Tinea is a kind of fungus that belongs to the dermatophyte family of microbes and is responsible for infecting the skin of men, women, and children. Depending on the exact location of the body that harbors tinea, the infections are named differently.
Tinea pedis – This is a tinea infection affecting the feet where the webbing between the toes develops rashes and a scaly appearance.
Tinea capitis – This is an infection affecting the skin of the scalp in the form of raised red ring-like rashes. In severe conditions, the hair stops growing and the skin develops bald patches with a rough scaly appearance.
Tinea corporis – Reddish ringlike clusters on your arms, legs, and chest area.
Tinea unguium – It infects the toenails making them dark, flaky and brittle to the touch.
What concerns us, is Tinea cruris. This is the technical name attributed to jock itch. It affects the skin in the groin surrounding the genital openings. You find the infection affecting the genital organs in both men and women in the upper part of the thighs, the buttocks, and the skin near the anal opening. The infection is usually confined to the frontal area to begin with, and progresses slowly to the genital organs, back and buttocks if treatment is either ignored or postponed.
Why jock itch targets the genital zone
The fungus only grows in warm and wet conditions. The groin at any moment in time, is usually an area that preserves warmth and moisture for a number of reasons:
- It is the most tightly covered of all body parts. We wear bikinis, panties, and briefs that are skin tight, which packs hair tightly and closer to the skin.
- Layers of tight underwear and trousers help lock in a certain level of warmth and moisture.
- Synthetic fabrics that we wear allow less air to circulate over the skin allowing higher levels of moisture to accumulate.
The areas that are most susceptible to jock itch
The bikini line: The skin emerging from the edges of a bikini, especially the bottom half near the thighs.
The perineum: The area between the scrotal sac (in men) and the anus, and between the anus and the vulva in women. Here we see very sensitive skin that holds a lot of hair and generates copious sweat after exertion.
The gluteal cleft: This is the anal crack or cleft between the two cheeks of the butt. It also affects the creases of the buttocks as they hang over the thighs.
The upper part of the thighs: The area where the thighs join the waist of the genital organs. This is an area that has a lot of sweat glands and is exposed to plenty of skin friction. Rashes and sores in this area seriously incapacitate the patient.
The labia of the vagina: In extreme candidiasis, a creamy white bad smelling discharge oozes out of the vagina which is owed to a yeast infection.
The glans of the penis: The glans or head of the penis in men can develop infections especially when symptoms are ignored and itching becomes chronic. The foreskin also develops inflammation in uncircumcised males.
Within the folds of skin in obese people: In obese individuals, skin overhang creates crevices where the elements of sweat and skin on skin friction is at its highest.
Whatever the specific area is that the fungus infects, the symptoms remain the same. The skin appears raised and thickened with circular or wavy patches having scaly, roughened edges. The rashes thicken and sometimes crack forming sores that ooze a clear liquid or dark pus.
- Depending on the exact location of the body which harbors the infection, dictates the type of infection
- The infection affects the genital organs of men and women, the upper part of the thighs, the cheeks of the buttocks and the skin near the anal opening.