Jock Itch (Tinea Cruris)

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Man covering his crotchWhat is jock itch?

Jock itch (medical name Tinea Cruris) is a groin infection caused by a fungus, most commonly Trichophyton rubrum, that thrives in warm, moist areas. It’s called jock itch because male athletes commonly get it. Although anyone can get jock itch, some people are more likely to get it, including those who are overweight, prone to sweating, or have eczema.

What are the symptoms?

You may experience symptoms in the groin area, inner thighs, or anus, such as:

  • Itching and burning
  • A red, scaly skin rash
  • Flaking, cracking or peeling of skin

How did I get jock itch?

There are several ways to get jock itch. Some of the ways are:

  • Wearing clothes that cause irritation to your skin
  • Being wet or damp in the groin area from sweating
  • Sharing sweaty clothing or damp towels
  • Close contact with an infected person

How is jock itch diagnosed?

Your health care provider will ask about your symptoms and look at the affected area. They may want to take a small sample by gently scraping the skin surface to look at it under a microscope, but this is usually not necessary.

How do I get rid of jock itch?

Jock itch is best treated by keeping the area clean and dry and applying an antifungal cream. The fungus only affects the top layer of skin, so an over-the-counter antifungal cream, such as clotrimazole, miconazole, terbinafine, or tolnaftate usually clears it up. After washing the infected area with soap and water, apply the antifungal cream and spread it on the rash and extend beyond the boundaries of the rash.

Also:

  • Keep the groin clean and dry
  • Wear loose clothing that won’t rub against the area
  • After you shower, use a different towel to dry the groin, so you won’t spread the infection to other parts of your body
If you still have symptoms after two weeks, see your health care provider to discuss if you need further treatment with prescription creams or oral antifungal medications.

Is there a way to prevent it?

If you practice good hygiene, your chances of getting jock itch are low, but some people just seem to be prone to getting it.

Here are some tips:

  • Shower or take a bath daily, as well as after playing sports
  • Use a clean towel after showering
  • Wear cotten underwear
  • Change your underwear every day
  • Wear loose clothing that won’t rub against or irritate the area
  • Avoid sharing towels or clothing with others
  • Wash athletic supporters (cups) often
  • Talk with your health care providers about using antifungal powders or sprays daily for a while
If you’re concerned about jock itch, here’s a tip on how to bring it up with your health care provider: “I have this itchy, flaky rash around my groin. Can you check it out?”