Tinea cruris, more commonly known as jock itch, is a fungal infection that affects the skin of the inner thighs, buttocks and genitals.
The reason for this condition’s name is that it is most common in people who sweat a lot. As a result, athletes are at a greater risk than the rest of the population.
Jock itch is caused by the same fungus that results in athlete’s foot. This type of fungus can be transmitted from person to person by sharing towels or clothing. It is fairly common for the fungal infection to spread from the feet to the groin area.
The fungus that causes jock itch thrives in warm, moist environments. Although women can get jock itch, it is far more common in men.
Other risk factors include wearing tight underwear, being overweight and having a weak immune system.
Having a pre-existing skin condition such as dermatitis may also increase your chances of developing jock itch. However, the most significant risk factor is excessive sweating.
In most cases, jock itch starts off as a red patch of skin that spreads out from the creases in the groin.
The red patch usually looks like a half moon shape and may be scaly in appearance. The outer border of the rash may or may not have small raised blisters. The rash most often burns or itches.
The good news is that although jock itch is often uncomfortable, it usually is not a serious medical condition. Home remedies such as keeping your groin clean and dry as well as applying topical antifungal medications are usually good enough to treat it.
However, if the rash does not improve after two weeks, it is important to seek medical attention. In many cases, your doctor will be able to diagnose jock itch simply by inspecting the rash. If necessary, your doctor may take a sample of the infected skin to be tested.
For most mild cases of jock itch, your doctor will suggest over-the-counter antifungal ointments, lotions or spray. If this is unsuccessful, you may require prescription-strength creams and/or antifungal pills. Even in the most severe cases, this form of treatment is usually successful.
As I always say, prevention is the best medicine.
You can significantly reduce your risk of jock itch by keeping your groin area clean and dry.
Secondly, keep your clothing clean and change your underwear at least once a day or more often if you sweat a lot.
It is also vital to avoid tight-fitting underwear or shorts.
Also, try to stay cool by not wearing thick clothing for long periods of time, especially in warm weather.
Finally, promptly treat athlete’s foot infections in order to prevent its spread to the groin.
Keep these simple tips in mind and you will be well on your way to preventing jock itch.
Until next month, drive safely.
Dr. Christopher H. Singh runs Trans Canada Chiropractic at the 230 Truck Stop in Woodstock, Ont. He can be reached at 519-421-2024.