Jock Itch

What is jock itch?

Jock itch is a rash caused by a fungus that has infected your inner thighs and groin. Other names for this rash are ringworm of the crotch or tinea cruris. Despite its name, this rash is not caused by a worm.

What is the cause?

Jock itch is often caused by the same fungus that causes athlete’s foot. The fungus that causes athlete’s foot is commonly picked up from the floors of showers, locker rooms, and exercise facilities. A towel used first to dry the feet and then the groin area can spread the fungus. Jock itch is much more common in men than women.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms may include:

  • Itching of the groin or crotch, anal area, or inner thigh
  • Slightly raised, dry or scaly rash in the groin area or on the inner thigh, often red or brownish red, with sharp borders

How is it diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms and medical history and examine you. In some cases, your provider may scrape a few skin cells from the edge of the rash to test for infection.

How is it treated?

Your healthcare provider may recommend putting a nonprescription antifungal powder or spray on the rash. For severe or long-term infection, you may need prescription medicine from your healthcare provider. You may need to take antifungal medicine by mouth. Your provider may also prescribe medicine to put on your skin.

Sometimes the area of skin with jock itch can also be infected with bacteria. This is more likely to happen if you scratch the rash. If you have a bacterial infection, your healthcare provider may prescribe antibiotics.

With treatment, the symptoms will get better in 2 or 3 days. The rash should go away in 3 to 4 weeks.

How can I take care of myself?

Follow the full course of treatment prescribed by your healthcare provider.

  • Keep your skin clean and dry.
  • Avoid chafing or rubbing the skin. Wear loosely fitting clothing.
  • Try not to scratch the rash. This could slow its healing.

Ask your healthcare provider:

  • How long it will take to recover
  • If there are activities you should avoid and when you can return to your normal activities
  • How to take care of yourself at home
  • What symptoms or problems you should watch for and what to do if you have them

Make sure you know when you should come back for a checkup.

How can I help prevent jock itch?

  • Keep your groin area dry. Apply talc or other powder to the groin area after you dry yourself.
  • If you tend to have athlete’s foot, avoid drying the rest of your body with towels you have used to dry your feet.
  • Wear loosely fitting clothes made of natural fibers, such as cotton. Avoid wearing tight-fitting and synthetic clothing that causes skin to sweat and doesn’t allow moisture to evaporate.
  • Avoid wearing rough-textured clothing that can irritate your skin. Men can wear boxer shorts. Change underwear at least once a day, or more often if you sweat.
  • If you get hot and sweaty, bathe or shower and change clothes as soon as you can.
  • Wash your workout clothes after each use. Storing them in a locker or gym bag without washing between uses can help fungus to grow.
Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-07-28
Last reviewed: 2014-07-10
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.

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