About Jock Itch: Treatment and Prevention
Finding an effective and relieving jock itch treatment can be a hassle, especially if you aren’t really sure what to look for. Unfortunately, using an over the counter jock itch treatment, alone, isn’t always enough to remedy the problem. If you suffer from recurring jock itch infections then it can help to learn what causes this condition and what steps you can take to prevent it from coming back after the existing infection has cleared up.
What is Jock Itch?
Jock itch is a condition that typically occurs in the area of the groin. It may affect the scrotum in males as well as the creases of the skin and the area around the anus. Although most of us tend to see jock itch as being a condition that strictly affects males, however it is possible for women to experience this condition as well. Jock itch can manifest itself in the form of a pink or red rash all over the groin area that spreads throughout the creases of the groin and even to the upper thighs. It received its name due to its tendency to occur in athletes, especially those wearing protective gear at the groin which can cause excessive sweating, friction, and the growth and spread of fungi in this region.
The most notable symptom of jock itch is the itching and irritation that affects the skin. The skin may produce red bumps that affect the skin in a patch-like growth. This patch is usually a little discolored than the rest of the skin and may be pink, purple, or grey-ish in color. The outer area of the rash usually has more of an angry appearance with a much darker color.
Causes of Jock Itch
Before you can determine what type of jock itch treatment is best for you, you first have to find out what is causing the condition in the first place. The primary cause behind true jock itch—which is actually called tinea cruris—is a fungus that most of us know as athlete’s foot and also ringworm of the scalp. The fungus can be introduced to the groin by any manner of ways, such as using a towel, clothing, sports gear, or bath sponge that is infested with the ringworm fungus. It can also be transmitted from one part of the body to another. For instance, say you have an active case of athlete’s foot. By scratching the infected foot and then touching your groin or by using a towel to dry your feet prior to drying the groin area, you could introduce the fungus to a new location where it can thrive. This ultimately leads to a fungal infection.
Jock Itch Treatment Options
There are a few methods of jock itch treatment that you can pursue. In fact, there is usually more than just medication involved in clearing up an outbreak of jock itch. The first course of treatment that you might pursue is in the form of over the counter antifungal medication. These usually contain one of the following ingredients: berbinafine, miconazole, or clotrimazole. Berbinafine, the active ingredient in Lamisil, tends to clear up the symptoms of jock itch a little faster and has a shorter overall treatment period than other medications; however medication that contains berbinafine tends to be more expensive that other varieties. Miconazole and clotrimazole are cheaper to buy and are generally as effective as berbinafine—they just have a longer initial treatment period.
If you have used these over the counter medications as the instructions described and have not seen an improvement in your condition—or if it seems to not completely clear up—then you might need to see a doctor. Upon inspecting the skin they may be able to prescribe you a stronger antifungal medication that can treat a lingering or persistent infection in this area. It may be a good idea to see a doctor anyway if you have been suffering from jock itch for a long period of time, are experiencing a particularly severe outbreak, or if you are worried that you may be dealing with something other than jock itch.
Tips for Preventing Jock Itch
Preventing this condition is always a better option than having to seek out jock itch treatment. Because the condition is caused by a fungus, you have to consider the environment that is your groin. Fungus like dark places that are moist and warm—most groins, unfortunately, match this description spot-on. The first place you can start in your efforts to prevent jock itch infection is to keep the area dry and to change your undergarments daily. Try not to re-use towels between laundering. Avoid allowing the groin area to become warm or moist for long periods of time. For example, it wouldn’t be a good idea to sit around in soggy gym shorts after an intense workout. The best option would be to take a shower, thoroughly dry off, and change into fresh clothes.
Jock itch can also be prevented by being more aware of your surroundings. If you use public showers then avoid sharing towels, wash cloths/sponges, or other personal items. Avoid leaving your clean clothing in an area that might come into contact with fungus, such as near used towels or on the floor. Many cases of jock itch are caused by an existing condition of athlete’s foot. If you have athlete’s foot, try to wash your hands directly after touching your feet, socks, and shoes. Do not dry your body and your feet with the same towel after a shower.