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Jock itch is a fungal infection. Its clinical name is tinea cruris. This infection can affect the skin of genitals, inner thighs, and buttocks. It is an itchy, red rash. Jock itch gets its name because it is common in athletes, who sweat a lot. It usually is not serious, but can be bothersome and uncomfortable.
The signs and symptoms are itching and redness of the affected area, a burning sensation, and flaking or cracking skin in the groin area. Wearing tight clothing or underwear can be very uncomfortable with this rash. Over the counter medications such as Lotrimin or Lamisil (brand names of terbinafine and miconazole/clotrimazole) can usually treat jock itch, but seek medical attention if it does not clear it up within two weeks. Prescription medications can be more effective in stubborn cases. Topical and oral prescriptions are available.
To prevent jock itch, be sure to shower daily especially after exercising, playing sports, or sweating. Keep the groin area dry. Powder can be used to prevent excess moisture. Change underwear at least once a day, or more often if you sweat a lot. Be sure to wash workout clothes after wearing them even one time. Avoid tight clothing that can rub and chafe your skin. For men, boxer shorts are often better than briefs. Don’t share your clothing, towels, or other personal items or borrow from others. Make sure to clean exercise machines between uses, especially if they are shared. This skin condition is most common in men, but there have been cases in women as well.
Jock itch is often caused by the same type of fungus that causes athlete’s foot, or ringworm of the scalp. It can spread from athlete’s foot to the groin area. It can be spread by direct sexual contact with an infected person, or from contaminated towels or clothing. Persons with weakened immune systems may have a harder time treating this infection. A doctor might want to take skin scrapings to look at under a microscope, or send them to a lab to be cultured if the rash is not responding to treatment.