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Jock itch is a rash that affects the groin. It causes intense itch, with or without visible red, bumpy rash in groin folds and genitals. This common skin problem is more commonly seen in men than in women.

Typically, jock itch comes and goes. It often resolves itself without any medical treatment and for most people it is just a mild or moderate nuisance. Jock itch can also be chronic and in that case it requires more serious approach and medical evaluation too.

Chronic jock itch is particularly seen in people who have diabetes or are obese. It also affects people with weakened immune system, for example HIV/AIDS patients, people who receive chemotherapy or radiation therapy for cancer or take immunosuppressive drugs such as Prednisone.

Causes of jock itch

Whether it is acute or chronic, jock itch can be caused by one of several factors. Factors that increase the risk of jock itch are tight or abrasive underwear, sweating, moisture, constant irritation and friction and allergies. It can be caused by bacteria or fungus. Fungal infections that are commonly seen as causes of jock itch include Candida albicans, trichophyton and epidermophyton floccosum.

Treatment for chronic jock itch

Since chronic jock itch is commonly observed in people who have certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, obesity or weak immune system, those people are advised to take special care of their groin area in order to prevent jock itch. This is achieved by wearing loose, comfortable underwear made of breathable fabric, such as cotton, and also by keeping the area as dry as possible, because moisture increases the chance of getting jock itch.

In case jock itch is caused by fungal infection, the treatment will consist of anti-fungal washes, ointments and lotions. Oral anti-fungal medication is rarely required for jock itch because this type of infection is usually mild and easily cured with topical treatment. The treatment may last from several days to couple of weeks, depending on the extent of the infection.

Complications of chronic jock itch

Normally, jock itch resolves very quickly so the complications are rare. However, chronic jock itch increases the risk of the infection spreading to other areas of the body, for example on the thighs or genitals. Scratching the area may cause secondary infection, such as cellulitis or abscessed skin.

Another possible complication is hypopigmentation or hyperpigmentation, in which the skin becomes lighter or darker that the regular skin color.

Scarring is not a common complication of jock itch.

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