Can't Stop Scratching? What Every Man Needs to Know About Jock Itch

Yes, it can be embarrassing to realize you have jock itch, but fortunately, the condition is quite treatable with over-the-counter products. The cause is a fungus, and it thrives in moist, warm environments, so you can keep jock itch at bay by using drying powders, avoiding tight-fitting clothing, and changing underwear daily. Sex should be avoided until your symptoms clear up.


What Exactly Is Jock Itch?

So you think you have a case of jock itch. But what exactly is it? The medical term for jock itch is "tinea cruris." Jock itch is actually a ringworm infection of the genital area (don't panic, though, it's not actually caused by a worm). It's caused by the same types of fungi that cause athlete's food (tinea pedis) and similar infections on other parts of the body.

What Does Jock Itch Look and Feel Like?

In general, most men describe jock itch as an itchy, red rash in the groin area. More specifically, jock itch often involves red patches with very clear borders. The skin is often scaly, and blistering and oozing can occur. The patches may be redder and more irritated on the outer portions, with normal-looking skin in the middle (looking somewhat like a ring). As the skin gets more and more irritated, it can start to burn and hurt.
Jock itch typically affects the creases of the upper thigh and can spread to the skin of the buttocks and anus, which can cause the unpleasant symptom of anal itching. Fortunately, the skin of the penis and scrotum usually isn't affected.

How Did I Get Jock Itch?

As previously mentioned, jock itch is caused by a fungal infection. It's spread from other people who have the infection. It can be spread by direct skin contact, contaminated towels, or clothing. If you already have athlete's foot or a fungal infection anywhere else on your body (such as your hands or scalp), you may have spread the infection to your groin area accidentally.
Wearing tight-fitting underwear or other clothing, as well as wearing wet clothing (such as a bathing suit or sweaty gym clothes) can increase your risk of getting jock itch.
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