Jock Itch in Women

Jock Itch, also called 'Ringworm of the Groin', is a fungal infection occurring in the skin of the groin area, that can spread to other surrounding areas and even to the anus. It is more prevalent in men than in women, but is contagious, therefore women can get it too due to a number of reasons.
HerHaleness Staff
Last Updated: Apr 23, 2018
There are innumerable species of fungi in the environment. Not all of them cause diseases, and even those that do, cannot infect us easily, because of the microbes already present on our skin and elsewhere in the body. Fungi need certain conditions to be able to survive and grow well. The fungi that cause jock itch are called dermatophytes, and they grow well in warm, damp environs.
The groin is the area where the thigh and the torso are joined at an angle, so that the skin at that place has folds. Additionally, if the clothes worn are extremely tight, a very conducive environment for the growth of the fungus is created. This is how a person usually gets jock itch.
Probable Causes
Different types of fungi of the genera Trichophyton, Epidermophyton and Microsporum can cause jock itch. The species that most commonly cause this infection are Trichophyton rubrum and Trichophyton tonsurans. A species known as Microsporum canis is transmitted to humans through animals like cats, dogs and horses. There are certain factors that predispose a person toward getting jock itch.

Wearing tight-fitting clothes creates the kind of warm, damp environment in which fungi can grow well
Bathing in public showers
Sharing clothes or other stuff like towels, handkerchiefs, etc., of an infected person
Activities involving skin-to-skin contact with an infected person
Excessive sweating
A weak immune system
Symptoms Noticed
In jock itch, the infected skin shows small patches that have a red, raised edge with the skin in the middle, having normal skin tone. The skin may also show scaling and tiny fissures. The infection can extend backward up to the anal region. Intense itching and discomfort makes it difficult for the person to lead a normal life.
Diagnostic Methods
  • The diagnosis of jock itch is done by a physical examination and laboratory findings. The appearance of the infected patches and their location is indicative of the infection. In women suffering from this type of infection, the skin of the external genitalia is not involved.
  • Laboratory tests are performed by taking scrapings of the infected skin. A test using a 10% to 15% potassium hydroxide (KOH) solution is used.
  • The fungi are grown in the laboratory (fungal culture) at room temperature. They usually show visible growth within 2 weeks.
Treatment Options
Topical Treatment: This refers to application of antifungal creams, lotions, and powders for treating the infection. Such treatment is usually sufficient to treat jock itch. There are two classes of antifungals that are used for this:

Azoles: This class includes drugs such as Miconazole, Clotrimazole and Ketoconazole.
Allylamines: This class includes drugs such as Naftifine and Terbinafine.

Other classes of drugs are also used, depending upon the nature of the infection.

Oral Treatment: If a person is immunocompromised (weak immune system), has a considerable area of skin involved in the infection, or has had the infection several times in the past, then oral treatment becomes necessary. Drugs like Terbinafine (250 mg/day) and Itraconazole (200 mg/day) are used. Fluconazole is also highly effective in treating jock itch.
Prevention
Jock infection is preventable, and a few precautions are enough to ensure that you do not contract the infection.
  • Wear loose-fitting cotton underclothes
  • Keep the groin area dry and clean
  • Do not share clothes and things likely to come in contact with somebody's infected skin
  • Avoid bathing in public showers
  • Avoid skin-to-skin contact with a person known to be infected
Jock itch is one of the many types of fungal infections that a woman may contract due to poor hygiene or simply because of contact with an infected person. Prompt treatment is necessary to prevent the spread of this infection and further discomfort.
Disclaimer: This HerHaleness article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for professional medical advice.