What Causes Jock Itch and How You Can Prevent It

November 12, 2012

What Causes Jock Itch and How You Can Prevent It

Jock itch is the result of fungus growing on the toes and other warm, moist areas of the body but can be prevented and treated with topical ointments and creams.

A fungal skin infection in the groin region is known as jock itch, which is also called tinea cruris. The reason it can thrive in this region is that it’s a warm, moist environment, perfect for fungus to grow in. Anything that boosts this kind of environment will place a person at risk for suffering with jock itch. Thus, wearing wet, sweaty clothes during the summer or several pieces of clothing during the wintertime will boost your chances of developing jock itch. And, guess what? Men are sufferers of jock itch, more so than women!

The Fungus That Causes Jock Itch

Jock itch Trichophyton rubrum is the commonly the reason for the condition. It’s also the result of toe and body fungal infections. When looked at under a microscope, the fungus looks like branching, translucent, rod-shaped filaments, which are also known as hyphae. The width of it is unchanging, which differentiates it from hair.

Now, jock itch will typically begin in the groin fold, typically on both sides. Should the rash get larger, it will make its way to the inner thigh. The newer part is usually redder and has raised areas compared to the already established jock itch. It’s also very scaly and well defined. The skin nearby will turn a brownish-red colors and lose a good deal of the scale. Now, jock itch will not infect the penis or scrotum. If these areas are infected, it’s mostly likely the fungus Candida albicans, which is what causes the vaginal yeast infection.

Jock Itch vs. Rashes

Now, there are some groin rashes that look like and produce symptoms similar to the jock itch. These are:

Intertrigo – This is a macerated, red rash that a fungus causes. It’s usually seen in obese patients, because the moist skin is rubbing against one another. Fissures tend to be the result, which are extremely painful.

Erythrasma – This is a bacterial infection, affecting the groin and the thigh. It’s flat and has more of a brown color instead of a red. There are no blisters or scales.

How Is Jock Itch Diagnosed

A doctor will diagnose jock itch by looking for hyphae under a microscope called the KOH test. Using a scalpel, the skin is scraped off into a glass slide. Several drops of Potassium hydroxide is added to the slide, which is then heated for a minute amount of time.

The Treatment For Jock Itch

Jock itch is usually treated with ointments or topical creams, which you can purchase over the counter or get by prescription. Three common jock itch medications you can purchase in the store are:

  • Lotrimin

  • Micatin

  • Tinactin

These will need to be applied two times a day for 14 days. It’s not uncommon for treatment to take up to four weeks. If your rash is extremely itchy and red, you can use hydrocortisone. Never use steroids by itself on your groin.

Four Ways To Prevent Jock Itch

If you don’t want to suffer with jock itch, there are four things you can do:

  1. Wear loose cotton or synthetic material clothing

  2. Don’t share your clothing, washcloth or towels

  3. Use antifungal sprays or powders one time a day

  4. Allow the groin area to completely dry after you shower

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