What Is Jock Itch ?
Jock itch is a skin infection caused by fungus which usually develops in the groin, buttocks and inner portions of the thighs. Tinea cruris, commonly called as Jock itch, may be observed as a group of rashes which may form a circular pattern in the affected area and is more common in males.
The fungi which cause jock itch are often normal flora, a group of fungi called dermatophytes which live on the skin without causing disease until immunity is reduced and therefore is not serious.
Jock Itch Symptoms
- Decoloration of skin, especially redness
- Itching in the affected area
- Dryness, cracking and scaling of affected skin
- Burning sensation
- Rashes which may form a circular pattern
- Change in skin color
- Gets worst with exercise or any activity
Jock Itch Causes And Risk Factors
Jock itch is caused by dermatophytes, fungi which live on the skin and under normal circumstances cause no harm. When skin hygiene is not maintained, longer exposure to moisture make dermatophytes grow beyond normal limits which can’t be controlled by the body’s immune system. This permits them to start an infection which starts of as red rashes.
A group of factors may make some people more likely to get jock itch than others. These include:
- Being Male – Jock itch is more common in males than females. Among males, it occurs more frequently in teenagers and young adults.
- Wearing Tight Underwear – warmth in the pubic areas facilitates fungal growth and fungal infections.
- Obesity – Dermatophytes can find favourable growth environments in folds or creases of skin. Obese people who have folds of skin are therefore more likely to get jock itch.
- Close Contact With Someone Who Has Jock Itch – jock itch is contagious and can spread from one person to the other.
- Poor Personal Hygiene – Poor skin hygiene reduces the skin’s ability to protect itself from disease causing organisms. Poor general hygiene also exposes the body to more harmful substances and disease-causing organisms.
- Sweating A Lot – Sweating provides a moist environment which is favourable for the overgrowth of the fungus which causes jock itch. People who sweat a lot, especially in the groin and inner thighs are more likely to contract jock itch.
- Athlete’s Foot – The same fungus causes both athlete’s foot and jock itch. If you have athlete’s foot, you can contract jock itch when your clothing, towel or other material gets into contact with the infected foot and then touches the groin, inner thigh or buttocks.
- Weakened Immune System – The immune system kills a lot of disease causing organisms and fights a lot of conditions and so we do not realise many diseases because they are prevented from occurring. Dermatophytes under normal circumstances do not cause infection until the immune system gets compromised and can no longer prevent their overgrowth. This results in jock itch.
- Sharing Personal Items – Dermatophytes may spread from one person to the other through shared personal items like towels and clothing and cause jock itch in previously unaffected persons.
Jock itch may be diagnosed by observing the nature of the rash including its shape and size, its location, its pattern. Doctor may take skin scrapings for testing which may rule out other skin conditions such as Psoriasis. Your doctor may also ask questions including but not limited to, when it started, how it started, and whether you have had it before.
- Avoid tight underwear to keep a moderate temperature which will prevent growth of fungus.
- Avoid close contact with someone who has jock itch. Jock itch is contagious and can spread from one person to the other.
- Maintain personal hygiene – Wash hands regularly and keep personal items like clothing clean.
- Take a shower regularly and keep your skin, especially in the groin or inner thigh areas moderately dry.
- Treat any other skin conditions you may have, especially athlete’s foot as the fungus which caused it can spread to favourable skin areas and cause jock itch.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle – Eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, exercise regularly, maintain adequate rest and manage your stress well. These are simple ways to boost your immune system so that it can fight off diseases and harmful substances or organisms.
- Avoid sharing personal items as jock itch is contagious and can easily spread form one person to the other.
Jock Itch Treatment
Jock itch may be treated by over-the-counter antifungal drugs at first. If it does not respond, an appointment with a doctor is necessary,
- Doctors may choose from several classes of drugs based on the severity of jock itch. These may include anti-fungal creams and anti-bacterial drugs in case of secondary bacterial infection. Other drugs may be prescribed to ease off itching and discomfort.
- The healing process can be facilitated by regular cleansing of the affected area with soap and water, wearing clean clothing, regular bathing and handwashing.
- Jock itch generally responds well to treatment and rarely results in complications if treated early.
- Doctor prescribes oral or topical antifungal medication if OTC medicines fail to treat the condition. Oral medication such as Fluconazole, Itraconazole or topical medication like econazole, oxiconazole might be prescribed by the doctor to treat the condition.
Jock Itch FAQS
What Is The Best Antifungal Cream For Jock Itch?
Different drugs may work differently for different people and other different conditions. There is usually no one drug that works for everybody. Furthermore, some people may be allergic to a given drug and may require an alternative.
The best drug for a given case of jock itch may be determined by your doctor depending on factors including severity, presence of other skin conditions or whether you are allergic to any anti-fungal drugs.
Is Hydrocortisone Cream Good For Jock Itch?
Hydrocortisone is a steroid and not an anti-fungal and may not work well unless it is prescribed by a doctor. Steroids may disrupt the body’s natural healing process and make jock itch worse, especially when used alone. It is not advisable to apply hydrocortisone cream on your own to treat jock itch.
Is Jock Itch A Sign Of A STD?
Jock itch is not an STD and is not necessarily a sign of STD. However, you can become infected through body contact during sexual activity with a partner who has jock itch. Additionally, conditions which weaken your immune system make it easier for you to get infections; therefore, having a condition like HIV may lead to jock itch.