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Jock itch, medically known as tinea cruris, is a fungal infection that normally affects the groin. The jock itch may also transfer to the skin around the genitals, inner tights, penis, scrotum, labia, vaginal opening and buttocks. This common itchy rash can be very intense and it is usually seen in men but, women may get the jock itch, too. Patients with diabetes and obesity are at somewhat higher risk of developing this fungal infection. The name “jock itch” refers to the nature of this condition, as it often occurs in people who sweat a lot.

Symptoms of jock itch

The symptoms of jock itch may come and go, and in many cases this unpleasant condition resolves spontaneously without any treatment. The itch is characterized by symmetrical red or pink rash on the sides of the groin folds. It may differ in appearance, from a dry and scaly rash to a collection of small red or pink bumps at each hair follicle. Some of the patients may complain about flaking, peeling or cracking skin and itching in the anal area. The itching is often accompanied by a burning sensation.

Causes of jock itch

Jock itch is caused by a particular type of fungi called Dermatophytes. The same type of fungi causes athlete’s foot and ringworm. These fungi normally live on the human skin but as any other type of micro organism, fungi flourish in dark and moist areas of the skin. The overgrowth of fungi is sometimes caused by irritation from tight or abrasive underwear, excess moisture, sweating, skin rubbing or friction, allergic problems, fungal infection, Candida infection and bacterial overgrowth or skin infection. Patients with diabetes, obesity and those with a compromised immune system like in HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, chronic illnesses, cancer, systemic chemotherapy, immunosuppressive drugs like Prednisone, may be more prone to jock itch.

Is jock itch contagious?

The answer is – yes. Jock itch can spread from one to another by sharing the same contaminated towels or clothing. Another common route of transmission is through a direct contact during a sexual intercourse. However, jock itch is preventable but it requires good general skin hygiene and keeping your groin clean and dry. The groin and buttocks should be washed with soap, especially after exercise and excessive sweating. your work clothes, underwear and swimwear should be washed and replaced after each use. One should always wash clothes and underwear in hot soapy water. White cotton underwear will minimize groin moisture, and polyesters, nylon or synthetic fibers could aggravate the condition.

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