What is jock itch and what causes it?
Jock itch is a rash on your groin. The groin is the area between your abdomen and legs. Jock itch is usually easy to treat and prevent. It is caused by a fungus. The fungus also causes athlete's foot.
What increases my risk of jock itch?
- Contact: The most common cause of jock itch is contact with something that has the fungus. For example, you touch another person's skin or clothes when you play contact sports. Jock itch is also easily spread among people who live close together, such as in a college dorm. You can also spread the fungus to your groin from your feet if you have athlete's foot.
- Moisture: The fungus that causes jock itch multiplies quickly in warm, moist areas. The fungus can grow in the sweat collected in the folds of your skin. You can get jock itch when your clothes are wet or too tight. For example, you wear tight pants or leave a wet bathing suit on. You can get jock itch if you are in a warm and humid climate.
- Medical conditions: You are at a higher risk of jock itch if you are overweight. It may be hard to prevent jock itch if you have a weak immune system. Diabetes (high blood sugar) can also put you at risk of jock itch.
- Gender: You are more likely to get jock itch if you are male.
What are the signs and symptoms of jock itch?
Jock itch is a reddish-brown rash with round lesions that can spread from your groin to your thighs and buttocks. You may see a red ring with raised edges. You may see flakes of skin on the rash. The rash may burn, itch, or be painful.
How is jock itch diagnosed?
Your caregiver will ask about your signs and symptoms and examine you. He may ask if you have any medical conditions, such as diabetes. Your caregiver may ask if you play sports. He may ask if you wear tight clothes or leave wet clothes on for long periods. He will check your groin and your feet for a rash. You may also need the following test:
- Microscopy: Your caregiver may gently scrape off some of your skin with a special tool. An exam of the skin rash can help your caregiver diagnose jock itch.
How is jock itch treated?
- Fungus medicine: Jock itch is usually treated with a cream that kills the fungus. Apply the cream to the rash and the skin around it as directed. You may need to apply the cream 1 to 2 times each day for 2 weeks. You may be given this medicine as a pill if the cream does not help.
- Take your medicine as directed: Call your caregiver if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are taking any vitamins, herbs, or other medicines. Keep a list of the medicines you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits.
What are the risks of jock itch?
You may get a headache or rash somewhere else on your body from the medicine used to treat jock itch . The medicines may cause stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Without treatment, your jock itch could become severe. You might have to take more than one kind of medicine to treat a severe rash. You may get jock itch again, even after treatment.
What can I do to manage and prevent jock itch?
- Keep the area dry.
- Wear light, loose clothes. Do not share clothes.
- Do not wear wet clothes for long periods. Wash athletic gear after you play sports.
- Bathe daily. Dry your skin completely after you bathe. Apply cream or powder after you bathe as directed if you get jock itch often. Wash your hands often to prevent the spread of the fungus. You may want to wear disposable gloves when you clean your feet. The gloves will keep the fungus from moving from your feet to your hands.
- Use separate towels to dry each part of your body. Put your socks on before you put on your underwear so you do not spread the fungus from your feet to your groin.
- Lose weight if you are overweight.
When should I contact my caregiver?
Contact your caregiver if:
- Your signs and symptoms do not get better within 2 weeks of treatment.
- Your signs and symptoms get worse or come back after treatment.
- You get a rash on a part of your body other than your groin.
- You have a fever.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.