Jock Itch

1 What is Jock Itch?

Jock itch or tinea cruris is a common fungal infection which results in an itchy, red and often ring-shaped rash. It affects the warm, dark and moist areas of the body like the skin of genitals, inner thighs, and buttocks.

Although the infection is usually not serious, it is bothersome and causes a lot of discomfort to the patient. It is more common in people who sweat a lot, like athletes.

Sweat creates a warm and moist environment for fungus to easily thrive in. Thus, maintaining cleanliness of the groin areas is an effective way to reduce the chances of infection.

It's clinical treatment involves administration of antifungal drugs through oral route or local application.

2 Symptoms

The symptoms of jock itch infection include:

  • Development of rashes.
  • Reddening of the affected area.
  • The characteristic ring-shaped pattern of spread from the crease of the groin area towards the upper thigh.
  • The rash is characterized by the presence of raised blisters at the borders.
  • Itching or burning sensation in the affected area.
  • Scaly or flaky skin at the affected area.
  • It could be accompanied by athlete’s foot disease.

If over the counter medications do not cure the infection within two weeks, the patient should consult the doctor.

3 Causes

A dermophytic fungus is responsible for causing jock itch. The fungus is present on the skin normally but prolonged exposure to moisture and warmth in the groin or folded areas of the body, results in its overgrowth.

Continuous irritation or rubbing in the affected area worsens the infection. It is a communicable disease and thus can easily spread from one person to another by the shared use of contaminated towels or clothing.

As the same contagious fungus is responsible for athlete’s foot infection, there are chances that the fungus has somehow spread from feet to the groin area.

4 Making a Diagnosis

The doctor usually diagnoses the jock itch infection by simply looking at the affected area but in some complicated cases, microscopic examination of the skin scrap is needed.

In very rare cases, the doctor may also need to send the samples to the laboratory for culturing to rule out jock itch from other related infections.

5 Treatment

Doctor’s first line of treatment for jock itch would be over-the-counter medications. These medications include antifungal ointments, gels or talc.

If the infection is severe enough to be treated by over the counter medications or if the infection reoccurs, the doctor will prescribe strength creams, ointments, and antifungal pills.

6 Prevention

The probability of occurrence of jock itch infection could be reduced by taking following preventive measures:

  • Maintain hygiene
  • Keep your groin area dry and clean
  • Use clean towel to dry groin areas after shower or exercise
  • Avoid sharing towels and clothing.
  • Change your undergarments daily, if you sweat a lot.
  • Avoid wearing thick clothing for longer durations especially, in warm and humid weather.
  • Avoid tight clothes to prevent irritation due to rubbing, which can make your groin area susceptible to the infection
  • Treat athlete’s foot infection as soon as possible.

7 Alternative and Homeopathic Remedies

While maintaining proper hygiene, some alternative remedies as described below could be beneficial for curing jock itch:

  • The talc could be applied to keep the affected area dry.
  • A liquid or antiseptic cream with sterilized cotton could be used to limit the fungal growth.
  • Alcohol could be applied to the affected area as it is an excellent antiseptic liquid.
  • Washing the affected area with salt water followed by drying with a clean towel is beneficial.
  • Applying coconut oil on the affected area, twice a day is beneficial in combating the infection.

8 Lifestyle and Coping

Lifestyle modifications are necessary in order to cope with jock itch infection.

The fungus that causes jock itch thrives in the damp, moist, warm and close environment.Thus, the patient must keep the affected area clean and dry to recover from the infection.

If home remedies and over the counter medications do not work, the patient should consult the doctor to avoid chronic illness from this bothersome infection.

9 Risks and Complications

The risk factors which increase the probability of jock itch are described below:

  • The adult males are more prone to this infection.
  • Being overweight increases the risk of the infection.
  • The persons having atopic dermatitis are prone to jock itch.
  • The persons who sweat a lot are more prone to this infection.

Jock itch is not a serious problem but it is troublesome and irritating. If the infection is left untreated, it can cause chronic illness.