Jock itch or intertrigo is a rash that affects groins, inner thighs and the scrotum in men. It is caused by sweating, rubbing, friction or abrasion of the skin and clothes or by rubbing of skin on skin.
This rash may affect other parts of the body and not just the groin, for example, the anus or any other part of the body with overlapping skin. Women seem to suffer less from jock itch than men do, but they tend to develop a similar rash under their breasts. Obese people may get it any part of the body that folds and rubs against another part.
Risk factors for developing jock itch includes heat, humidity, tight clothes and damp skin folds.
There are some other skin conditions that have symptoms similar to jock itches are like psoriasis, allergic contact dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis and several other conditions.
Jock itch is related to infections by different microorganisms, usually fungus and bacteria. The key factors that trigger the infection are humidity and friction. However, even non-infected skin can develop a jock itch if there is abrasion, sweat and friction involved, which irritate the skin.
People who take a lot of antibiotics and whose immune system is weakened are more prone to jock itch, and the same goes for those who suffer from diabetes.
Tight clothes or athletic supporters can increase the risk of jock itch. In this case the rash can be prevented by rubbing petroleum jelly or similar lubricants in generous amounts.
Fungal infections can easily be contracted by contact because the spores can survive on objects for a long period of time. This is why people who spend time in closed environments with other people, share personal items like sheets, towels and similar, are more at risk of having a fungal infection.
If the jock itch is mild, doctors usually prescribe over the counter antifungal medicines, usually azoles or allylamines. Azoles are cheaper but they require a longer treatment.
For severe cases of jock itch or the cases that do not respond to over the counter medications, prescription-strength creams and ointments or oral medication may be required.
In some cases jock itch is caused by a pre-existing athlete’s foot,which is a fungal infection of the feet, and in those cases it is advised to treat the feet as well so the infection does not simply come back.
The treatment for jock itch is usually effective even for severe cases however people whose immune system is impaired for some reason or people who have AIDS may need a longer treatment.