What is Jock Itch?
Jock itch (Tinea cruris) is very common fungal infection associated with groin rash. It is a form of ringworm. As ringworm are not a worm in general. It is a fungal infection as fungus are present everywhere in our environment and when found favourable conditions i.e moisture and warmth, it will multiply rapidly and caused jock itch in the outer layer of skin, nails and hair. It is said that roughly half of the jock itch is due to fungus while remaining will due to other factors such as by bacterial overgrowth, moisture and irritation on skin. It can produce a very intense red and pink rash and burning sensation in the groin folds and genitals. Skin rash with patches can spread very quickly. It is equally common in men and women worldwide but males effects primarily more than females just because of anatomic unique structures to males, the male genitalia. Older adults and athletes faces jock itch very commonly. Sometimes people faces both jock itch (tinea cruris) and athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) at the same time.
Jock itch is curable disease and not considered as serious health condition. Quick and right treatment minimize the symptoms and slow down the infection from spreading. By keeping groin, inner thighs and buttocks area dry and clean and apply antifungal gel or cream is sufficient treatment of jock itch.
Some major factors which cause jock itch include the following;
- Tight clothing
- Heat exposure
- Damp skin folds due to obesity or excessive sweating
Causes of Jock Itch
Naturally fungi lives on our skin which cause jock itch without causing any issue most of the time. But when it found the suitable and favourable condition of growth and infection it starts to multiply quickly such as when someone is remain in his/her sweat soaked clothes after exercise and workout, the prolonged exposure to moisture and friction from clothes can allow the conditions to grow the fungi quickly and fastly. When overgrowth of fungi in groin area starts, it will cause the jock itch infection.
The false impression is highly generate in our society, is that only athletes develop this jock itch infection. It is in fact not true, basically this is related to infections from microorganisms and many other environmental factors like moisture,warmth and humidity so every one has equal chance to come across with this infection but no doubts athletes are at high risk just due to they sweat more and for longer period of time. Those people who are obese are more likely to experience jock itch because fungus can thrive in skin folds. Although wearing tight clothing also a main factor which cause jock itch.
Symptoms of Jock Itch
As jock itch is generally affects the inner thigh and groin areas. Some most common signs and symptoms are include;
- Burning sensation in groin area
- Redness in a skin fold especially in groin area
- Skin cracking, peeling and flaking in groin area
- Infection area enlarged with no particular pattern
- Persistent itching and pain
- Develop pus bumps
- Skin colour changes
- Worsen rash appears with sharp borders
- Feeling uncomfortable
- Fever and weakness
- Difficulty in urination
Treatment For Jock Itch
The Jock itch (Tinea Cruris) fungus is highly contagious. It easily spread by intimate skin-to-skin contact or with objects and also by touching and wearing unwashed clothing of infected person. Self care is very important factor of any skin infection. Always keep your skin area dry and clean, wearing loose out fits that may help to reduce friction from clothes, avoid humidity and moisture. Use an over the counter antifungal cream, ointment, liquid spray or even powder that contains tolnaftate, miconazole and clotrimazole. If jock itch not respond to these medication some times your health care provider suggest you some stong medicines like;
- Oral medications like fluconazole (Diflucan), terbinafine (Lamisil) or itraconazole (sporanox)
- Topical medications like oxiconazole (Oxixtat) and econazole.
Oral antifungal medicines have greater risk of unpleasant and unavoidable side effects like affected liver function, headache and most commonly stomach upset. If you observe these side effects and they persist for long time, must consult to your doctor for advise.
When To See The Doctor
When ever you notice any irritation and redness especially in your groin area and any other body parts, you should consult with your doctor. Jock itch can easily be diagnosed through physically visual inspection and it takes almost two weeks with medication and self-care for improvement. But if the infection doesn’t respond to medication and other treatment such as;
- Rash spreads and changing skin colour and appearance.
- Become increasingly uncomfortable.
- Feeling of swelling of infected area.
- Development of any lumps.
- Doesn’t improve after 2 weeks with treatment.
- Not completely go away and come again frequently with proper prevention
Then your consultant may decide to take skin scraping for a culture and biopsy. This will help in to rule out any secondary infection or another skin disorder like psoriasis.
Tinea cruris is a preventable condition. Prevention involves;
- Firstly keep your skin clean and dry especially after sweating and bathing.
- Adopt and maintain the good hygiene practices.
- Wash your groin area particularly with antibacterial and medicated soap and dry the area gently and throughly after washing.
- Wearing loose-fitting clothing and avoid tight fittings because Tinea cruris thrives in moisture.
- Only wear moisture wicking undergarments which have ability to absorb sweat and reduce the likelihood of fungus growth.
- Apply powders, cornstarch and also antifungal powder like Cruex and Desenex in skin folds.
- Don’t use towel of another person. Only use your own personal towel because it also spread from contaminated towels.
- Control any athlete foot infection to prevent its spread to the groin area.
Some people are at high risk of jock itch infection if they are;
- A man especially athlete’s although women can also get this infection
- Wear tight fittings especially underwear
- Overweight and obese
- Excessive sweating
- Weakened immune system
- Have any other skin diseases
- Inherited skin diseases like itchy and inflamed skin
- Heavy exposure to moisture and humidity
- Athlete’s foot infection or other fungal infections
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