What is jock itch?
Jock itch (tinea cruris) is a form of
ringworm. Ringworm is not a worm at all. It is a
fungal infection of the outer layers of skin, hair, or
nails. Fungi (plural of fungus) are present everywhere in our
Ringworm of the skin appears as a rash with patches
that may be red or peeling or that have bumps on the edges that look like
blisters. The skin often is itchy, and the rash can spread quickly. You can
have both jock itch and athlete's foot (tinea pedis) at the same time.
What causes jock itch?
Jock itch is
caused by a fungus. Fungi commonly grow on or in the top layer of skin. They
may or may not cause an infection. Fungi grow best in warm, moist areas of the
body such as the groin, inner thighs, and buttocks.
As the name
suggests, jock itch mostly affects male athletes, but anyone can get it. Using
public showers and locker rooms increases your chances of getting jock itch.
Fungi grow best in the steamy rooms among damp towels, sweaty workout clothes,
and wet floors. So it's not surprising that jock itch and athlete's foot often
occur at the same time, since both are caused by fungi.
What are the symptoms of jock itch?
jock itch include the following:
How is jock itch diagnosed?
Jock itch is annoying, but it usually is not serious. If you have had
jock itch in the past, you may recognize the symptoms. Your doctor can tell if
you have jock itch after asking questions about your symptoms and past health
and by looking at your rash. Your doctor may scrape a little of the rash onto a
glass slide so that he or she can look at it under a microscope.
How is jock itch treated?
ringworm infections of the skin, such as jock itch, can be treated at home with
antifungal creams and powders you can buy without a prescription. But have your
doctor look at any infection that does not go away, is severe, or comes back.
To treat jock itch, follow these steps:
How can I prevent jock itch?
You can help prevent jock itch by keeping your groin, inner thighs, and
buttocks clean and dry. Dry off well after you exercise and shower. Try these
other steps to prevent jock itch:
Other Works ConsultedBasler RSW (2006). Sports medicine dermatology. In JD
Hall et al., eds., Sauer's Manual of Skin Diseases, 9th
ed., pp. 449–458. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins. Habif TP, et al. (2005). Tinea of the groin (tinea
cruris, jock itch). In Skin Disease: Diagnosis and Treatment, pp. 248–249. St. Louis: Mosby. Hirschmann JV (2006). Fungal, bacterial, and viral
infections of the skin. In DC Dale, DD Federman, eds., ACP Medicine, section 2, chap. 7, pp. 1–4. New York: WebMD.Nelson MM, et al. (2003). Superficial fungal
infections: Dermatophytosis, onychomycosis, tinea nigra, piedra. In IM
Freedberg et al., eds., Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine, 6th ed., pp.. 1989–1999. New York: McGraw-Hill.Verma S, Heffernan MP (2008). Superficial fungal
infection: Dermatophytosis, onychomycosis, tinea nigra, piedra. In K Wolff et
al., eds., Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine, 7th ed., vol 2, pp. 1807–1821. New York: McGraw
Hill.Wolff K, et al. (2005). Tinea cruris. In
Fitzpatrick's Color Atlas and Synopsis of Clinical Dermatology, 5th ed., pp. 699–700. New York: McGraw-Hill.
March 15, 2011
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & David Messenger, MD
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