Are you an athlete or sweat a lot? Then, you are susceptible to jock itch. It is an annoying problem affecting sports persons who tend to sweat a lot compared to others. The itchy and irritating rash can affect the thigh, buttock, and genital regions. The condition is also known as tinea cruris. It is the skin infection caused by fungus. The rash mostly affects men. But, women can also experience problems. Anyone can get the fungal infection. But, it is common among active people who sweat a lot while playing any sports. The condition is less severe compared to other Tinea infections. You need to ensure proper care and treatment to manage the skin problem swiftly. Ignoring the problem can result in the condition lasting for several weeks or months. Therefore, never ignore the skin problem and take prompt action to get relief.
Learning More About Jock Itch
Tinea cruris is the medical term for the annoying infection. The fungal infection can frustrate you. It is the infection that belongs to the group of infection caused by a fungus (tinea). The mold-like fungi can trigger the rash on your skin. The fungi known as dermatophytes are present on your skin, nails, and hair. In most cases, the fungi cause you no harm. But, the fungi can multiply at a fast rate and result in infection. The fungi thrive mostly in warm and moist areas. It is the reason why you can experience the rash forming in the skin around your groin region, buttocks or thighs. Mild infections can bother you a lot. The affected areas can become red, scaly or flaky. You become tempted to scratch the itch or experience burning sensation.
Tinea cruris is common among adolescent boys and men. But, it can also affect women. You need to remember that the itch can spread from one person to another. The contagious nature of skin infection makes the problem a serious one. It spreads from one part of the body to another or others through skin-to-skin contact. When someone touches the infected area and touches other skin surfaces, the fungus can cause infection. Treating it quickly minimizes the severity of the symptoms and prevents it from spreading. You can find relief by following some home remedies and by applying topical antifungal medications.
Symptoms Of Jock Itch
When the fungi infect your skin, you can experience the itching sensation. Usually, the condition begins with redness and itching of the affected skin. The area tends to enlarge in no specific pattern. You can see the rash appearing in a plaque-like pattern with raised borders. You can see tiny pimples or pustules in the border region. The rash has a reddish and scaly center. The signs in the affected area include:
- Persistent itching
- Burning sensation
- Cracking, peeling or flaking of skin
- The rash can feel worse after physical activity or exercise
The rash can become infected with a yeast organism. In such cases, the rash tends to appear moist and redder. In normal cases, the rash does not affect the groin region or inner thighs. But, it can spread to the buttocks or abdomen. Usually, fungal skin infection does not affect the scrotum. Women who suffer from the infection can suffer from vaginal yeast infection. It can result in the following signs:
- Itching in the vagina
- White, thick discharge (appears like cottage cheese)
The rash becomes more irritating with time and may, in severe cases, result in the breakdown of the skin. It makes you feel quite uncomfortable.
When you see the appearance of a red rash that causes itching in your genital or groin region, you need to see a doctor. The rash can become irritating as time passes. So, you need to manage the symptoms as early as possible. In severe cases, the infection can cause a breakdown of the skin. The condition can make you uncomfortable. So, you need to consult the doctor and follow some home or OTC remedies. But, you need medical intervention when you see the following signs:
- The rash changes its appearance or spreads to other areas
- The rash becomes increasingly uncomfortable
- You develop swelling or lumps in the affected regions
- The condition does not improve after two weeks of treatment
- The rash never goes away completely or recurs frequently even with proper prevention
Some severe cases of the rash need emergency medical attention. So, visit the hospital immediately when you see the following signs along with the rash:
- Swollen glands
- Lumps in the groin
- Rash spreading rapidly
- Open sores or ulcers
- Drainage of pus
- Difficulty urinating
- Rash in the vaginal or penis region
- Spreading of the rash to the trunk
Get medical help immediately as the signs indicate something serious.
Causes Of Jock Itch
A group of fungi causes skin infection. A fungus is a microscopic organism that flourishes in warm and damp environments. The plant-like organisms usually cause no harm. But, when they infect the skin, it results in the development of rashes. The mild yet annoying rashes can make you feel uncomfortable as it itches. These rashes are also referred to as tinea infections. Jock itch is one such type of tinea infection caused by dermatophytes. Dermatophytes are naturally present on your skin surface. It triggers no issues in normal cases. But, when you remain in sweat-drenched clothes after exercise or other physical activity for long periods, the moisture and warm environment leads to the abnormal fungi multiplication. The dermatophytes overgrowth causes skin infection in the groin region known as tinea cruris.
The fungus causing the skin infection can spread to other person or other parts of the body. It usually spreads when you come in close contact with the infected person. It can also spread through contact with unwashed clothes used by an infected person. The term jock itch may give an impression that only sportspersons (athletes) develop a skin infection. But, it is not the case as anyone can develop it. The fungus thrives in the areas of the skin, which are more prone to sweating (like folds of the skin). It is also triggered due to the prolonged exposure of moisture as well as the friction from the clothes.
Risk Factors Resulting In Jock Itch
While excess sweating can trigger the problem. Some people are more at risk of contracting skin infection compared to others. The fungi causing the skin infection thrives in a close and damp environment. So, the following factors can influence the development of tinea cruris.
The problem is more common among men or adolescent boys compared to women. If you are a teen or young adult, then you need to maintain good hygiene to avoid skin infection.
Wear Tight Underwear
Wearing tight underwear can increase sweating in the groin region. It provides an ideal environment for the fungi to flourish and cause skin infection.
Excess body weight can make you sweat and result in the skin condition.
If you tend to sweat heavily, then you have a high risk of developing a fungal skin infection. Some conditions can make people sweat more compared to others.
Weak Immune System
If you have a weak immune system due to underlying health condition, then you are at risk of developing such skin infections.
People with diabetes are prone to skin infections.
Jock Itch Diagnosis
When you suffer from the rash in the groin region, you can confuse it with other skin conditions. Tinea cruris occur due to fungal infection. But, other microorganisms can cause a skin rash that may resemble jock itch. The non-infectious rashes can irritate the skin. Some skin diseases can also have the appearance of tinea cruris. So, if you fail to get relief from the home remedies, then see your doctor. It is important to understand the type of skin problem you suffer to get the ideal treatment. The diagnosis methods try to eliminate the following skin problems with similar appearance
So, your doctor can diagnose the problem using the different diagnostic techniques like:
In the majority of the cases, your doctor can diagnose the skin infection by performing a thorough physical examination. During the assessment, your doctor inspects the affected area of the skin.
Wood’s Lamp Examination
Your doctor can also examine the affected skin with a Wood’s lamp. The black light is projected on the infected areas. The presence of the fungus can change the color of the skin under the light.
The symptoms of fungal infections can mimic the signs exhibited by viral or bacterial infections. Since the medication used to treat viral and bacterial infection may not show any effect on fungal infections, your doctor suggests the tests to conclude the presence of fungus. A swab sample of the infected area is tested in the lab to detect the presence of fungus.
Skin Scrapings Test
Also known as skin lesion KOH examination, the procedure can detect the cause of the abnormal lesion appearing on the surface of the skin. It mainly detects the fungal presence in the lesion. The skin scrapings are sent to the lab for testing. It is mixed with potassium hydroxide (KOH) and assessed under the microscope. Abnormal lesions leave behind fungal cells while normal cells are destroyed by KOH.
A sample of the blood is tested in the lab to check the complete blood count. It is also helpful in detecting severe fungal infections.
Based on the test results, your doctor can confirm the fungal infection as well as its severity. It is important to diagnose the problem precisely to get proper treatment.
Treating Jock Itch
The mild cases of fungal skin infection are easy to treat at home. But, for infections that do not go away with home treatment or the ones causing severe discomfort need medical intervention. So, based on the severity of the problem, you can try the following treatment options.
Home Treatment For Jock Itch
You can manage the tinea cruris easily at home. The following remedies are effective for mild cases of skin infection.
Keep Region Clean And Dry
People suffering from jock itch need to keep the affected clean and dry. So, wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and warm water. Dry the region. Follow the cleaning regime after working out or any physical activity.
Wear Loose Clothing
Tight-fitting clothes and undergarments can worsen the itching. So, wear loose clothing of natural fibers (like cotton) to prevent sweating and fungal growth.
Apply OTC Antifungal Medication
Several over-the-counter antifungal medications are available to offer relief from the symptoms of tinea cruris. OTC medication is available in different forms like powder, cream, or spray.
Try Home Remedies
You can try some effective home remedies to overcome the condition. Since the remedies use natural ingredients, it causes no side effects. You can try any of the home remedies suggested below to alleviate jock itch:
Apply Apple Cider Vinegar
ACV has antifungal properties. So, it can help you overcome the infection effectively. You need to mix ACV with water. Heat the mixture to a lukewarm temperature and apply the solution on the affected area. Wash it after five to ten minutes. You need to apply it for at least two to three times a day to see visible results.
You have to make a thick paste of baking soda with water and apply it on the infected area of your skin. Baking soda can balance the pH levels in the skin and make it impossible for the fungus to grow. It keeps the skin dry and helps to heal.
Aloe vera can cure most of the skin and hair problems. It has antiseptic properties and can deal with acidity. You can get the aloe vera juice from the aloe leaf and apply it on the infected skin. Remember to clean the affected area before applying the juice. You can leave the aloe vera juice on your skin. Applying the juice at least two to three times per day offers you relief from the itching and burning sensation.
Combination Of Garlic And Honey
Garlic is well-known for its antifungal properties while honey has soothing effects. Mix two medium-sized garlic with honey. You need to apply the solution on the infected area. Leave it for fifteen and twenty minutes. Rinse the skin and pat it dry. Applying the mixture two times a day can help you see results.
Mild cases of jock itch can alleviate with the home remedies suggested above. But, other cases need medical attention.
Medical Treatment For Jock Itch
If the home treatment shows no improvement in your symptoms after two weeks, then you need to see a doctor. It is possible to develop a secondary infection, which requires immediate treatment. People who have a fungal skin infection that does not respond to over-the-counter medication also need to see a doctor. In some cases, tinea cruris requires something stronger. Therefore, your doctor can suggest the following medications.
Your doctor can suggest topical medications to heal fungal skin infection. Topical medications like econazole oxiconazole are prescribed to manage the condition.
Your doctor can prescribe oral antifungal medications to get relief from the symptoms of annoying skin infection. So, the doctor prescribes the following:
Oral antifungal medications can have some unpleasant side effects. So, you need to discuss it with your doctor.
Preventing Jock Itch
You can prevent annoying and embarrassing skin infection from affecting your life. It is important to follow some pointers suggested below to keep the skin rash at bay.
It is essential to practice good hygiene to prevent the different skin problem from affecting you. Good hygiene is also the best defense against tinea cruris. You need to wash your hands regularly to avoid skin infection. Your hands can come in contact with an infected person. In such cases, the fungi can spread from your hands and infect any other body part. So, keep your hands clean. Also, wash and keep the skin clean around the groin region.
Keep Skin Dry
Since the groin region is more susceptible to the attack from the fungus, you need to wash the area with soap and dry it. You need to apply powder (baby powder or cornstarch) to absorb the moisture and keep the region dry. It will prevent the fungus from infecting.
Avoid Tight Fitting Clothes
Tight-fitting clothes can increase the risk of skin infections. The tight clothes can restrict your blood circulation, leading to sweating. It can rub or chafe your skin. So, you can become vulnerable to itching rash. It is true for tight undergarments as the genital region becomes susceptible to the fungal infection. So, wear boxer shorts instead of boxer briefs to avoid such problems.
Wear loose clothes of natural fibers in hot and humid weather. It helps better air circulation and keeps the sweat away. Wearing such clothes can prevent sweat, which causes a warm, moist environment that helps in the growth of fungus.
Wash Athletic Supporters
An athletic supporter also called as a jockstrap or cup supporter is the undergarment used by the men athletes. It protects the penis and testes during contact sports, cycling or other vigorous physical activity. You need to wash your athletic supporters and workout clothes after each session. Washing clothes can prevent the growth of fungus.
Manage Other Infections
In some cases, people can contract the skin rash due to Athlete’s foot. It is the infection caused by the same fungi that trigger jock itch. So, if you suffer from Athlete’s foot, then make sure you get treatment for it swiftly. It will prevent spreading of the fungus to the groin area. Also, avoid using the same towel you use to wipe your feet for the groin region.
Jock itch is not a serious condition leading to a severe health complication. But, it is a persistent and annoying problem with high chances of recurrence. So, even if the skin problem causes you no long-term damage, it can result in severe discomfort and embarrassment. The severe itching sensation can make your social life hell. Therefore, it is essential to take proper preventive measures. You can manage the condition easily at home with simple and effective home remedies. The home remedies are easy to access and have no side-effects. So, you can use the products available in the kitchen and get relief. But, some people need medical care to manage the problem. In such cases, get medical assistance when home remedies fail to show results. You need to follow the doctor’s orders to prevent the symptoms from worsening. It will also avoid recurrence of the problem.
[expand title=”View Article Sources“]