Is Jock Itch A Condition That Only Affects Men?
When moisture or sweat becomes trapped in skin folds, fungus can start to grow. The most common fungus that causes jock itch (known as Trichophyton rubrum) is the same one that causes athlete’s foot and the infection can sometimes be spread from your own feet to the groin area.
While roughly half the cases of jock itch are due to fungus, the remainder are caused by sweating, excess moisture, skin rubbing, friction, irritation, allergic problems, fungal infection, Candida yeast infections and even bacterial overgrowth. The heat and humidity of summer can provide the perfect conditions for jock itch to thrive. Jock itch is more common in those who wear tight clothing or abrasive underwear (especially during exercise).
What are the symptoms of jock itch?
- A pink or red rash in groin folds. The rash is red, itchy with raised papules that can spread from the groin folds to the buttocks, anal areas and down the inner thighs.
- Itching which can be very intense.
Two words of warning
- Firstly, another rash that looks similar to jock itch is called intertrigo. This is not caused by the same fungus as jock itch. Intertrigo also appears as a reddened rash but bacteria or another type of fungus infects the moist areas in the skin creases. Women can get intertrigo under their breasts or in the skin folds under their abdomen if they are obese.
- Secondly, if the penis or vagina are affected, then the problem is not caused by Trichophyton rubrum alone, but an additional Candida infection has infected those areas.
Who are likely to show symptoms of jock itch?
- Although, as we have said, jock itch mostly affects males, it may also be seen in females.
- Jock itch is most common in older adults and athletes.
- Those who are seriously overweight or obese are more at risk.
- Those with diabetes, obesity or with a compromised immune system such as from HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, chronic illnesses or cancer.
- In addition, systemic chemotherapy, immuno suppressive drugs such as prednisone, and those on biologic immune-system-modifying drugs such asinfliximab (Remicade) or etanercept (Enbrel) may be more prone to jock itch.
- Jock itch is often seen in otherwise healthy people.
While jock itch is primarily noticeable in the groin, it may spread to the inner thighs, genitals (including penis, scrotum, labia and vaginal opening) and the anus.
How is Jock itch diagnosed?
If you go to your doctor, he or she will diagnose jock itch by looking at a scraping of the skin under a microscope. Questions about your immune status and any history of diabetes will also be asked.
It is important to be aware too that jock itch is contagious and can be passed between people. Always avoid sexual contact or sharing of towels until successful treatment has been accomplished.
How to treat Jock itch?
Jock itch is easily treatable and may even resolve on its own without treatment. While doctors will often prescribe over-the-counter or prescription antifungal creams, there is a more natural way to treat the condition.
If you have athlete’s foot, it should be treated at the same time, though feet will need a longer treatment time. The symptoms of jock itch may come and go, and many cases resolve spontaneously without any treatment.
Once jock itch has been successfully treated, any recurrence can be prevented by good skin hygiene. That means keeping the area clean and dry, and washing frequently with gentle soap and water (especially after sweating or exercise).