits on your own. However, in most cases, it’s best to see a doctor who can easily recognize signs of an infestation and prescribe the best course of treatment.
When you get to your doctor’s office for testing, you’ll likely be asked an array of personal questions. Be prepared to offer information about your symptoms, how long they’ve been present, recent sexual partners, whether you’ve shared personal items, and if you’ve attempted to treat symptoms on your own.
After answering some questions, you’ll typically be asked to remove the bottom portion of your clothing and to be prepared for the doctor to conduct a visual inspection of your genitals. While adult lice and some nits are usually big enough to be seen with the naked eye, your physician might require a magnifying glass to detect the presence of smaller lice.
IV. Understanding Pubic Lice Testing Results
Once your doctor has completed a visual examination, they’ll typically let you know what the diagnosis is immediately. There aren’t any laboratory tests for pubic lice, so there shouldn’t be any need to wait for results.
Once diagnosed, your doctor will offer you treatment options that could include prescription lotion or prescription medications. Your doctor might also suggest using a lice comb to remove visible nits and lice from pubic hair. Additionally, you’ll likely be told to wash personal items that could be contaminated.
If you’ve contracted pubic lice as a result of sexual contact, your doctor might suggest that you undergo a full STD screening. Alternatively, if your diagnosis is negative, you may be asked to undergo other testing, such as allergy tests, to determine the cause of your symptoms.
V. Learn From Our Pubic Lice Testing Sources
If you want to learn more about pubic lice and pubic lice testing, check out the links below.
- Mayo Clinic| Pubic Lice (crabs): Overview of pubic lice, including diagnostic criteria and treatment options. | Last accessed July 2021.
- CDC | Parasites: About Pubic “Crab” Lice: Information about signs and symptoms of pubic lice, as well as common treatments. | Last accessed July 2021.
- Planned Parenthood | Pubic Lice: Learn about public lice, what it is, how it is found, and how it is treated. | Last accessed July 2021.