Definition

What is jock itch?

Jock itch (tinea cruris) is one of the many skin infections – when a bacteria or fungi cause infection on the skin and nails. This type of fungi lives in the dead, horny layer of the skin and cause a rash with patches that may be red or peeling or that have bumps on the edges that look like blisters.

How common is jock itch?

This condition is extremely common worldwide. It can cause a small epidemic in a closed population such as locker room or bathhouses, where the environment is warm and humid with poor hygiene.

It can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Symptoms

What are the symptoms of jock itch?

People with jock itch develop itchy red patches on moist areas such as the inner thighs and sometimes quickly spread toward the buttocks or around the anus. It happens primarily at the skin folds such as the groin and scrotum, where often steamy and unhygienic from workout clothes or dirty underwear. However, it is not often seen on the penis or vulva or around the anus.

Patients with jock itch often just have one rash or the edges of the rashes may merge to form large patches.

The characteristics of the rash are:

  • The appearance is similar to ringworm (tinea corporis);
  • Dry scratched scaly surface;
  • Persistent velvet, very itchy plaques;
  • Very distinct edge;
  • The center of the rash may have a red-brown color;
  • Bumps like a blister.

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.

Causes

What causes jock itch?

Possible causes include irritation from tight or abrasive underwear, excess moisture, sweating, skin rubbing or friction, allergic problems, fungal infection, Candida (yeast) infection, and bacterial overgrowth.

The most common source of this infection is the person’s own skin infection that spreads by scratching the infected skin. The use of an infected towel or intimate contact with an infected person can also transmit the fungi.

Common fungi that cause jock itch include E. Floccosum and T. rubrum. Tinea cruris fungus secretes an enzyme called keratinase, which digest keratin. Since keratin is the primary structural protein of skin (hair and nail), the digestion of keratin manifests as a scaling of the skin.

People taking broad-spectrum antibiotics, those with weakened immune systems, or those who have diabetes are at risk to develop the rash.

Occasionally, bacteria can cause jock itch. Bacterial jock itch can be easily diagnosed because the affected skin glows a coral red color when illuminated by a black light.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for jock itch?

The risk factors of jock itch often comes from normal objects which are hard for you to concern, including:

  • Moist towel, shoes;
  • Dirty, unwashed clothes;
  • Wet floor;
  • Steamy room;
  • Having fungi infection elsewhere on the body.

While jock itch is frequently noted in otherwise healthy people, those with diabetes and/or obesity are more susceptible.

Diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

 

How is jock itch diagnosed?

Most primary-care physicians can accurately diagnose jock itch by performing a physical exam and inspecting the affected area of skin. In some cases, a few other medical conditions may look just like jock itch and should be examined more closely by a dermatologist by scrapings of skin cells from the area to rule out other conditions.

How is jock itch treated?

Jock itch is usually treated with topical antifungal agents. Sometimes, hydrocortisone is added for faster relief of itch. Topical steroids should not be used on their own. Treatment is usually applied once or twice per day for  three to four weeks.

If the treatment is unsuccessful, oral antifungal medicines may be considered, including terbinafine and itraconazole.

During treatment, avoid tight-fitting clothes.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage jock itch?

Jock itch quite often recurs after apparently successful treatment. To reduce the chance of reinfection, the following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with this health condition:

  • Treat the feet if tinea pedis is present.
  • Dry the groin carefully after bathing using a separate towel.
  • Do not share towels, sheets or personal clothing.
  • Avoid wearing occlusive or synthetic clothing.
  • If you are overweight, try to lose weight to reduce chafing and sweating.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: January 4, 2017 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017

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