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Jock Itch, Its Causes, Symptoms and How to Deal with this Condition

What is jock itch?

Jock Itch might be a condition that you have not heard of before but its medical name is Tinea cruris and it is a fungal infection of the skin.  As with other tinea infections, jock itch is caused by a mold-like fungi - they are known as dermatophytes and they live on the skin as well as on the hair and nails.

While they are typically harmless, the fungi can multiply quickly (and perhaps cause infections) when they survive and thrive in warm, moist areas such as the skin around the groin, the inner thighs and the buttocks.

As the name implies, this skin condition is most common in men and adolescent boys, causing a rash that can itch or burn.  The skin can be red, flaky or even scaly. 

Treating this mild infection will help with the symptoms and stop the infection from spreading.  We will tell you how later on in this post.

What are the symptoms of jock itch?

Look out for these common symptoms in the affected areas:
  • Redness
  • Persistent itching
  • Burning sensation
  • Flaking, peeling and/or cracking skin
  • A rash that becomes worse with exercise or activity
  • Changes in skin color
  • A rash that doesn’t improve or worsens when using an OTC anti-itch cream

While jock itch typically affects the groin and inner thighs, it can spread to the abdomen and buttocks.  The scrotum is not usually affected.

What causes jock itch?

As we mentioned at the start of this post, jock itch is caused by a group of fungi called dermatophytes that naturally live on your skin and don't usually cause any problems.

It is when you stay in sweaty clothing after exercising that such long exposure to moisture can provide the perfect way for the fungi to start multiplying rapidly.

Such an overgrowth in the groin area causes the infection known as jock itch.  It is important to know that the fungus that causes jock itch is highly contagious. You may get the fungal infection through close personal contact with an infected person or through contact with the unwashed clothing of an infected person.

Just as in the case of Athlete's Foot, it is not only athletes who develop the infection of jock itch.  It can happen to anyone.  But it is more more likely in those who are overweight as the fungus can thrive in folds of skin which are prone to sweating.  Jock itch may also be triggered by prolonged exposure to moisture and friction from clothes.

We will set out preventative measures below in this post - but it is always important to  wash with soap and water in your groin and armpit areas daily and then to dry them carefully. 

How is jock itch diagnosed?

If you are concerned, your doctor should be able to diagnose jock itch simply by performing a physical exam and inspecting the affected area of skin.

In some cases, your doctor may take some scrapings of skin cells from the area to help diagnose the condition.  At the same time, this could also rule out other skin disorders.  One example would be psoriasis.  

How should I treat jock itch?

In most cases, jock itch can be safely treated at home effectively.  Here are some suggestions:

  • Wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and warm water.
  • Dry the affected area thoroughly after bathing and exercise.
  • Change clothes and undergarments every day.
  • Wear loose cotton clothing.
  • Treat any other fungal infections, such as athletes foot.  Our suggested product is H-Athlete's Foot Formula which is applied using a cotton swab directly to the affected area to allow the formula to start working immediately and effectively.  
  • Then treat the jock itch itself with H-Jock Itch Formula. When dealing with the groin area, it is important to use a safe and gentle approach.  This treatment will help relieve the burning and itching safely and naturally with its pure homeopathic and essential oil ingredients. 

When should I see my doctor about jock itch?

If your symptoms don’t improve after a few weeks of home treatments, you should make an appointment to see your doctor.  This is to be on the safe side in case you have developed a secondary infection that needs medical treatment.

Your doctor may prescribe medication such as:

  • Topical medications
    • Econazole (Ecoza)
    • Oxiconazole (Oxistat)
  • Oral medications
    • Itraconazole (Sporanox)
    • Fluconazole (Diflucan)

Oral antifungal medications may cause unpleasant side effects.  These include upset stomachs and headaches.

Should you be taking such medication and experience any of these side effects, it would be wise to discuss them with your doctor.

How can jock itch be prevented?

  • Practicing good hygiene is the best defence against jock itch as well as other skin conditions and infections.  Regular hand washing would be number 1 as this help reduce any risk of picking up this infection from someone else. 
  • At the same time, it is  important to keep your skin clean and dry, especially the area around your groin, washing the area daily with warm water and soap before drying the area thoroughly afterwards.
  • Avoid any clothing that might be on the tight side as that can further increase your risk of jock itch.  This is because tight clothes can rub or chafe your skin, making you more susceptible.  It can be a good idea to wear boxer shorts instead of briefs.
  • If the weather is hot or humid, it is wise to wear loose-fitting clothing to prevent sweating and the warm, moist environment in which fungus thrives.  All clothes worn during exercise should be washed every time after use.
  • Athlete’s foot is another infection that can be caused by the same fungi that causes jock itch. If you have athlete’s foot, treat it quickly. You can avoid spreading it to your groin area by ensuring you do not use the same towel on your feet as you would for your groin.