Itching of the groin is as common as itching of any other part of the body. For most of us, it is an occasional itch that subsides quickly and is not a persistent problem. However, may people have itchy groin and that is persistent and require treatment for the same. There are several causes of itchy groin. It is essential to figure out the cause of itching in the groin area, so to quickly resolve and reduce the itch. Let us know why does the groin itch and know what are the causes of itchy groin below.
Why Does The Groin Itch?
Firstly, it is essential to understand that “groin” is actually the crease between torso and thighs on either side of the genitals. However, most people refer to the groin as the entire lower pubic portion, including the crease, genitals and also the upper parts of the thigh. Generally the groin is though to be the area present at the front of the body that is covered fully by underwear.
Several factors may cause an itchy groin, some of which are unique only to this area of the body, specifically even without any underlying disease or condition. However, persistent itching of the groin and the presence of a skin rash indicates an underlying disease where the itch and rash in the groin are symptoms of the disease or condition.
The groin is one of those areas of the body that is always covered due to social and cultural norms, across most of the world. In fact it is often covered by more than one layer of clothing and thus creatimg a much warmer environment than other parts of the body. Naturally there tends to be more perspiration in this area. The numerous skin folds of the genitalia, between the torso and the thigh coupled with the body hair creates an environment in the groin where sweat, dead skin cells and germs thrive resuting in itching in the groin.
7 Medical Conditions That Can Cause Itchy Groin
Following medical conditions can cause itchy groin.
#1. Jock Itch: Common Cause of Itchy Groin
One of the most common cause of itchy groin could be Jock itch which i Tinea infections or fungal infections of the skin. When these infections occur in the groin area, it is termed as “Tinea cruris” or more commonly, “Jock itch”. A group of fungi called as “Dermatophytes” results in Jock itch. These dermatophytes are microscopic fungi living in soil, on humans, on objects and even on some animals for long periods of time, which means abundant opportunities exist all over for coming in to contact with these fungi. Dermatophytes enter inside the body through small tears or lesions. They prefer being in moist environments, like pools, saunas, showers etc, and also in the groin.
Dermatophytes feed of keratin or a protein present in hair, skin and nails. They can be picked up on the feet, where they can take hold and lead to athlete’s foot or fungal nail infection. As cross contamination occurs commonly, those with athelte’s foot often develop Jock itch as well. When the dermatophytes take hold, they release an enzyme to break down the Keratin so that they can absorb it. The enzyme, as well as the metabolic waste produced by the fungi, leads to inflammation and the irritation can lead to severe itching. Jock itch generally affects the groin, upper thighs and the creases between the buttocks and around the anus.
#2. Intertrigo: Resulting in Itchy Groin
There is one more cause of itchy groin and that is Intertrigo. The groin area often remains moist becase of small, constant amounts of perspiration released by sweat ducts to the area. Tight clothes, like jock straps, tight underwear, fabrics that do not allow enough airflow, add to the atmosphere that certain fungi and bacteria thrive in. Intertrigo develops when moist areas of the skin rub against each other, resulting in irritation. The irritation leads to red and itchy rash and also small tears in the skin. Once these tears open, fungi and bacteria can enter the site and infect the region.
#3. Yeast Infection: Another Cause of Itchy Groin
Candida is a common, yeats-like fungus that can result in a variety of skin disorders. When it infects the vagina, it results in vulvovaginitis and includes symptoms of itching. This infection can produce a thick, white vaginal discharge in women. Candida can also infect men, causing “Balanitis”. When it occurs in men, there is infection and related itch that usually begins on the foreskin of the penis or in the tip of the pens and that may go down to the groin area and lead to itchy groin.
#4. Sexually Transmitted Diseases: A Not So Common Cause Of Itchy Groin
There are a lot of different STDs or sexually transmitted diseases that can cause itchy groin. Generally the itching and any skin irritation or skin rashes are isolated to the genitals, but sometimes it may involves the surrounding pubic region. Some of the STDs that are more likely to present with an itchy groin includes Genital herpes, Genital warts, Trichomoniasis, Gonorrhea etc.
#5. Groin Psoriasis: A Major Cause Of Itchy Groin
One of the major causes of itchy groin is Groin psoriasis. Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin condition where thickened plaques develop because of the overgrowth of the skin. It can occur anywhere on the body and may also sometimes affect the groin region. Psoriasis can be a very itchy condition of the skin and scratching often does not fully relieve the itching in the groin. The type of psoriasis that is more likely to occur in the groin area is inverse psoriasis. The skin rash in inverse psoriasis is bright red, smooth to touch and is shiny. Although psoriasis may clear up in some time, it may again recur in weeks, months or even years later.
#6. Groin Dermatitis: A Skin Condition That Causes Itchy Groin
Contact dermatitis can affects any of the body part including the groin. There are two types of contact dermatitis, including the allergic and irritant type. Allergic contact dermatitis arises in individuals who are hypersensitive to specific substances which otherwise are harmless. This can occur with contact with some textiles used to make underwear, shampoos, soaps and even laundry detergents. Irritant contact dermitis is when a substance acts a skin irritant and it can affect anyone even if they do not have any allergy to the specific substance. The irritants can vary from sweat, feces, urine and cosmetics to jewelry and tight clothing that causes chaffing. It must also be mentioned that even water can also be an irritant if the groin area is not properly wiped after bathing or cleaning and cause itchy groin.
#7. Lice And Scabies: A Parasitic Cause Of Itchy Groin
Lice and scabies are parasitic infestations that can lead to an itchy skin. Sometimes these parasites may affect the groin and cause itchy groin. Different lice can affect different parts of the body. Pubic lice, commonly known as crabs, affects the groin region in special. The tine Phythiriasis pubis insect clings to the pubic hairs and feeds off the host which leads to itching of the skin. Pubic lice infestation also causes sores on the genitalia, along with tiny blue-gray marks called as Macula cerulae. Scabies is a skin infestation with the tiny Sarcoptes scabiei mite. Itching is a result of this mite burrowing in to the skin. Thin burrow tracks may be visible where the mite penetrates the skin and small blisters and/or bumps may also be present along with itching in the groin.
Other Causes Of Itchy Groin
Poor personal hygiene is one of the major contributing factors for itchy groin. The accumulation of sweat, dead skin cells, fungi, bacteria and sometimes even urine and fecal particles in the groin region, collectively acts as an irritant to the skin. If the groin area is not washed frequently, it can lead to itchy groin, skin rashes and even infections in the area. So regular bathing is very much important. One must keep the groin area clean and dry as much as possible to avoid itching in the groin.
Irritants like soaps, shampoos, body lotions, creams etc. are some of the causes that can cause groin itchiness. Most individuals do not experience any irritation and itching by using these products. However, hypersensitive individuals may react severely with exposure to such products.
- Various chemicals used to remove hair in the groin area, like depilatory creams and wax, can also irritate the skin and lead to itchy groin.
- Shaving the delicate skin of the groin may become irritated. It is also itchy after hair removal, while the hair grows back.
- Tight underwears can cause chaffing and this may also result in itchy groin.
So, now we knew about some of the causes of itchy groin. It is now essential for you to keep it noted that in case you suffer from persistent itchy groin then do not hesistate to talk to your doctor. He or she may find out the exact underlying cause of your itchy groin and prescribe you with the necessary medications or treatments.