What is Jock Itch?
Jock itch also referred to as tinea cruris, is a fungal infection characterized by a red and itchy rash in the warm and moist areas of the body - usually the groin area and the inner thighs. The condition is common in people who sweat a lot or who are overweight.
Jock itch is caused by a fungus that is normally found on the skin but causes infection only under certain conditions. These conditions include:
- Hot or humid climates
- Prolonged moistness in the groin area, such as from sweating
- Friction from clothes
- Direct skin-to-skin contact
- Contact with unwashed clothing of an infected person
- Sharing contaminated towels or clothing
Jock itch is more common in males and it commonly affects adolescents and young adults.
Jock itch typically affects your groin, inner thighs, or anus. Common symptoms include:
- A flat, red, scaly, itchy rash with raised edges
- Itching and burning sensation
- Flaking, Cracking, or peeling skin
- Abnormally dark or light skin
Your doctor diagnoses jock itch by performing a physical examination and by examining the affected area of your skin.
For cases which are unclear, your doctor may need a skin sample from the affected area to send to the laboratory for confirmation. This helps to rule out other skin disorders such as psoriasis.
Over-the-counter (OTC) antifungal medications remain the mainstay of treatment. You may be advised to use topical applications such as ointments or creams. Other home measures for faster healing and treating jock itch effectively include:
- Washing the affected area thoroughly and then drying thoroughly using a clean towel
- Using a different towel for drying the rest of your body
- Applying the medicine as directed and completing the full course of treatment
- Wearing loose-fitting cotton clothing
- Changing clothes and undergarments every day
Your doctor may suggest prescription-strength creams, ointments, or pills for severe cases which do not improve with home remedies or OTC options. Antibiotics may be recommended in such cases to treat bacterial infections that might arise from scratching the affected area.
You can reduce your chances of getting jock itch by following certain good hygiene habits which include:
- Bathing daily
- Keeping the skin dry, especially in areas such as the groin. Using an antifungal powder is also a good option.
- Not sharing personal items such as clothing or towels with others
- Wearing proper-fitting clothes
- Wearing clean clothes
- Treating or preventing athlete's foot