How to cure Jock itch?
What is Jock itch & what is the best way to cure Jock Itch?
Jock itch as the name suggests is commonly seen in athletes. It is a fungal infection which occurs in people who sweat a lot. The genital region as well as groins, inner thighs and buttocks can get affected as they are areas of the body which are common to be moist and warm. Jock itch is contagious which means it can be passed from one person to another. The rash is also called Tinea cruris, caused by the fungus called Dermatophytes. This red, sometimes ring-shaped rash is intensely itchy. It can be a nuisance to have but the rash is not a serious one. It can be prevented by keeping your genital and groin areas clean and dry.
Jock itch is more common in males than in females. Some people are unfortunately more vulnerable to getting jock itch. They are people with diabetes, patients with a weak immune system, obese individuals, patients on certain medications like cancer chemotherapy and AIDS patients. They can get severe and frequent jock itch than others. Individuals who are suffering from jock itch for more than a month should immediately check for the best way to cure jock itch or contact your nearest doctor.
What are the symptoms of Jock itch?
- It is a red color rash.
- It starts from the crease of the groin (where the fungus survives within the crease) and spreads out from there into genitals, upper thighs and even lower abdomen and buttocks.
- There can be red or pink ring-shaped lesions
- The border which is active as the fungus is spreading is raised and sometimes has small blisters.
- Jock itch is intensely itchy. It may be really embarrassing if you get the urge to scratch while in a public place.
- Sometimes you may experience a burning sensation too
- The region can be dry, scaly and flakes may appear especially after scratching.
- Skin color will change and may remain even after cure
Complications of Jock itch
Usually, Jock itch is harmless although it is uncomfortable. Complications are rare. If scratched hard and continuously skin can get damaged and lead to infection. Sometimes skin will be cracked and be painful. It can spread to other areas of the body from touch, as it is the same form of fungus causing ringworm infection in the body and athletes foot. The skin color will change and it can remain for a long time even after the cure.
- Always keep your groins and genitals clean and dry.
- Take showers twice a day and dry with a clean towel.
- Avoid scratching as it can damage the skin and worsen the rash.
- Wash the genital region with warm water and soap 2 -3 times a day and dry well. Warm water reduces the urge to scratch.
- Apply a topical antifungal cream, powder or spray over the affected region twice a day. Over the counter antifungal creams are Clotrimazole (Lotrimin), Miconazole (Monistat, Micatin) and Terbinafine (Lamisil). Read the instruction leaflet carefully before use. Treatment should be continued for 6-8 weeks for complete recovery. Do not stop abruptly as resistance will develop to medicines if done so.
- Do not use OTC Hydrocortisone cream which is also known as the Anti-itch cream. It will worsen the rash and make it spread more. Although some doctors will combine a mild steroid along with an antifungal cream for a few days if there is a lot of redness and inflammation before treating only with a topical anti-fungal. However, it is best to avoid Hydrocortisone (anti-itch cream) if you are treating the rash by yourself.
- Zinc oxide ointment can be applied to sooth the area and reduce irritability. But unlike antifungals, it doesn’t cure the rash because fungus needs to be killed for complete healing.
It takes a long time to kill all the fungi, therefore uses an antifungal product for at least 6-8 weeks. If not, the remaining fungi will multiply and rash can reappear after some time.
- Use an antihistamine like cetirizine, Loratadine, Fexofenadine or Chlorpheniramine which are available as over the counter medicines to reduce itching. Itching is a distressing symptom. It always helps to stay itch free.
- Mild Jock itch can be treated by washing the groin region twice daily with an antifungal shampoo like Nizoral (containing Ketoconazole) or Selenium sulfide shampoo. However for moderate to severe Jock itch that is inadequate and topical application of an antifungal is necessary for cure.
When to seek help?
- When the rash doesn’t respond to your home remedies and OTC products used. Give the treatment products to act for 2 -3 weeks before you decide that it is not effective as it takes time. However, if it worsens or doesn’t respond, you will need a prescription for a stronger antifungal (like topical econazole or oxiconazole) or even oral antifungals (Flucanazole, itraconazole) if necessary.
- If there are features of infection like oozing from sores, pus, severe pain, fever, chills and lymph nodes in groin it is always better to seek treatment from a doctor.
Even after complete treatment and cure, the groin skin may be discolored for a long time. It is called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (darker than normal skin). Sometimes the skin color will turn lighter than usual after cure (post inflammatory hypopigmentation). It will take time for the original color to return provided you don’t get frequent jock itch.
Luckily there won’t be any permanent scars after healing.
Best way to cure Jock Itch
- Keep the genitals and groin region clean and dry always.
- If you sweat a lot, take regular showers and wipe the area dry with a clean towel. Once dry, the groin and genital region can be powdered afterward to prevent moisture.
- Wear fresh undergarments daily, change if you sweat a lot.
- Wear clean clothes.
- Do not share towels, clothes and especially underwear. Since Jock itch is a fungal infection and it is contagious.
- As it is common in obese individuals try to lose weight and maintain it.
- Avoid wearing tight underwear as the fungus thrives in closed environments which are moist.
- Wear loose cotton clothes and cotton undergarments.
- If you are an athlete, sports-wear you use should not be too tight, as frequent rubbing and friction can damage skin, making it more prone to Jock itch. Wear boxer shorts instead of briefs. Have your own body wash, soap and towels, so that you don’t have to borrow from anyone.
- Avoid bleach and strong laundry detergents when washing clothes as it may be irritable to your skin
- If there are other fungal infections like ringworm or Athletes foot get treatment for them. As it can spread to your genitals and give you Jock itch.
With complete treatment, the prognosis is very good with Jock itch. But it doesn’t mean that you cannot get it again, especially if you have risk factors. It can be embarrassing and distressing to get Jock itch. So taking preventive measures will protect you from getting frequent fungal infections.
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