What is jock itch?
It is a common problem for male athletes, which got its name from the big Jocks who are as prone to this infection as the guys lower in the pecking order. This type of infection is known as tinea, which is caused by a fungus, and is similar to ringworm. It thrives in moist, warm places on the body, and people who sweat a lot, are overweight, or who are troubled by eczema, are at risk.
What are the symptoms of jock itch?
The symptoms are mostly found in the groin, inner thighs, and the anus areas. In all areas the symptoms can include:
- Itching and burning.
- A red, scaly rash with raised edges, similar to a ringworm.
- Itchy flaking or peeling skin.
If not treated, jock itch can last for several weeks or months.
The causes of jock itch
Here are some common causes of the condition:
- Wearing clothes which are too tight and irritate the skin.
- Excessive sweating in the groin area.
- Keeping on a damp bathing suit for a long time.
- Sharing damp towels or sweaty clothing as jock itch is very contagious.
- Being in close contact with someone who has jock itch.
If you have a comprised immune system, or are HIV positive, you may be more prone to jock itch than other folk.
Ways to prevent picking up a jock itch infection
Good hygiene habits is a key way to prevent picking up this infection.
- Bath or shower each day, but especially after sports or exercise.
- Pat your groin area dry with a clean towel, and consider using an anti-fungal powder.
- Never share your towels or other personal items with anyone else.
- Always wash your sport clothes after each use, and change your underwear daily.
- Avoid tight-fitting clothes and underwear as these can chafe your skin and make you more prone to getting a bout of jock itch.
If you have an athlete’s foot infection use a separate towel to dry your feet, to prevent it spreading to the groin area – and put the towel straight into the wash so that it cannot be used by anyone else.
How is it diagnosed?
Diagnosis of jock itch is relatively simple. Most doctors are able to tell what it is merely by looking at the rash. If there is any doubt, the doctor may take a skin sample and examine it through a microscope just to be sure it is not a flare-up of eczema or another skin condition.
What are the treatment options?
Jock itch is often seen in people who are otherwise healthy, and is easily curable. In some cases it may disappear spontaneously without any treatment. Jock itch usually starts in the groin area, and may spread to inner thighs, and the genitals – including the scrotum and the penis.
Fortunately treatment is almost always successful with the use of antifungal creams, and sometimes may be combined with antifungal medications. If the jock itch condition is not fungus-related, then proper hygiene habits in the groin area are encouraged, such as keeping the genitals clean and dry, and frequently changing sweaty clothes.
Although many of the antifungal creams can be bought over-the-counter, it is important to read the label, apply as directed, and use for the recommended period of time.
This will speed up the healing and give you rapid relief from irritating rashes and itches.
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