Our expert says:
Tineus cruris, a.k.a., jock itch, is one of several maladies producing irritation in the groin that's the source of prolonged, embarrassing, and not-very-humorous discomfort. Caused by dermatophytes, mold-like fungi whose idea of a dream home is a moist, confined area of skin, jock itch primarily affects people, usually men, who provide such accommodations in the form of sweaty crotches. Particularly at risk are folks who frequent public showers and locker rooms, where thriving fungi have their heyday among damp towels, smelly jock straps, and wet floors. Dermatophytes are also responsible for the other common scourges of gym-goers and athletes, body ringworm and athlete's foot, which sometimes appear concurrently with jock itch. Keep in mind that itching and rashes in the groin area, and especially on the genitals, are often not caused by jock itch, and may be the result of something requiring medical attention, such as a yeast infection or sexually transmitted disease (STD). Consult a health care provider for a correct diagnosis because treatments will vary depending on what you have. Having said that, the symptoms of jock itch are:
Raised rashes that tend to clear in the center. The elevated, well-demarcated, and ring-like nature of this rash helps differentiate jock itch from other skin problems. The rash may become dry and scaly at times or, less commonly, develop into oozing and crusting blisters.
Itching of the groin, anal area, and/or the portion of the inner thigh immediately adjacent to the groin. Jock itch sometimes affects the scrotum, but seldom affects the penis.
If what you have is jock itch, it usually improves within two weeks from the start of treatment. Treatment consists of:
Washing and thoroughly drying the affected area, especially after workouts.
Clean the area using mild soap and warm water. Hydrogen peroxide is not recommended because it can irritate and worsen the infection. Use drying powders if excessive perspiration is an issue.
Avoiding chafing by wearing loose fitting underwear.
Applying over-the-counter anti-fungal creams or powders recommended for jock itch, following the regimen outlined in the accompanying instructions.
Be careful not to overtreat the area, as this can lead to further irritation.
Avoiding anti-bacterial and/or deodorant soaps.
Even if the rash and itching subside, treatment needs to continue for the entire duration recommended by the directions of the medication. This will ensure that all of the fungus is killed off, thereby preventing a reoccurrence. However, if little or no improvement occurs, or if the infection is/becomes severe, see a health care provider.
Obviously, even better than treating jock itch would be preventing it altogether. Here are some tips to do just that:
Wash your workout clothes after each use. Avoid storing damp clothes or towels in enclosed spaces, such as a locker or duffel bag.
Change your underwear daily, but you may want to do so even more often if you take part in activities that make you sweat.
If you're particularly susceptible to jock itch, use drying powders after bathing.
Wear loose-fitting clothing, at least from the waist down.
If you already have athlete's foot, put on your socks before your underwear so that the fungi from your feet can't hitch a free ride to your groin.
The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal
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