Healthy Living

Jock Itch: The Facts You Should Know

Jock Itch: The Facts You Should Know

Jock itch can be very embarrassing. The skin folds itch like crazy in the wrong places at the wrong time. The more you scratch, the more reddish and tender the area becomes. Men get it more often than women, and you don’t have to be an athlete blazing the tracks to get this abdominal itch. Here are the itchy facts:

Jock itch usually breaks out in the groin, the area between the underbelly and the thighs, and the culprit is yeast or fungus

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It’s not very nice to look at; there’s a reddish brown tender spot in the center, branching out like a rash with dry, scaly edges. It will be localized in some area. The rash may not itch to begin with, but once it itches, the discomfort level rises.

The rash appears more in areas where the skin is folded, such as the pubic area, the cleft of the buttocks, and the hairy skin where the scrotal sac or vaginal folds rub the thighs. The fungus doesn’t invade underlying tissues but rather feeds on dry keratinized fragments of skin, hair, and nails scattered on the skin surface.

Jock itch has no gender bias; both men and women suffer equally

If you think jock itch can only affect males, than think again. This is a universal itch anyone can suffer from, and it is seen in both animals and humans. Gender is not a factor in contracting a fungal infection.

Jock itch needs warm and moist surroundings to thrive, like the crotch

Jock itch is caused by either the common yeast (Candida Albicans) or a fungus belonging to the Dermatophyte family. Both grow fast when the surroundings are moist and warm. You create these conditions when you sweat copiously following exertion or exercise. People that sweat profusely are more prone to yeast and fungal infections.

Men and women that are active in swimming, gymnastics, and other athletic activities that habitually wear tight body hugging outfits and who sweat a lot are likely candidates to develop infections more frequently. Sweat and warmth generated by exercise heat up the outer layers of the skin. The folds of the skin rub against each other and against tight clothing to scatter dead keratinized cells, creating a fertile field for fungal activity. 

Jock itch can move from one area to another through contact with infected areas

Typically, an athlete’s foot infection becomes the gateway to acquiring a full blown jock itch in the groin. The reason is very simple. Very often, the feet come into contact with the undergarment as it is slipped on. The fungus spreads through contact. In a similar way, fingers scratching the feet can transfer fungi lodged under the nails to the groin area. Fingernails, feet, infected clothing, and towels used by an infected person can all spread the infection. The problem is worse in people who are genetically vulnerable to skin infections.   

Fortunately, topical creams and powders do a great job in controlling jock itch

For fast relief from jock itch, the best remedy is an ointment that is anti-fungal in its action. The itch remains tenacious, mainly because of the presence of moisture, so doctors suggest using odor controlling and water absorbing powders that remove water and keep the affected area clean and dry. Needless to say, for people with athlete’s foot, simultaneous treatment of the feet and groin may be necessary to prevent complications.

Normally, it needs a week to begin to show results or the infection withers away on its own within days. When the infection is more serious, rashes become uglier, and scaly tissue begins to set in and spread. This complicates treatment, which may get extended to a month or more. People that fear color changes in the affected skin need not worry, as skin assumes normalcy.

If you find yourself reaching for your private parts to address an itch a little too often, you should not dismiss it as something routine. The best option is to overcome any thoughts of embarrassment and to consult a dermatologist to rule out the worst case scenarios. 

Knowing the itch

As we have read above, Jock Itch can be a very embarrassing condition that affects both men and women. We say embarrassing, because it causes an immense urge to itch. Since it occurs in areas that have skin folds, which are left moist, and parts of the groin, these areas become difficult to attend to on an urgent basis. While a simple rash may go unnoticed, the next time it itches or causes any discomfort, make sure you know what that redness means. Get it checked by the doctor to ascertain the condition, as skin ailments can be very tricky, or rashes could erupt, owing to some other underlying infection. Some medicines and powders are available over the counter, quite similar to the ones that deal with fungal infections. If the itch does not subside in a day or two, please get it checked. There is nothing embarrassing about taking care of your skin health.

Quick tips and tricks

Just as your body needs care, so does your skin. Have a diet rich in nutritious food. Additionally, consume enough quantity of water during the day. Keep all the skin folds dry and moisture free. If you tend to sweat a lot during the day, make sure to take a fresh water shower in the evening or before heading to bed. Compulsorily, wipe dry your body, including the skin folds, groin area, and other regions that you may tend to ignore normally. Another quick tip would be to wear clothes that let your skin breathe. Loose fitting garments, airy fabrics, and comfortable fits do the trick. Avoid scratching the affected area. The infection could get on to your fingernails and from there transfer to other parts of the body. Moreover, scratching the infected areas causes the condition to worsen over time and leaves you with a burning or tingling sensation. Small tips and tricks like the ones shared can help you stay away from the infamous itch.