Jock Itch – Pictures, Causes and Treatment

What is Jock Itch?

Jock refers to “a person trained to participate in competitive sports”; the term is usually used for young male athletes.

Jock itch - fungi in the groinPicture 1. Jock itch – Tinea cruris (source: Samuel Freire da Silva, M.D., atlasdermatologico << click and search for ‘Tinea cruris’ for additional images)

Jock itch (other names: Tinea cruris, tinea or ringworm of the groin, dhobi itch, scrot rot) is a fungal infection affecting the moist skin on the inner thighs, genitals, anal area or buttocks, appearing in both men and women. Affected skin is covered by red or brown rash that may be ring-shaped. Rash may itch or burn; affected skin may peel off or crack.

What Causes Jock Itch?

Jock itch is usually caused by fungi that normally live on the skin (dermatophytes). In moist areas like the groin, these fungi may overgrow and cause infection. The group of fungi usually involved is called Tinea cruris (Gk. crus = limb), but infection can also spread from athletes foot (caused by Tinea pedis) or from scalp fungal infection (caused by Tinea capitis). The common name for these fungi is ringworm, since the rash they cause often has a shape of ring.

How is Jock Itch Spread?

Jock itch is easily spread with sharing towels or sportswear, or with sexual contact.

Who Gets Infected?

Adult men that often have moist groin are often infected. Jock itch may also appear in women. It rarely appears before 15 years of age. Risk factors for getting jock itch are:

  • Wet groin; (male athletes, dhobi itch is known in western washermen)
  • Tight underwear
  • Obesity; infection occurs in wet skin folds
  • Immunodeficiency: AIDS, diabetes

How is Jock Itch Diagnosed?

Diagnosis of jock itch is made by body examination (inspection). In doubtful cases, rash can be scrapped and sent into microbiological laboratory.

Rash in the groin may be caused by other types of fungi (Candida albicans), viruses (Herpes genitalis), bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus), allergies (itchy pants syndrome, cholinergic urticaria), inverted psoriasis, Darier’s disease, Hailey-Hailey disease (pemphigus), intertrigo, seborrheic dermatitis, and so on.

Treatment of Jock Itch with Antifungal Medications

Antifungal ointments (over-the-counter) for mild infection (1):

  • Terbinafine (Lamisil)
  • Naftifine (Naftin)
  • Miconazole (Micatin)
  • Clotrimazole (Lotrimin)

If over-the-counter ointments do not help in few days, other potent drugs should be used:

  • Ointments, such as Econazole (Spectazole) or Oxiconazole (Oxistat)
  • Medications by mouth, such as Itraconazole (Sporanox) or Fluconazole (Diflucan)
  • Terbinafine (Lamisil)

Prevention of Jock Itch

To prevent jock itch:

  • Shower or bath daily and after each sport activity or work.
  • Keep groin area dry by wearing boxer pants and airy trousers.
  • Do not share towels and sportswear with anyone.

Further Reading:

References:

  1. Jock itch treatment (mayoclinic.com)
About Jan Modric (249 Articles)
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  • blc35

    I was given doxycycline for 2 weeks for popssible prostate infection. Into the second week I started getting rectal itching and a rash. Called Dr he said to use hydrocortisone for 2 weeks if it comes back or doesn’t get better come back in. It started to come back and got worse he looked at it and said it’s now a fungal infection gave me Augmentin antibiotic and oxistat cream. He said there were 4 or 5 fissures? I guess open sores. It’s been 2 days and thought I would see some improvement. Any suggestions?

  • Jan Modric

    To blc35.

    Both doxycycline and Augmentin may cause yeast infection as a side effect. Oxistate ointment may help but if not (maybe you wait for another 1-2 days) then you may ask your doctor to get some antifungal pills.

    Fissures themselves may itch and they may heal slowly. So you should eveluate effect of antifungals by disappearing rash and not by diasappearing itch.

    It is important that you find out if you really have an infection of the prostate. Anal fissures also appear in Crohn’s disease (nausea, diarrhea…)

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  • kid

    the thigh’s symptoms are the ones that are affecting me. are there any treatments that are homemade or just something i can use at home?
    thanks

  • Jan Modric

    To kid.

    Over the counter (OTC, without prescription) ointments are available in pharmacies.

  • Francisco

    I got this candida in the groin. I am taking oral terbinafine once a day. The 5 day the itching dissapear, but it returns on the 10 day. The doctor prescript me to take terbinafie for 28 days. What can I do if I am in the 13th dat and since the 10th day the itching return? how long should be the treatment? Thanks

  • Jan Modric

    Francisco, it’s hard to say how long treatment you’ll need. Avoid having wet groin, wear airy clothes, change underwear daily during the treatment. Maybe you can also use an antifungal ointment. If the rash will still appear, I recommend you to have some blood tests to check your immunity status.

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  • pleasehelp

    had sever jock itch, took a 3-week cycle of diflucan which tookthe itch away but i still have the red rash. I’ve been using the normal OTC creams and sprays but the rash itself isn’t going away. It’s been about a month and a half now. The rash was much worse in the beginning because of the itching but I justwant it to disappear. Thanks

  • Jan Modric

    pleasehelp,

    I recommend you to ask your doctor for prescribed oral antifungal medication.

  • azeem

    actually i got jock itch by wet groin from last 2 yrs i got prescribed from doctor but not much effect and i was busy so not taking my medicine and i dont have itching and all just brown color on my groin place please give me some idea to take that brown color.

  • Jan Modric

    azeem,

    OTC ointments for jock itch exist. If an ointment does not help, your doctor can prescribe you an oral antifungal medication.

  • shelly

    i got itchy on my thighs n got rashes also.wat can i do 2 help it out.itz rilly itchy at times.

  • Jan Modric

    shelly,

    both OTC antifungal ointments and prescribed oral drugs exist, so it is your choise what to do. In persistent infection, oral drugs may be needed.

  • satish

    i am satish,22yrs old,i am having red colored circles round my penis,these r very festly spreading and these already started to spread over my thigh also,i am geting itching always.myskin is becoming black,i am applying many ointments but no use, i cant show my parts to the near by doctor also. pls tell me the medicines , ointments what all i have to use pls help me……..

  • Jan Modric

    satish,

    if antifungal ointments do not help, prescribed oral antifungal medications can.

  • mona

    i would like to know if this can go away and stay gone?

  • Jan Modric

    mona,

    a mild fungal infection can go away on its own, but antifungal ointments (or prescribed medications, if necessary) often solve the problem much quicker.

  • joey78

    I had jock itch several years ago. Tried over the counter sprays that were expensive and ineffective. Finally tried TEA TREE OIL–without diluting it. Kept the area dry after showers–meaning sleep without underwear. Oh, and I shaved the area completely. After a week and a half, it was pretty much gone. Hope this helps someone.

  • Jan Modric

    joey78,

    actually some clinical trials have confirmed, tea tree oil can be effective against skin fungal infections.

    lpi.oregonstate.edu/f-w98/teatrees.html

  • Lolla-guy92

    so i just did some research and i believe i have the same symptoms of jock itch, it hasnt spread too far its a very small spot on my right inner thigh and i can tell its growing larger at a slow rate and also my left inner thigh has the infection as well but a bit worse.Its been about 2-3 i believe that ive noticed this, not sure what i should do? take frequent showers and wash or go straight to over the counter medication?

  • Lolla-guy92

    forgot to mention theres no itch or burning feeling yet, just the skin is messed up

  • Jan Modric

    Lolla-guy92,

    a rash from a fungal infection, what a jock itch is, can’t be just washed off, and, yes, OTC ointments are available. I don’t know, if you have jock itch or not, though.

  • azzam

    i had jock itch 5 years ago. the itch had disappeared 2 years back, but the skin around the affected area (inner thigh of both legs, and buttocks) is hyperpigmented (black in colour). can my skin return to its normal colour?

  • Jan Modric

    azzam,

    a dermatologist can explain you what exactly has happened, and how can be treated.

  • star_24

    joey78-does it work?

  • dschue

    I had jock itch very badly for awhile. I tried all the medications but couldnt seem to shake it. I saw on something that garlic was a good treatment. I took garlic pills for about 2 weeks and everything cleared up. Since then, if it seems I am having a flare up, I take the garlic pills and everything is fine.

  • santh

    i have remaining or residual patches of this infection darker than my original skin what should i do for that pls help me

  • Jan Modric

    santh,

    residual discoloration may last for weeks or months after the infection has healed. Various ointments to speed up full recovery are available – a dermatologist can help you.

  • shoaib

    hi guys !! i have this fungal infaction since last 3 months … i do not know how but now its turn into purple colour !! may b it is because of creams which i used !! please tell me it is safe to b in purple colour or i have to worry about it !!

  • Dr. Chris

    Hi Shoaib

    A long standing fungal infection, especially if it is severe and you are scratching the area a lot, can cause discoloration of the skin. Usually it should not be prominent within just 3 months and should appear like a dark brown discoloration (hyperpigmentation). I would advise that you get this purple colored rash looked at by a doctor. This could also be related to any topical applications (cream/gel) that you are used.

  • nomad

    31/3/2011
    I have tried several creams that my Dr reccommended,but to no avail.I are now trying “hydrogen Peroxide 3%” purchased over the counter.Just wipe it on.
    Its only the second day,so I have nothing to report yet,but will later if it works.