Jock itch is an itchy rash affecting the groin area, inner thighs and the adjacent skin. In medical terms, this condition is known as intertrigo. Although the name says jock itch, this condition can also be observed in areas, where there is overlapping of skin, like the area under the breast. Given that, people with obesity tend to suffer more from it, because of the overlapping of skin in different areas. Jock itch is contagious and is often passed on to others in gyms or sports areas or in swimming pool showers.
How to Deal With Jock Itch
» After a workout take a shower and use antibacterial soap. Pat yourself dry so that you do not create conducive conditions for fungus growth. If you use gym showers or swimming pool showers, always make sure you have slippers on, as these are fungus breeding ground. Be careful that you clean your feet well before you put in your underwear and clothes because the fungus can be transmitted to your genital area from your feet. To prevent it, remember to keep the labia and vaginal area completely dry. Do not scratch as scratching increases the chances of fungal infection spreading to other areas.
» Wash the genital and groin area at least a 2 to 3 days in a day. After washing the area, make sure you have dried the area well. As far as possible keep the groin area dry. Avoid scratching the area, as scratching will spread the infection further.
» Use cotton underwear and if possible use cotton clothing only. Cotton allows the skin to breathe and heat is not trapped inside. Fabrics, like, nylons, synthetics and spandex better be avoided. It is advisable to change your undergarments at least twice a day to avoid any sweat buildup. At work you can carry mini-pads and change them often to avoid any sweat buildup. If and when possible, wash clothes in warm water. Bleach can also be used to wash clothes because bleach kills any possible fungal growth.
» Always keep your toilets, bathrooms, shower, etc. clean. This is a precautionary measure to avoid fungal growth in these areas. You can spray bleach in your bathrooms as well. Similarly it is advisable to wash your bed-sheet with warm water and bleach every couple of days. The other hygiene care is to avoid using and sharing personal items as chances of spreading of infection is very high with this.
» Use antifungal cream on the affected area to get rid of fungus and to arrest its further spread. Most antifungal creams can be bought over-the-counter. At the same time, do not forget to buy antibacterial and antifungal hand wash for your nails as they often are transmitters of infection. Increase the intake of food which are known to have antifungal properties.
What Causes the Infection?
Environmental factors coupled with the conducive environment cause micro-organism growth in the jock area. Jock itch is caused due to wearing tight clothes, which causes heat and sweat to be trapped inside the clothes, making it a perfect environment for micro-organism growth. Moisture and heat together make conducive environment for fungus growth. Chances of jock itch increase in winters if you dress like an onion: I mean in layers. In summers, if you wear wet and sweaty clothes, you are inviting trouble for yourself. If you are a swimmer, then you should get out of your wet swimming clothes at the earliest to avoid fungus growth. Athletes are more prone to jock itch than other people. In case you use a towel to wipe your feet and then use the same on your groin area, it can spread the athlete's foot infection to your groin.
People with weakened immune system are susceptible to this condition, likewise are people who are on heavy antibiotics. A person coming in contact with fungus spores may also be prone to this infection. Therefore, touching objects, which may have fungus growth on them increases the chances of this condition. Although it is widely known to be a fungal infection, sometimes, this condition can be caused due to bacteria as well. Like fungus, yeast infection can also lead to this condition.
The most common symptoms of this condition are reds, itchy, scaly and flat rash. However, the start of jock itch in women is itching, which leads to redness and rash. This rash is seen on the folds, where the groin area meets the leg, inner thighs and at the fold where buttock meets the legs, but there is no particular pattern to the rash. In some cases, small pustules or tiny pimples may be seen on the rash area. The other variation of the rash is dry and scales on the affected area. If the condition is caused due to a yeast infection, then the rash is more moist and is redder. In most cases, the yeast infection can also cause vaginal itching, vaginal discharge, which is white, thick and has cottage cheese like appearance.
The next symptom of jock itch is chafing and burning sensation. The jock itch fungus usually spreads in a circular fashion outwards and downwards. In severe jock itch cases, there can be blisters oozing pus. Hence it is important to check for jock's itch in time as it has the tendency to spread all over the pubic area. If the rash has been persistent for a longer amount of time, then skin breakage can be seen.
It is best to maintain personal hygiene to avoid jock itch. In case you think you have a fungal infection, then do not waste any time and take the required precaution so that the condition does not spiral out of hand. If the itching or rash increases even a little consult your health care professional, before it spirals out of hand.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.