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Jock Itch

Causes, Symptoms and Treatments for Tinea Infections (Bacterial or Fungal)

Jock itch (tinea cruris) is a fungal skin infection that can affect the skin around the groin and buttocks. You can experience jock itch on any area of the body. To treat jock itch, you can buy medications online. Begin by completing a free consultation that can be used repeatedly in the future.

What is jock itch?

Jock itch is a fungal infection that affects the area around the groin. The medical name for this condition is tinea cruris. However, it's commonly known as jock itch as it's prevalent among those who sweat a lot, such as athletes.

Jock itch affects the warm and moist areas of the body, as that's where the dermophytes (fungi) that cause the infection thrive and multiply.

This type of microscopic fungi also causes infections in other parts of the body, such as athlete's foot and ringworm. It grows naturally on skin, hair and nails, and is usually harmless until the fungi replicate, resulting in an infection.

Jock itch typically affects the skin on the genitals, groin, inner thighs and buttocks. It often presents as a red, itchy, ring-shaped rash.

Whilst uncomfortable and irritating, jock itch is not usually serious. It can usually be treated simply by administering topical antifungal medications (creams, ointments, powders etc.) and keeping the groin area clean and dry.

Jock itch can affect both men and women but is much more common in men. You are also more at risk of jock itch if you exercise regularly, sweat a lot, are overweight or have a weakened immune system.

What causes jock itch?

Jock itch is caused by fungi known as dermatophytes. Dermatophytes are mould-like fungi that are responsible for several common infections grouped as 'tinea' infections, including athlete's foot.

These dermatophytes occur naturally in the human body. However, when they multiply and grow too much it results in an infection.

The fungus that causes jock itch thrives in damp, hot environments. That is why the infection commonly occurs in the groin area of athletes.

The fungus is highly contagious and can be spread from person to person. It can also be spread through shared use of contaminated items such as towels or clothing.

If you have athlete's foot, or a fungal infection elsewhere on your body, and do not wash your hands or use separate towels, you could transport the infection to your groin and contract jock itch that way.

Jock itch is more common in:

  • Men
  • Young teens and adults
  • Those who wear tight underwear
  • Those who are overweight
  • Those who sweat heavily
  • Those with a weakened immune system or diabetes
  • Those who do not change out of sweaty clothes or shower after exercise

What are the symptoms of jock itch?

Jock itch is a fungal skin infection that typically affects the groin and inner thighs. In severe cases, it can spread to the abdomen or buttocks, but the scrotum is not usually affected.

The most common symptoms of jock itch are:

  • Skin reddening and other changes in skin colour
  • Persistent itching
  • Burning sensation
  • Flaking, peeling or cracking skin

Typically, the infection begins with an area of skin turning red. This then spreads out from the crease of the groin onto the upper thigh.

The skin becomes flaky and the border of the rash will be clearly defined. In some cases, it may consist of a line of small raised blisters.

The rash caused by jock itch can get worse with exercise or activity as this tends to aggravate the affected area. If your rash doesn't improve (or gets worse) when using hydrocortisone cream to stop the itching, it's very likely that you have jock itch.

However, some other skin conditions look like jock itch, for example psoriasis. So, if your initial over-the-counter treatment doesn't work you should ask your doctor for advice.

How to treat jock itch

It's best to try to prevent jock itch before the infection takes hold. These measures can help to both prevent and treat it:

  • Stay dry – Thoroughly dry your genital area and inner thighs with a clean towel. Avoid excess moisture by using powder around your groin.
  • Wear clean clothes – Clean and dry clothes prevent the spread of the infection. Change your underwear at least once a day and make sure to wash workout clothes after use.
  • Make sure your clothes fit – Tight-fitting clothes can rub and chafe your skin, so make sure your clothes fit properly. This particularly applies to underwear, athletic supporters and uniforms.
  • Don't share personal items – Coming into contact with contaminated items can cause jock itch, so do not share items such as towels or clothing.
  • Treat athlete's foot and other fungal infections – Having another type of fungal infection increases your chances of contracting jock itch. Treat infections quickly and efficiently to remove this risk.

These measures can help treat the initial infection, but it's likely that you'll need antifungal medication to get rid of jock itch completely.

Mild cases can use over-the-counter antifungal medicines. These are available as ointments, creams, powders or sprays. They usually get rid of the infection within one or two weeks.

Ensure you use any treatments as directed to clear the infection completely. Stopping a treatment before the course is complete can increase your risk of recurrence.

Topical creams are the most common type of treatment. They're typically used twice a day for two-four weeks to ensure they get rid of the infection. Some work faster than others, but most are effective.

When treating jock itch, do not use antifungal medication intended for those with athlete's foot. The infections may be similar, but athlete's foot medication may be too harsh for the groin and damage the skin further.

If you have athlete's foot and jock itch at the same time, treat both. This will reduce the risk of recurrence and spreading the infection.

See your doctor if your rash does not improve after two weeks of over-the-counter medication, or if it starts to ooze. The latter suggests a secondary bacterial infection for which you might need antibiotics.

If your jock itch infection returns after a few weeks, you should also see your doctor as this suggests you may need prescription-strength medication. (This can include antifungal creams, ointments or antifungal pills.)

Your doctor will usually be able to diagnose jock itch by looking at the rash. However, if the diagnosis is uncertain, they may take scrapings or samples from the affected area(s) and test them to determine a cause.

How to buy jock itch medications online

You can buy jock itch medication online to reduce the redness, itching and burning sensation this condition can cause. To do so, complete a free consultation to be approved by our partner doctor. This same consultation can be used for future reordering if needed. We offer free next-day delivery options across the UK.