To itch or not- Jock itch facts

  • By Dr. T Deepa Porkodi

What is Jock Itch?

Jock itch, or Tinea Cruris, as it is called medically, is a fungal infection that is seen in the upper thighs and groin area. The fungi are present on normal skin and when they get conducive environment i.e. a dirty sweaty moist skin, they start growing there.

Do only jocks and athletes get jock itch?

No. Jock itch is so named because mostly athletes get it. But it can affect anyone who tends to sweat a lot. It most often affects guys, but girls can get it, too.

What causes Jock Itch?

Lots of sweating while playing sports, hot and humid weather, friction from wearing tight clothes for extended periods (like bathing suits), and sharing clothes with others. People who have certain health conditions, such as obesity, diabetes mellitus, or other diseases that cause problems with the immune system, are also more likely to develop it.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Jock Itch?

Jock itch is usually less severe than other tinea infections. If it's not treated, though, it can last for weeks or months. Symptoms of jock itch include:

  1. a circular, red, raised rash with elevated edges
  2. itching, chafing, or burning in the groin, thigh, or anal area
  3. skin redness in the groin, thigh, or anal area
  4. flaking, peeling, or cracking skin

How is Jock Itch Treated?

Usually over-the-counter antifungal creams and powders are sufficient to treat jock itch. In severe cases you may need to see a dermatologist who may prescribe oral antifungal medications.

Keeping the area clean and dry is very essential, as even the slightest moisture can make the infection to come back or spread more.

After you finish bathing, use a separate towel to dry the groin area. Once it is thoroughly dry, dust it with antifungal powder or apply the cream. Always change your underwear. Use soft cotton ones that do not allow sweat to gather.

Always remember: Complete the full course of your antifungal treatment. Leaving it midway, even if your itch has gone, will only lead to the itch appearing in a more severe form!

Can Jock Itch be prevented?

Yes. Follow theses hygienic practices to keep yourself free of jock itch.

Good hygiene is the most important thing you can do to help prevent jock itch:

  1. Shower or take a bath daily twice if possible, as well as after playing sports.
  2. Keep the area as dry as possible by always using a clean towel after showering or swimming.
  3. Avoid sharing towels.
  4. Wash athletic supporters as often as possible.