Jock Itch

Jock itch is a fungal infection of the skin in the groin area. It is sometimes called "ringworm" even though it is not caused by a worm. A fungus is a type of germ that thrives in dark, damp places.

CAUSES

This infection may spread from:

  • A fungus infection elsewhere on the body (such as athlete's foot).

  • Sharing towels or clothing.

This infection is more common in:

  • Hot, humid climates.

  • People who wear tight-fitting clothing or wet bathing suits for long periods of time.

  • Athletes.

  • Overweight people.

  • People with diabetes.

SYMPTOMS

Jock itch causes the following symptoms:

  • Red, pink or brown rash in the groin. Rash may spread to the thighs, anus, and buttocks.

  • Itching.

DIAGNOSIS

Your caregiver may make the diagnosis by looking at the rash. Sometimes a skin scraping will be sent to test for fungus. Testing can be done either by looking under the microscope or by doing a culture (test to try to grow the fungus). A culture can take up to 2 weeks to come back.

TREATMENT

Jock itch may be treated with:

  • Skin cream or ointment to kill fungus.

  • Medicine by mouth to kill fungus.

  • Skin cream or ointment to calm the itching.

  • Compresses or medicated powders to dry the infected skin.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

  • Be sure to treat the rash completely. Follow your caregiver's instructions. It can take a couple of weeks to treat. If you do not treat the infection long enough, the rash can come back.

  • Wear loose-fitting clothing.

  • Men should wear cotton boxer shorts.

  • Women should wear cotton underwear.

  • Avoid hot baths.

  • Dry the groin area well after bathing.

SEEK MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • Your rash is worse.

  • Your rash is spreading.

  • Your rash returns after treatment is finished.

  • Your rash is not gone in 4 weeks. Fungal infections are slow to respond to treatment. Some redness may remain for several weeks after the fungus is gone.

SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • The area becomes red, warm, tender, and swollen.

  • You have a fever.