What is Jock Itch?
Jock itch is a fungal infection that affects the skin of the upper thighs, buttocks, and groin area. Most commonly caused by the tinea cruris fungus (the same fungus responsible for ringworm and athlete’s foot), jock itch causes an itchy, red, uncomfortable rash that can quickly spread.
Diagnosing Jock Itch
Though usually self-diagnosed based on the appearance of the skin, occasionally examination and testing by a physician may be necessary. In those instances, either a culture or skin biopsy is taken to check for the fungus that causes jock itch.
Symptoms usually include:
- Circular, red, raised rash with elevated edges that may be blistered
- Itching and redness in your groin area, including your genitals, inner thighs, and buttocks
- Burning sensations in the affected areas
- Flaking, peeling or cracking of the skin in the affected areas
What Causes Jock Itch?
Jock itch is a common infection that thrives in warm, sweaty and moist areas. It is for this reason that it acquired its name as it was commonly associated with athletes who tend to sweat a lot thus making jock itch more probable. However it is an ailment that can affect anyone, including women.
Like thrush, the fungus that causes jock itch is naturally found on the skin, and it is only when the conditions are perfect (warm and moist) and when the immune system is low that the fungus gets out of control causing a fungal infection.
Jock itch is mildly contagious and can be spread from person to person via shared clothes, towels or through sexual intercourse. In addition, it is possible to give yourself jock itch via the spreading of your own athlete’s foot infection!
Help for Jock Itch
While jock itch is a bothersome and uncomfortable condition, it is usually not serious unless you have a severely suppressed immune system. Jock itch usually responds successfully to self-care, herbal and homeopathic remedies and over-the-counter antifungal creams and sprays.
If your rash persists for longer than two weeks, your doctor may prescribe a stronger antifungal cream. Keep in mind that many OTC drugs and prescription medications come with unwanted side-effects so be sure you examine all options and alternatives beforehand.
Jock itch, like all fungal infections, is often stubborn and persistent. Luckily, there are homeopathic and herbal remedies which are able to treat jock itch while soothing some of the distressing symptoms. Herbs such as Lemon grass, Calendula officinalis and Tabebuia impetiginosa are well known for their anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, and are extremely successful in soothing itchy, irritated and inflamed skin. Other soothing herbal ingredients which bring fast relief are Aloe ferox, Urtica urens, Witch hazel, and Tea Tree.
More Information on Jock Itch
- Practice good hygiene. Taking a shower or bath daily or straight after exercise will significantly reduce the chance of developing jock itch. In addition, wash hands regularly and immediately after touching another fungal infection, such as athlete’s foot.
- Keep your groin area dry. This means thoroughly drying genitals, inner thighs, and buttocks region after showering.
- Change your underwear at least once a day and again after lots of sweating. Make sure work-out clothes and sports gear (especially sports guards) are cleaned regularly.
- Avoid tight and scratchy clothes (especially underwear) and opt rather for loose- fitting and cool clothes that do not chafe. Cotton is also always better than synthetic fabrics, which lock in moisture.
- Treat athlete’s foot promptly before it has a chance to spread to other areas of the body.
- Avoid sharing items such as clothes and towels and make sure you clean exercise equipment before use.