What is Jock Itch?
Jock Itch which is medically termed as Tinea Cruris is a skin fungal infection. Like in most other fungal infections, Jock Itch is also caused by dermatophytes or mold like fungi. These fungi are normally present in the hair, nails, and surface of the skin. These fungi are absolutely harmless but can be potent in causing infections, especially in warm and moist and humid climate. These fungi usually infect the areas of the inner thighs, groin and buttocks and hence normally an individual develops Jock Itch in these areas only. Jock Itch is commonly seen in boys and men. The rash caused by this fungus is very itchy and burns. The affected areas become scaly and red. Jock Itch is a mild infection although it may be embarrassing for people especially when in social environment. Prompt treatment for jock itch minimizes the symptoms and prevents the infection from spreading. Local antifungal creams and sprays are quite effective in most of the cases of Jock Itch.
How Long Does Jock Itch Last?
Jock Itch can be very annoying and at times embarrassing as long as it lasts. It takes a few days for the rash to disappear entirely. In some cases, it takes up to a month for the Jock Itch to entirely go away but with proper timely treatment it takes usually a couple of weeks for the fungus to clear and to get rid of Jock Itch.
What are the Causes of Jock Itch?
As stated, Jock Itch is caused by a group of fungi called dermatophytes or mold like fungi. These live in the skin, hair, and nails of our body and thrive in warm and moist conditions. For example, if you have been exercising for a long time or have played a long game of tennis on a hot day and have not changed into another set of clothes then the wetness of the sweat allows the fungi to multiply rapidly resulting in infection and resultant Jock Itch. It should be noted here that dermatophytes are highly contagious and hence if you are in close contact with a person with Jock Itch then quite possibly you might also get the condition. It is also seen that overweight or obese people tend to get Jock Itch more as the fungi may thrive in the folds of the skin.
Is Jock Itch Contagious?
Jock Itch is an extremely contagious skin infection. There are many ways through which Jock Itch can spread from one person to another. The main way through which infection spreads is through skin contact. This skin contact can be as simple as just a handshake or complex as sexual intercourse. As stated, this dermatophyte thrives in wet and damp conditions, thus sexual activity is the best environment for the fungus to move from one body to another. Another way through Jock Itch can be transferred is through sharing clothing like towels or bedding of an infected person. This is made possible as the fungus tends to crack and there are flakes of fungus that remain on the clothing which when used can be transferred to a normal person making that person infected. Same is true for certain objects and kitchen materials, machines used in gyms handled by the infected person and then being handled without appropriately cleaning it may result in the disease being transmitted.
What are the Symptoms of Jock Itch?
Some of the symptoms of Jock Itch are:
- Redness in the affected area is one of the main symptoms of jock itch.
- Persistent itching is also jock itch symptom
- Burning sensation in the affected area
- Cracking of skin
- Rash which gets worse with touching or any activity
- Skin color changes.
How is Jock Itch Diagnosed?
Jock Itch can be simply diagnosed by just a simple physical examination of the affected area. In some cases, the physician may take off some scrapings of the skin and send it for analysis to confirm the diagnosis and also rule out other related skin conditions.
How is Jock Itch Treated?
Jock Itch in most of the cases can be treated at home. Some of the treatment measures for Jock Itch are:
- Application of over-the-counter antifungal cream or spray to the affected area can be an effective treatment for jock itch
- Washing the affected area thoroughly with soap and warm water
- Dry the area completely after a bath or a strenuous exercise routine
- Change clothes everyday, especially undergarments
- It is good to wear loose clothing especially in summers.
What are Some of the Home Remedies for Jock Itch?
There are also some simple home remedies that can be effective in getting rid of jock itch. These home remedies are:
Apple Cider Vinegar: This is perhaps one of the most commonly used home remedy for many infections and illnesses. Apple Cider Vinegar is extremely good for the skin and hence is a perfect cure for Jock Itch. To use this, you need to take a tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar and mix it in a cup of warm water. Apply this solution thoroughly in the affected area and then wash it out. Try not to wipe the area after washing the area with the solution and let it dry on its own. You need to do this about two to three times a day.
White Vinegar: White Vinegar is also equally effective home remedy to get rid of Jock Itch as Apple Cider Vinegar. White Vinegar has certain antifungal properties which are quite effective for treating Jock Itch. To use this, you need a cup of white vinegar and mix with four cups of water. Now, take a clean piece of cloth and dip it in the solution. Now, put the cloth over the affected area for some time and let it dry on its own. Do this two to three times a day.
Using Tea Tree Oil as a Home Remedy to get Rid of Jock Itch: This is used for treating different types of skin infections of which Jock Itch is one. To use this, take a cotton ball and place tree tea oil on it and apply to the affected area. You need to do this about three times a day.
Alcohol: One of the features of alcohol is to dry the area and hence it is quite useful home remedy for treating Jock Itch. Take some alcohol with a high percentage of isopropyl and place it on a clean cotton ball. Place this cotton ball on the affected area and do this as much as possible for optimal results.
How Can Jock Itch be Prevented?
The best way to prevent Jock Itch is by practicing good hygiene. You need to wash your hands regularly. You need to change clothing immediately after exercise or after going to the pool after properly drying completely. Since Jock Itch tends to develop mostly in the groin and thigh area so care should be taken to keep these areas clean and dry s much as possible. You can also apply powder to these areas to keep it safe from Jock Itch. Another way to prevent Jock Itch is by wearing loose clothing, as tight clothing can rub against the skin and irritate the skin which may cause Jock Itch. This is more important in hot and humid weather.
When Should You Contact Your Physician for Jock Itch?
In case if the above suggested treatments are not effective in treating Jock Itch and the symptoms of jock itch persist for greater than two weeks then it becomes necessary for you to consult with a physician about the condition, as you may end up having a secondary infection due to the Jock Itch which may require prompt treatment. Once a physician is consulted, the physician may recommend medications like econazole or oxiconazole which are topical medications.