Jock itch is a relatively mild fungal infection of the skin localized on the groin area, inner thighs and buttocks. The condition is also known under the name tinea cruris or ringworm of the groin.
This fungal infection is more frequent among men in whom it can additionally spread to the scrotum. The area affected by jock itch is warm and moist and these represent excellent conditions for fungal invasion.
Jock Itch development
Jock itch develops in a form of red, itchy rash that is usually ring shaped. If left untreated, the affected skin may breakdown and become more susceptible to secondary bacterial infection. The infection is frequently reported among people who sweat profusely and in obese individuals. Jock itch is not a serious infection and can be easily dealt with. Only in immunocompromised people, the infection may be more complex and a cause of different complications.
Jock Itch Clinical Characteristics
As it has already been mentioned this infection affects the groin area i.e. the genitals, inner thighs, buttocks and anal area while in men it can additionally spread onto the scrotum. The affected skin is covered in red rash, is rather itchy, flaking and peeling. There may also be cracks which make the skin more susceptible to bacterial infections. After some time the rash becomes dry, bumpy and rough. Bacterial infection leads to formation of pus bumps and oozing.
In neglected cases the person may develop secondary complications like severe skin damage, open sores, ulcer and in most extreme cases one ends up with cellulitis.
Jock Itch Treatment
Mild cases of jock itch can be easily treated with over-the-counter anti-fungal medications available in a form of creams, ointments, lotions, powder or sprays. These are supposed to be used according to chemist's orders. The treatment lasts approximately 3-4 weeks which is sufficient enough to eradicate fungi and prevent disease recurrence.
Persistent infection and recurring ones require treatment with more potent anti-fungal medications such as azoles or allylamines. Treatment with allylamines is more expensive but it generally lasts shorter.
The most common over-the-counter medications for jock itch are terbinafine, naftifine, miconazole and clotrimazole. Prescribed ones, on the other hand, include econazole, oxiconazole, itraconazole, fluconazole and terbinafine.
Apart from medicamentous treatment, patients are additionally advised to wear only 100% cotton and loose underwear and wash the affected skin 2-3 times per day with a gentle soapless cleanser. At night one is supposed to sleep without wearing any clothes which allows the infected area to heal quickly. Finally, by avoiding sharing personal items further spread of the infection can be successfully prevented.