Jock itch, or tinea cruris, is a common fungal infection that affects the groin area of men. Women rarely contract jock itch.
Symptoms of Jock Itch
- Itchy, scaly, red patches on the genitals, groin, buttocksand inner thighs
- Pus-filled blisters
- Sweaty and burning sensation within the groin area
What Causes Jock Itch?
Moisture is the critical factor with jock itch because it allows fungi to thrive. Since people wear clothing for most of the day, the groin is usually moist and dark, creating a perfect breeding ground for the microscopic fungi that live on the skin to multiply and cause trouble. People who exercise regularly and wear an athletic supporter (jock strap) are susceptible to jock itch if they don’t bathe after exercise or don’t wash the undergarments they wear for exercise before working out again.
Jock itch may also develop on people who perspire heavily, or when overweight individuals walk and their thighs rub against each other.
What If You Do Nothing?
If jock itch isn’t treated, the infection tends to become chronic and can quickly spread to the buttocks and trunk.
Home Remedies for Jock Itch
- Daily cleansing. Use plain water and clean the area daily. To avoid irritation, do not put soap on the rash.
- Use antifungal cream. Twice daily, apply a light layer of an antifungal compound (such as clotrimazole), available without a prescription in any pharmacy. You should see results in three to five days. Continue to use the medication an additional one to two weeks after the rash has cleared up to make sure the fungus doesn’t return.
- If you have recurrent bouts of jock itch, use the medication for several weeks after the rash has disappeared.
- Change your clothes, including underwear, daily.
- Treat other fungal infections, such as athlete's foot and ringworm.
- Stress dryness. Use cornstarch-free powder after bathing to keep the groin region dry. (Cornstarch can encourage fungus growth.)
- Stress cleanliness. Wear clean workout gear every time you exercise.
- Lose weight. If jock itch is caused by your inner thighs rubbing against each other, begin a program of regular exercise to reduce your weight and therefore the size of your thighs.
- Eat a healthy diet. Vegetables, fruits and other foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids help prevent free radicals and strengthen the cardiovascular and immune systems. Avoid sodas and fast food.
- Take a bath or shower everyday. Bathe or shower after physical activity.
- Avoid sharing towels.
Beyond Home Remedies: When To Call Your Doctor
Contact your physician if there is no improvement within a week after trying the self-help measures outlined above.
What Your Doctor Will Do
After taking a careful case history, your physician will scrape off scales or pustules and examine them under a microscope. A more careful hygienic regimen and/or a powerful oral antifungal medication may be recommended.
The Complete Home Wellness Handbook
John Edward Swartzberg, M.D., F.A.C.P., Sheldon Margen, M.D., and the editors of the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter
Updated by Remedy Health Media