Jock Itch: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

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Jock itch, gym itch, athlete’s itch are the common names given to itchy red rashes in the groin area, thighs and adjacent skin, including the testicles in males. The medical name for these rashes is “tinea cruris”. Jock itch develops through sweating, and rubbing when apparel, or gym clothes seal in moisture and heat. The resulting rashes are limited to the groin, they can appear in any areas of the body’s skin that overlap, including around the rectum and in the skin folds of obese individuals. Jock itch affects mostly men and occasionally women.

Wrestlers and MMA combat athletes are at high risk for developing these bacterial and fungal rashes for the following reasons:

  • Heat & humidity associated with heavy workouts in closed faculties
  • Close fitting gym wear and workout clothing
  • Damp skin as occurs with excessive sweating

In most cases friction is the cause of Jock itch, however several microorganisms have been identified as causing the rash as well. Common microorganisms like fungi and bacteria can infect the skin. This is particularly true of combat athletes due to the heavy skin-to-skin contact associated with the sport.

Bacterial jock itch can be easily diagnosed because the affected skin glows red color when illuminated by a black light.

Fungus can also cause Jock Itch. Contact with opponents, or contact with objects that already contain fungus can cross contaminate the skin. The fungus is spread by contact with the spores, which may survive on dead skin cells or objects for a long time.

If you have fungal infection, such as athlete’s foot, the same organism may cause contamination in your groin area.

Fungal spores like Epidermophyton floccosum and Trichophytin are often the cause for the epidemic infections in locker rooms, training facilities, and in situations where athletes work closely together. Towels, sheets, blankets, may host fungus for years.

Jock Itch: Signs and Treatment

Causes of Jock Itch

Jock itch is caused by a group of fungi called dermatophytes. These fungi naturally live on your skin and normally don’t cause problems. However, when you remain in sweat-soaked clothes after exercising, the lengthy exposure to moisture can allow the fungi to multiply quickly. When you have an overgrowth of dermatophytes in your groin area, it causes the infection known as jock itch.

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 unwashed clothing of an infected person.

The term “jock itch” may give the impression that only athletes develop the infection, but it can occur in anyone. Those who are overweight are more likely to experience jock itch because 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.

Reasons on evolution of jock itch may also include the following:

  • Moisture, warmth, and skin friction in the groin folds
  • Tight, occlusive clothing and undergarments that trap in sweat
  • Infections caused by fungus and yeasts: Candida (yeast), Trichophyton, and Epidermophyton (fungal molds)
  • Infections by bacteria

Jock Itch Causes Symptoms Treatment

Symptoms of Jock Itch

If you discover an itchy area of redness in a skin fold the infection has begun. Sores may develop in a random pattern. You may even see tiny pimples or pustules with parts that are red and dry. Small scales may develop.

The infection becomes more irritating as time goes by. In severe cases, the skin breaks down and the whole condition becomes very uncomfortable.

Jock itch usually begins with mild intermittent itching in the groin. The itching can get worse and become unbearable in some cases. The rash is usually on both sides of the groin and affects the folds.

The rash may become dry, rough, and bumpy, develop pus bumps, or begin to ooze. Sometimes, there is central clearing as the rash spreads outward to the thighs. The itching and rash can spread to the genitals, including the labia, vagina, scrotum, penis, and anus.

Women may also develop vaginal white discharge and yeast infections. Men may develop infections on the head of the penis, especially if they are not circumcised.

Severe cases may be very uncomfortable and develop secondary complications such as breaks in the skin, open sores, ulcers, and rarely cellulitis.

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Jock Itch Self-Care

If you have minor itching and redness in the groin keep the area dry, and exposed to as much air as much as possible, and avoid tight clothes on the area.

There are any antifungal medications available without prescription. They come in cream, liquid spray, ointment, and powder forms. However some people may develop an allergic reaction to medication, stop using them if your rash seems worse.

More and more athletes are turning to natural essential oils to prevent the bacteria or fungus from proliferating in the first place. The most effective use of this technique utilizes a natural soap that contains high-grade tea tree oils and oil of eucalyptus. Defense Soap is not only extremely effective in preventing Jock Itch. The ingredients are known to stop MRSA, Impetigo, Ringworm, Herpes and Staph. That’s because the natural essential oils contained in Defense Soap not only destroy bacteria and fungus but viruses as well. With moderate to severe rashes Defense Soap provides a concentrated solution of these oils for direct application.

Prevention of Jock Itch

Both males and females should take the following steps to help avoid genital itching:

  • Wear loose, natural-fiber underwear and clothing. Change underwear at least every 24 hours.
  • Keep the genital area clean and dry. Use mild, natural and anti-fungal soap and rinse well.
  • Use mild, unscented laundry detergents to wash your underwear.
  • Dry off thoroughly after bathing and swimming. Avoid staying in wet clothing for long periods of time.
  • Avoid unprotected sex, especially if you are worried that you or your partner might have an infection.
  • Use cornstarch, powders to prevent friction and heat build up.jock genital itch wear loose cotton underwear
  • Wear loose-fitting cotton underwear.
  • Sterilize gym clothes by washing in hot soapy water with bleach.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight. Heavier people suffer more with perspiration buildup in their groin area than people of lower body weight.
  • Fungal infection on feet or hands should be treated promptly before it spreads to the groin or other skin areas.
  • More importantly when you discover such itching please take a positive step as it is known that these infections spread when neglected and can easily be shared or transmitted to your partner unknowingly. “Prevention is better than cure” when it comes to treating you both.

Treatment of Jock Itch with Home Remedies

  • One of the easiest home remedies for jock itch is to take a salted bath. Just sprinkle a good amount of salt on the hot bath and soak yourself in it for almost 15 minutes. The salt in the water will dry the blisters by soaking the liquid in it. Try this procedure 2 to 3 times a day and you will see that your jock itch will disappear. Silica is a safer choice then talcum powder since it is environmentally inert material and will keep the area dry of any moisture.
  • Garlic is one of the most common home remedies for jock itch. All you need to do is blend garlic with olive oil and apply this mixture directly on the affected area. Or you can even take garlic orally.garlic olive oil jock itch rashes treatment
  • Tea tree oil is also effective in fighting the infection. You can apply a thin layer of tea tree oil on the affected area twice a day. Or you can even apply cooled thyme tea on the affected area by a cotton swab twice a day.
  • Licorice is known to have antifungal properties. Just boil some water (one cup) and add licorice powder (six teaspoons). Stir it well and let it boil for twenty minutes. Now let it cool down and then apply it on the infected area by a cotton swab. Make it your daily routine in order to benefit from it.
  • Apply freshly squeezed aloe gel from the aloe vera plant to the affected area to find relief from itching and burning, as well as to prevent further spreading of the rash.
  • Put 10 drops of tea tree oil into 2 tablespoons of Calendula cream and apply this mixture twice a day.
  • Stir 2 teaspoons of fresh or dried thyme leaves into 1 cup of boiling water and steep for 20 minutes. Apply cooled thyme tea to affected area twice daily with a cotton ball.
  • Soak a teaspoon of sliced ginger root and a teaspoon of dried thyme in a cup of warm water. Keep it aside for a few minutes. When it cools down, apply on the infected area using a cotton ball.
  • Simply add a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to a cup of water, and mix well. With the use of a clean washcloth dipped in the solution, gently dab the area with this vinegar mixture.
  • Mix 2-3 drops of coconut oil with 4-5 drops if olive oil. Apply this over the affected area. It will work great combat fungal infection.avoid smoking drinking alcohol jock genital infection
  • Avoid alcohol and smoking. Do not eat processed sugars, greasy, fried and processed foods. Increase the consumption of foods that will boost your immune system and eat grains moderately. Try to keep the affected area as dry as possible. Wear cotton undergarments and wash your used towels and clothing regularly in hot water. These were some of the effective home remedies for jock itch which are easy to implement and can be tried within the comforts of your home.

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7 Responses to Jock Itch: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

  1. Vibha Sachdev says:

    very good information in the article. I will add few things. keep that area clean and after that use a anti fungal powder and most important, please don’t scratch that area with your nails too much because this will make your problem more worse . take care

  2. Andrew says:

    Jock itch is best treated with topical creams or ointments since the fungus only affects the top layer of skin. Many of the antifungal medications require a prescription, but there are three that can be bought over-the-counter (OTC). The OTC antifungals are tolnaftate (Tinactin), clotrimazole (Lotrimin), and miconazole (Micatin). Creams used to treat jock itch should be applied twice a day for at least two weeks. Application can be stopped after the rash has been gone for one week. Creams should be applied to the rash and also at least two finger widths beyond the rash. Many people with jock itch also have athlete’s foot and these same creams can be applied to the feet. However, treatment of athlete’s foot can take up to four weeks. If the rash is very red and itchy, especially if it has blisters at the edge, a topical steroid such as hydrocortisone can be applied also. Steroids should not be used in the groin alone without consulting a health care provider since steroids alone can make the rash of jock itch much worse.

  3. Joel fernando says:

    I had jock itch on my groin, it started out as a small irritation at the top of my inner thighs, right in the crease. It didn’t bother me too much and I thought it would just go away on its own. After about a week it started to grow downwards on each inner thigh and it became very red and quite itchy. It had a strange smell which I now know was yeast. The edge of the infection was slightly more raised than the rest of it and the line was very defined where it ended. At this point I asked my girlfriend if she knew what it was and she said it looked like jock itch. She is actually a Pharmacist so I took her word for it.. She got me some cream from work called Hydrozole. She said it was the standard treatment and that I should apply it twice a day. Well I did that and it seemed to help as it did get rid of the itch. After a week the infection looked a bit better so I continued using it. After 2 weeks it was still there but something strange had happened to my scrotum. It had become very sticky and the skin seemed to have lost its elasticity. I was wearing boxers at the time so maybe if I had been wearing jocks, they might have stopped the cream getting on my scrotum but the advice was to wear boxers to keep the area cool and dry. So now I still had the jock itch (although it was slightly better than before) and my scrotum was in bad shape. I decided to see a doctor. I went to a medical center and waited in line for around an hour. Then I finally saw a doctor. She brought me in had a quick look and said that I should stop using the Hydrozole and that I should now try Lamisil. She wrote a prescription and I was in and out within 2 minutes. I used the Lamisil for a week and it seemed to do almost nothing for the infection while my scrotum seemed to be getting worse. The skin seemed thinner and it was hanging down further than usual. I really wanted to get rid of this thing and was getting worried about my scrotum so I went back to the medical center. I waited again for around an hour then finally saw a doctor. This time it was a man and I thought that he might know more about this. He didn’t seem worried about my scrotum at all and told me to now use Canesten. He said that seeing as Hydrozole was more effective than the Lamisil that Canesten would be the best because it had the same antifungal ingredient as Hydrozole but didn’t have the steroid that Hydrozole contains. I was in and out within 3 minutes and he said to try it for at least 2 weeks and to keep using it for a week after the infection was gone to make sure it didn’t come back. I used it for another week and it helped a little but the infection was still quite bad and I was becoming increasingly concerned about my scrotum. I decided to go and see a Naturopath and it turned out to be the best thing I ever did. She took a look and straight away told me to stop using any of the creams the doctors ordered. She told me that if I went back to a doctor again that they would give me even stronger prescription creams that would be even worse for my scrotum. She mixed up some oils and put them in a bottle for me and said to apply it to the area twice a day or more if required. I went home and applied the oil and straight away I could feel it working. I felt a slight burning sensation which felt cooling at the same time (its hard to describe) and the itch went away almost immediately. The next day I was amazed to see the redness was much less red and the infection looked much better. After 3 days the infection was almost completely gone although there was still a mark where it had been. Instead of red and irritated it was kind of purple and not irritated at all. After a week it was looking much better and I knew the fungus was dead. I stopped using the oil and it never came back. My scrotum took over 6 months to go back to normal. During this time I thought I had destroyed the skin forever and was very angry with the medical establishment. In fact I am still angry with them and I hope I can have some impact on them by letting people know about the poor treatment offered by our health system and the amazing effectiveness of natural treatments that are totally safe. Indeed the natural treatment was far superior to the concoctions that our leading Pharmaceutical companies are offering, it had no side effects, it worked in a fraction of the time and it was extremely cheap… Sorry about my long winded tale but I want you to understand what happened to me so you don’t make the same mistakes… If you have jock itch then treat it with the natural cure first! If you have tried other treatments that didn’t work then don’t worry because this one does work and it works really fast

  4. samuel says:

    Jock itch is a fungal infection of the skin on the groin, upper inner thighs, or buttocks. It most commonly occurs in hot, humid conditions. Doctors often refer to jock itch as tinea cruris. Jock itch is caused by common fungus organisms that grow best in warm, moist areas. Jock itch can affect women, but most commonly affects men, especially men who perspire heavily. ——- The fungus that causes jock itch most often results from: a. Wearing wet, damp, or unlaundered clothing (such as underwear or an athletic supporter) b. Sharing towels that are infected with jock itch fungus c. Infrequent showering, especially after exercising or perspiring heavily from work Risk factors for jock itch include: 1. Hot, humid conditions 2. Heavy perspiration 3. Obesity 4. Tight clothing 5. Re-wearing clothing, especially underwear or athletic supporters, before laundering 6. Changing underwear infrequently 7. Infrequent showering 8. Sharing towels or clothing with other people 9. Using public showers or locker rooms 10. Immune system disorders Jock itch causes a chafed, itchy, sometimes painful rash in the groin, upper inner thigh, or buttock. The rash is: >Usually red, tan, or brown >Usually defined clearly at the edges >Often slightly scaly

  5. Latina says:

    If your inner thigh rash is like an allergic reaction to something then you might need more of a cortisone product. you should go to the doctor and not let it go. its difficult to dry in this hot weather, but if you can wear non irritating clean cotton clothing, that is good. One should try a new detergent? try on clothes from a store that maybe could had given the rash? maybe even new toilet paper, (no fooling) non the less. see your doctor immediately.

  6. Maria says:

    I’m working on jock itch right now. Been going for almost 3 months. I’m pretty sure my case is a bit worse than average and indicative of a weak immune system as it’s spread to other areas so I’m really going for the gut literally. I’ve taken OTC medications earlier in my life but since then have given up on temporary fixes so I’m really treating this as a life style and overall health issue. Looking forward to using ayurvedic home remedies.

  7. Jack Stewart says:

    Most commonly people get tinea cruris from a fungal infection of their toenails. It usually happens when a person puts on underwear that touches their feet. So if a fungal infection of the nails is present, either that needs to be treated or socks need to be put on prior to putting on underwear so that a re-infection does not occur.

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