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Embarrassing Conditions: Jock Itch – It’s a Jungle Down There

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itch, jock itch, embarrassing conditions, tinea cruris

The world is full of of embarrassing conditions you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. Every week, Carian discusses one. This week: Tinea Cruris.

Do you regularly have an itch in your groin area? Do you find yourself looking for relief in ways that aren’t appropriate in most public spaces? You better go see a doctor. This annoying itchiness can be the result of a condition called tinea cruris, also known as jock itch. A fungal infection that can spread to even more sensitive parts of your body (or that of someone else).

Jock itch is so named because mostly athletes or “jocks” get it. But actually anyone who collects enough sweat in the groin fold can create the perfect place for the fungus (Trichophyton rubrum or Candida albicans) to grow. Fungi are always on your skin, but add enough sweat, and these fungi can grow out of control. Other riskful factors include friction, heat, humidity and direct moisture.

Tinea cruris on the groin. (Wikimedia Commons)

So what does jock itch look like? In the beginning it may be just an itch without the presence of a visible rash. But under the “right” conditions mentioned above, a red or pink rask appears usually on both sides in the groin fold. Eventually the skin get’s scaly and may crack or peel.

Jock itch is typically “home grown” but you can also catch it from other people. For instance, when sharing towels or underwear, or through sexual contact. The groin area is the most common place for jock itch to start, but it can spread to your inner thighs, genitals, buttocks or anus.

Luckily it can easily be cured. And you should, because when left untreated jock itch can lead to all kinds of troubles, like ulcers, open sores and abscesses. If it spreads to the genitals, it can cause infection, especially in uncircumcised men. Women may develop yeast infections.

So how to get rid of jock itch? First of all by good hygiene, which is also the best way to prevent jock itch. Use a non-soap cleanser or just water to clean your skin and wash your clothes frequently. Also wear material that breathes well, such as cotton. Advanced measures include anti-fungal sprays, shampoos and creams, that need to be applied on the affected area after bathing.

Source: How Stuff Works

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  • John

    How to beat jock itch:

    1. Scrub affected area well every evening with a soapy cloth. Do NOT go to sleep without doing this. The fungus eats the dead skin cells, so you need to scrub the skin clean.

    2. After showering (and before you put your clothes on):
    A. Make sure the area is 100% dry (use a hair dryer).
    B. Rub in Zeasorb antifungal powder on the whole crock/crack area.
    C. Put Terbinafine Hydrochloride 1% cream (one brand is Lamisil) on the affected area and an inch beyond.

    3. Wear polyester-spandex underwear rather than cotton underwear. Cotton keeps the skin too wet (especially if you’re in a humid climate). Cotton might be fine for Canada or Vermont, or if you never exercise or sweat.

    Main thing is to keep the area clean and dry as possible. This is harder if you are overweight. If it is sunny and you can get direct sunlight on the area for a half hour or so, the UV light will kill some of the fungus.

    Target and Walmart have a generic Terbinafine Hydrochloride 1% cream that is much cheaper. It’s in the “foot care” (athlete’s foot) section. Amazon sells it, too.

    Once the pain is gone (might take a few days), then you can just use the powder daily to keep the fungus down. Don’t use powder that contains starch or cornstarch, because that feeds the fungus (so don’t use baby powder). Use the Zeasorb every day. Shoot some into your boxers before you exercise.

    Target is selling some good underwear for both men and women: “Champion C-9 brand” (92% Polyester, 8% Spandex). $10, and very comfy.

  • Anouk Vleugels

    @ John: thanks for this extensive list – we will make sure to spread the word to all those suffering from jock itch.