What is jock itch?
Jock itch (medical name Tinea Cruris) is a skin infection in your groin caused by a fungus, most commonly Trichophyton rubrum that thrives in warm, moist areas. It is NOT a sexually transmitted infection (STI). It’s called jock itch because male athletes commonly get it and it tends to be itchy. Although anyone can get jock itch, some people are more likely to get it, including those who sweat a lot, those who live in larger bodies (or are overweight), those with diabetes, and those who have eczema.
What are the symptoms?
- Itching and burning
- A red, scaly skin rash
- Flaking, cracking or peeling of skin on your groin and inner thighs
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 usually clears it up. After washing the infected area with soap and water, dry the skin, apply the antifungal cream and spread it on the rash and extend beyond the boundaries of the rash.
- 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 (medicines you take by mouth).
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.
- Did you know the fungus that causes athlete’s foot also causes jock itch? If you have athlete’s foot make sure to use separate towels to dry your feet and to dry your body.
- Wear cotton 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.
Jock itch can be confused with other skin conditions such as psoriasis or seborrhea, so it’s important to be seen by your health care provider (HCP) in order to get the right treatment. If you think you have jock itch, don’t suffer; make an appointment with your HCP. There is no need to feel embarrassed as this is a common condition that most guys will have at some point during their life. The sooner you get treated, the better you will feel!