There is a difference

Pubic lice and trichomoniasis are often confused by people as both conditions involve parasites which are in the genital area. The symptoms as well, are often similar, and sometimes take a while to appear. However, in the case of trichomoniasis (TRICH) although an infection may be present, studies have shown that only about 30% of people may develop symptoms.

Both conditions are mainly transmitted during unprotected vaginal sexual intercourse, and are prolific in numbers as one of the most infectious sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) Pubic lice and TRICH are both bacterial infections, which cannot be transmitted by saliva when kissing, as other STI’s are prone to do.

About pubic lice

Pubic lice are tiny parasite insects which live in coarse human body hair, such as the pubic hair around the genitals. They are sometimes found in underarm hair, and bushy unkempt beards. Research has shown that the lice originated way back in the mists of time from monkeys and gorillas, and gradually spread to humans. Also known as crabs because of 2 large front legs which resemble the claws of a crab, they are never found on the head.

Adult pubic lice are extremely small, but are visible in coarse hair, and are usually a yellowish or light red in colour. The lice lay eggs in brownish sacs which stick to the hair, and when hatched, the empty sacs are a whitish colour, making them easier to see. These lice cannot jump or fly and need blood to feed on, so will only leave the body by crawling into the hair of someone in close contact – such as during a sexual encounter. This is the way it spreads!

Some symptoms of a pubic lice infection

Should you pick a pubic lice infection, it could take up to 3 weeks for symptoms to surface.

Symptoms may include:

  • Severe itching which is worse at night, irritation and inflammation from scratching.
  • Blackish powdery dust in your underwear.
  • Small spots of blood on skin from lice bites.

Visit the doctor if you have any symptoms, as it could lead to a serious skin bacterial infection, or painful boils on the skin.

About trichomoniasis

This is a sexually transmitted infection, or STI, caused by a tiny parasite, and transmitted by having vaginal sex without a condom. The TRICH parasite is a type of microbe known as protozoan, and unlike pubic lice, can also be picked up by non-sexual means such as towels, bedding, furniture and even swimming pools. Studies have shown that women are more at risk than men, and up to 60% of those infected have few, or no symptoms.

When there are symptoms, men and women may overlap with some symptoms such as:

  • Painful, burning sensation when urinating.
  • Itching and soreness in the genital areas.
  • -MEN: a discharge from the penis.
    -WOMEN: a vaginal discharge which smells bad. The home of the TRICH parasite is in the vagina, and during sex the parasite can pass from an infected man from the penis to the vagina, and from the vagina of an infected woman, to the penis of an uninfected man. 

Visit the doctor if you have any of the symptoms which concern you. Complications relating to both conditions. Untreated TRICH, because it is a parasitic microbe, may make your risk of contracting other STI’s higher, as well as making you more susceptible to HIV and aids issues.

The doctor will order tests to establish the problems, and advise which treatments will be best. Pubic lice only present problems when there is a bacterial skin infection if it is left untreated. However, it is easy to treat with a single course of antibiotics, and over-the-counter meds, which should clear it up within a couple of days.

Note that if any symptoms return, visit the doctor as soon as possible, before things get out of hand.

We can help!

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April 04, 2023

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