Jock itch or Tinea cruris: Causes, Symtoms, Treatment and Prevention

 Definition

Jock itch is a common, itchy rash of the groin. It can produce a very intense itch and is associated with a red or pink rash involving the groin folds and genitals. Jock itch is primarily a skin condition in men because of anatomic structures unique to males, the male genitalia.

Jock itch

The symptoms and signs of jock itch may come and go, and many cases of jock itch resolve spontaneously without any treatment. Jock itch is primarily seen in the groin, although it may spread to the inner thighs, genitals (including penis, scrotum, labia, and vaginal opening), and anus. Jock itch causes a red or pink rash on the sides of the groin folds. There may be a dry, scaly, well-demarcated rash or a collection of small, pinpoint red or pink bumps at each hair follicle. This form of eruption is often called ringworm because of its well-defined red edge with central clearing. The medical term for ringworm of the groin is Tinea cruris, and it is caused by a fungal infection.

Epidemiology

International

Tinea cruris has a worldwide distribution but is found more commonly in hot humid climates.

Sex

Tinea cruris is 3 times more common in men than in women.

Age

Adults are affected by tinea cruris much more commonly than are children. However, the prevalence of several risk factors for tinea cruris, such as obesity and diabetes mellitus, is rapidly increasing among adolescents.

Risk factors

People with increased risk for jock itch are those who often spend a lot of time sweating due to exercise or their weight.

Other risk factors for developing jock itch include the following:

Gender: Men are more likely than women to develop jock itch

Weight: Overweight people have more skin folds, which are the best climate for fungal infections including jock itch to occur

Sweating profusely: If a person sweats a lot, their skin is more suited for fungus to grow

Age: Teenagers are more likely to develop jock itch

Wearing tight clothing and underwear: Tight fabrics trap moisture against skin and create a prime environment for fungus to grow

Having a weak immune system: People with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop fungal infections like jock itch than others

Having diabetes: People with diabetes are more prone to skin infections including jock itch

Causes

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 the 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. As a preventive measure, it’s important to wash with soap and water in your groin and armpit areas daily. Jock itch may also be triggered by prolonged exposure to moisture and friction from clothes.

Symptoms

Common symptoms of jock itch include:

  • Redness in the affected area
  • Persistent itching in the affected area
  • Burning sensation in the affected area
  • Flaking, peeling, or cracking skin in the affected area
  • A rash that gets worse with exercise or activity
  • Changes in skin color
  • A rash that doesn’t improve or even worsens or spreads with over-the-counter hydrocortisone (anti-itch) cream
  • Jock itch typically affects the groin and inner thighs. It may spread to the abdomen and buttocks, but the scrotum usually isn’t affected.

Jock itch in groin

Complications

  • Complications are infrequent since jock itch is usually a self-limited skin condition. Rarely, the rash may spread past the groin onto the thighs and genitals.
  • Secondary skin infections from scratching or rubbing may uncommonly deepen causing cellulitis or abscess formation.
  • Another potential complication includes temporary skin discoloration called post-inflammatory hypopigmentation (lighter than the regular skin color) or hyperpigmentation (darker then the regular skin color). This altered skin color may occur after the rash has improved or after a temporary flare.
  • Permanent scarring is uncommon.

Diagnosis and test

In many cases, your doctor can diagnose jock itch simply by looking at the rash. If the diagnosis isn’t clear cut, your doctor may take skin scrapings or samples from the infected area and view them under a microscope. To rule out other conditions, your doctor might send a sample of the rash to a lab. This test is known as a culture.

Treatment and medications

In most cases, jock itch can be treated at home effectively. You can try the following remedies to get rid of the infection:

  • Apply an over-the-counter antifungal cream, powder, or spray to the affected area.
  • Wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and warm water.
  • Dry the affected area thoroughly after bathing and exercise.
  • Change clothes and undergarments every day.
  • Wear loose cotton clothing.
  • Treat any other fungal infections, such as athlete’s foot.

Medications:

If you do have jock itch, but it’s not responding to over-the-counter medications and home remedies, your doctor may prescribe something stronger. Possible medications include:

  • Econazole, which is a topical medication
  • Oxiconazole (Oxistat), which is a topical medication
  • Itraconazole (Sporanox), which is an oral medication
  • Fluconazole (Diflucan), which is an oral medication

Oral antifungal medications may cause unpleasant side effects, such as upset stomach and headaches. If you experience any of these side effects, make sure to discuss them with your doctor.

Spreading the infection

Jock itch is very contagious so do be aware of others while you are infected. It’s best not to share clothes, towels or bed sheets that way you avoid spreading your infection to those close to you. Also, it’s best to use different towels for your groin and the rest of your body and remember to always wash your hands after applying any treatment. Doing so will help prevent your infection spreading to other parts of your body

Prevention

Jock itch has a tendency to keep coming back, much like athlete’s foot and related fungal infections. Preventing jock itch in the first place with some easy changes can help to keep it at bay.

To reduce the risk of jock itch, following these tips can help:

  • Keeping the body clean.
  • Staying dry. Moisture creates an ideal environment for fungal infections to occur. Drying the inner thighs and groin area after showering is key.
  • Using powder to help absorb moisture after exercising.
  • Avoiding tight-fitting clothing and underwear. Tight clothing and underwear trap moisture next to the skin. Men should choose loose boxers over briefs when possible.
  • Changing underwear daily.
  • Avoiding sharing clothing and towels with others. An infection can spread easily across the infected surfaces.
  • Cleaning exercise equipment before use. The fungus behind jock itch can survive on hard surfaces easily.
  • Wearing sandals in public showers or at the pool to avoid making contact with infected surfaces.

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43 comments

  1. how should i get rid of itching and itchy feel

  2. is it contiguous

  3. very thorough explanation. suggest brand names of ointments

  4. I have been suffering from jock itch for years but it disappear during cold weather and comes in hot seasons, now how can I get rid of it?

    • Keep your groin area clean and dry. Primarily apply anti fungal powder to reduce itching during hot seasons. to get rid of this jock itch follow medications which is mentioned in medication section in the post. consult doctor to take medicines based on your severity of infection.

  5. Please can i use dustin powder to keep the groin dry?Can i use Miconazole Nitrate or Tioconazole creams for the jock itch?

  6. your works is comprehensive l love it.

  7. its good advice to those affected. which disease is affecting the annul part and sometimes causes bleeding, itching and discomfort. how can it be prevented.

    • The symptoms you are experiencing are resembling to hemorrhoids symptoms. Consult with a doctor as soon as possible to escape from serious effects in future.

  8. Please doctor, can u tell me d difference between jork inching and warts infection. Thank you

    • Warts are non-cancerous skin growths caused by a viral infection in the top layer of the skin. Viruses that cause warts are called human papilloma virus (HPV). Warts are usually skin-colored and feel rough to the touch, but they can be dark, flat and smooth. The appearance of a wart depends on where it is growing.
      Jock itch (tinea cruris) is a fungal infection that affects the skin of your genitals, inner thighs and buttocks. Jock itch causes an itchy, red, often ring-shaped rash in these warm, moist areas of your body.

  9. hi i have problem with my penis .its itching .redness and swallowing.for it i used anti fungal cream and wash ed on daily basis with warm water.but still i have problem,its itching al time ,which medicine you suggest pls advise me.

  10. I have problems with it, and sometimes I it brings out odour which I don’t like, can you help please, kindly advise me, I don’t like this. thank you. God bless

  11. what medication should be used for the hyperpigmented skin by jock itch on the buttoks.

    • This is typically genetic or due to overuse in the area. Sometimes peels and topical hydroxy acids creams. I suggest a formal consultation with a cosmetic dermatologist.

  12. I get cured from this but black mark is still staying

    • take only 3 doses of Calcarea carb 200 as follows. and show me result after 7 days
      Day 1 morning – 1st dose
      Day 2 evening – 2nd dose
      Day 3 morning- 3rd dose
      if u got on globules form don’t touch globules take in the cap of a bottle
      if u got liquid drops take 2 drops in 20ml water sip slowly.

  13. good. am grateful

  14. thank you many times over it can now receive a clear explained treatment and prevention before I go see a MD

  15. Hebburn Chitambo

    it started me when I was 20yrs,am now over 40,kindly advice.

  16. Had sex with older female woke up with a std its looks like cottadge cheese build up on the head and has ordor went to md’s but never been cleared up someone help me on this.

  17. How can i use the drugs prescribe?and what exactly is the right drug.thank you doctor please reply me as fast as you can becausei would be glad to get rid of this

  18. I have a about six months old ringworm which medicine suitable for me in how much dose form and how many days PL inform

  19. ringworm medicine

  20. Rocklyn Bilson

    pls am hving a frequent rash like an eczema form,treated with all type of topical creams but still.please want to know it cause and wat to do .

  21. my own problem is, I have itchy beside and under my penis but the doctor said I should use sparfloxacin tab 200 mg for 10day. yet I
    still filling the itching but I used fulcin tab and neoskin cream and I see changes, please what can I use to overcome it sir. thanks

  22. please,where can I get the powder or the drugs

  23. i have rush on my penis cap .which drug can i use to get rid of them.its more than a year now

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