What is Jock Itch? Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

Jock itch is a common name of an itchy rash in the groin that often involves the inner thighs and adjacent skin and the scrotum in males. Jock itch is related to sweating, occlusive clothing, friction/abrasion, and the direct rubbing of skin on skin. While the rash may affect the groin, it can also involve any skin areas that overlap, such as area around the anus and in the skin folds of obese. Jock itch affects men and women occasionally.

What is Jock Itch?

Tinea cruris or commonly known as jock itch is a fungal infection of the skin. As the name suggests, it is associated to a group of fungal skin infections called tinea. Similar to other tinea infections, this is also caused by mold-like fungi known as dermatophytes.

Dermatophytes are microscopic fungi that live on the skin and on the hair as well as nails. While they’re usually harmless, they can reproduce quickly and cause infections when they’re allowed to flourish in warm and moist areas. And this is the reason jock itch usually develops in the skin around the groin, inner thighs, and bottoms.

In most cases, Jock itch is common in men and young boys. Cases of women are rarely seen. Itching and burns on the rashes are common in this infection. The affected areas can also be red or flaky.

Although jock itch can be troublesome due to the intense itching and burning, it’s typically a mild infection. Curing it quickly will reduce symptoms and prevent the infection from spreading. By keeping the affected area dry and clean and applying topical antifungal medication, people can get relief easily.

Symptoms of Jock Itch

Common symptoms of jock itch include:

  • redness in the affected area
  • persistent itching in the affected area
  • burning sensation in the affected area
  • flaking, peeling, or cracking skin in the affected area
  • a rash that gets worse with exercise or activity
  • changes in skin color

Although Jock itch usually affects the groin and inner thighs, it may also spread to the abdomen and buttocks.

Causes of Jock Itch

As mentioned, Jock itch is caused by a group of fungi called dermatophytes. The fungus causing jock itch is highly contagious. A person can easily contract jock itch on close personal contact with an infected person or through contact with infected clothing of an affected person.

While the term “jock itch” may give the impression that it can develop in athletes only, it can affect anyone. Obese or overweight people are more likely to experience jock itch as the fungus can develop in skin folds, which are prone to sweating. It may also be triggered by prolonged exposure to moisture and friction from clothes.

Treating Jock Itch

Since, Jock itch is typically a mild infection, it can be treated at home easily in most cases. You can try the following remedies to get rid of the infection:

  • Apply over-the-counter topical antifungal cream, spray or powder to the affected area.
  • Wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and warm water.
  • Dry the affected area after bathing and exercise.
  • Wear loose cotton clothing.
  • Change your clothes and undergarments every day.
  • Treat any other fungal infections, such as athlete’s foot.

When to seek medical aid?

If even after treating the infection you don’t feel treated, visit to a hospital. Check if you develop any of the following symptoms beyond the rash:

  • Fever
  • Weakness
  • Vomiting
  • Rapid spread of the rash
  • Swollen glands
  • Open sores or ulcers
  • Boils
  • Lumps in the groin
  • Rash that involves your penis
  • Drainage of pus
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Rash that spreads to your trunk.

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