What Is Jock Itch?
Jock itch is an infection that’s caused by a fungus. It's a form of ringworm that likes to live in warm, moist places on your body. It’s also called tinea cruris. People who sweat a lot, who are overweight, or who have a skin condition called eczema are more likely to get it.
It’s a common problem for male athletes, which is how it got its name. But you don’t have to play a sport or be a guy to get it.
Jock Itch Symptoms
It’s typically found on your groin, inner thighs, or anus.
- Itching and burning
- A red, scaly, circular rash with raised edges
- Depending on your skin tone, the irritated skin could look purple, grey, tan, or white
- Cracking, flaking, or peeling skin
Jock Itch Risk Factors
You might get jock itch if you:
- Wear tight clothes that irritate your skin
- Have moisture in your groin area from sweating
- Wear a wet bathing suit for a long time
- Share damp towels or sweaty clothing with other people
- Have close contact with someone who has jock itch
- Are overweight
- Have a weakened immune system or diabetes
Jock Itch Diagnosis
Your doctor may be able to diagnose it by looking at the skin rash and hearing about your symptoms. Rarely, they might take a sample of skin so a technician can look at it under a microscope.
Jock Itch Treatment
If you don’t treat jock itch, it can last months. But over-the-counter medicines called antifungals can usually clear it up in a few weeks. They’re available in creams, powders, and sprays.
Keep the area clean and dry. Take these steps for faster healing:
- Wash the area and then dry using a clean towel.
- Use a different towel on the rest of your body.
- Read the medicine label, and apply the medicine as directed.
- Use it for as long as recommended; the infection may come back if you stop sooner.
Talk to your doctor if you aren’t feeling better in a couple of weeks. You might need stronger medicine.
Jock Itch Prevention
Good habits can lower your risk of getting jock itch:
Bathe. Shower or take a bath daily and again after playing sports or working out.
Stay dry. Pat your groin area dry with a clean towel. Ask your doctor about using an antifungal powder.
Don’t share. Don’t let others use your towels or other personal items.
Wear clean clothes. Wash workout clothes or sports uniforms after each use. Change your underwear every day, or more often if you sweat a lot. Make sure athletic supporters and cups are clean.
Don't wear tight-fitting clothes and underwear. They can rub and chafe your skin and make you more prone to getting jock itch. Consider switching to boxers if you wear briefs.
Other fungal infections, like athlete’s foot (tinea pedis), can also spread to your groin and cause jock itch.
Take these steps to avoid that:
- Treat the infection with an antifungal medicine for athlete’s foot.
- Use a separate towel to dry your feet, or dry your groin before your feet.
- Put on socks before you put on underwear so it doesn’t touch your bare feet.