The best treatments for the Jock Itch fungal infection
- If left untreated, it can create complications like spreading from the pubic area to the skin surrounding the anus
- A soap and shower routine after exercising or commuting ensures harmful bacteria and fungi are kept under control
It starts as a minor irritation in the groin, thighs or buttocks, which may spark a conflagration of itching, red rashes, and burning pain. These symptoms usually implicate the existence of jock itch. Affecting both men and women, this is a fungal infection of the Dermatophyte family of fungi or the common yeast, Candida Albicans.
1. Know the risk factors
Before discussing treatment options, we must become familiar with risk factors that encourage the growth of the jock itch infection. This is necessary to avoid contraction.
- Moisture: The fungus thrives in areas like the groin that sweat profusely, and where the body retains a higher level of moisture trapped within skin-tight garments.
- Warmth: Excessive exertion, strenuous exercise, and sporting activities raise the skin's temperature in the groin.
- Tight clothing: Figure-hugging clothes are susceptible to trapping fungi and bacterial infections within a closed, moist and warm environment.
- Exposure to public washrooms and commodes: Physical contact with infected persons (handshake, hugging, patting) and use of shared toiletries and towels can transmit fungal infections.
2. The preventive approach
The condition is not serious enough to warrant hospitalization. It is treatable, and fully curable in the short term. If left untreated it can create complications like spreading from the pubic area to the skin surrounding the anal opening. It may also create temporary or permanent changes in skin color.
- Avoiding excessive warmth and moisture: Daily shower and cleaning routines will help prevent the contraction of jock itch.
- Use a gentle soap and cleanser: Soaps like Dove keep the skin from growing excessively moist or dry by maintaining the correct pH balance. The groin should be bathed at least twice daily to avoid bacterial and fungal infection.
- Wear loose fitting clothes: Regular change of clothing and undergarments should become an integral part of our skincare routine. Also, avoid skin tight outfits. This prevents chafing and entrapment of moisture and warmth.
- Use fabric that allows skin to breathe: Select full cotton linen and under vests that keep the skin properly aerated at all times. Avoid synthetic fibers that irritate the skin.
- Keep clothes away from chemicals: Do not use harsh chemicals to wash, soften or bleach your garments. They invite more trouble than they resolve. Replace clothes as soon as they wear out and become dull.
3. Attacking the root cause
Anti-fungal shampoos and lotions: Ketoconazole used in a shampoo formulation is very effective in stopping fungal attacks. It is used once daily for two to six weeks. Selenium sulfide is another active fungus-fighting drug that is administered as a lotion twice a week for two weeks, before switching to once every week until the symptoms clear.
Antifungal topical onsite creams for external use: Depending on severity the doctor might prescribe stronger topical creams containing the following active ingredients
- Miconazole which attacks yeast and fungal cell walls, weakening and killing them.
- Clotrimazole is highly effective in athlete’s foot and yeast infections.
- Terbinafine which tackles yeast and fungal infections with equal effect.
Oral anti-fungal pills: The following antifungal drugs are administered orally (in superior strengths) when external creams and shampoos have little or no desired effect.
4. Treating the itching in Jock Itch
Fungal action releases toxic byproducts that alert the body’s immune system to deploy antibodies. This causes the inflammatory condition associated with the infection. Depending on the severity, mild to medium potency steroid creams containing active ingredients triamcinolone or hydrocortisone are applied two to three times daily over the affected skin.
5. Treating the discoloration of Jock Itch
Hydroquinone, the Benzene derivative, is a fast-acting skin bleaching agent which is applied as a cream to lighten surfaces darkened by fungal infections. Azelaic acid cream is basically used to treat acne and rosacea, but is also useful in reducing hyper-pigmentation.