Your best bet for preventing jock itch is good hygiene. Good hygiene will also go a long way toward getting rid of it if you already have it. Other times, advanced measures are called for.
You may know right away you have jock itch, especially if you've had it before. If not, a doctor can diagnose it visually, and will usually confirm suspicions with a simple skin swab. A bacterial culture may be collected to make sure you don't have a staph infection.
Some simple adjustments can be made to turn the tide on jock itch. For starters, wash several times a day with a non-soap cleanser or even just water. You don't want to use soap because it may agitate your now-sensitive skin.
If you have a large pile of unwashed shorts, underwear or athletic supporters somewhere, you're going to want to start washing those regularly. Since your skin is sensitive right now, don't launder clothes using fabric softeners or scented detergents. Also, make cotton the fabric of your fungal life. This material breathes well, and will help eliminate some of the damp or confined conditions that can occur when you wear other materials, especially during or after exercise.
There are several over-the-counter anti-fungal sprays, shampoos and creams available. These should be applied after bathing or cleaning the affected area. Topical treatments may include clotrimazole, which keeps fungal cells from developing membranes. Betamethasone is another common topical medication that suppresses inflammation and prevents your body's natural immune response to the skin agitation from worsening the situation. These two drugs are commonly combined in the same cream or lotion.
Anti-fungal medications should be rubbed onto affected areas, which should then be left unbandaged and allowed to "breathe" as much as possible. Of course, follow all directions for the product you use, and if you don't see any improvements in about a week, consult with your doctor. If you have a particularly stubborn case of jock itch, your doctor may prescribe anti-fungal pills that should knock it out.
Once jock itch goes away, you may notice discoloration in the area that has healed. This should go away with a little time, and scarring is unusual.
For lots more information on jock itch and skin care, see the next page.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Alai, Nili N., MD. "Jock Itch." MedicineNet. (Oct 2, 2009)http://www.medicinenet.com/jock_itch/article.htm
- American Academy of Family Physicians. "Tinea Infections: Athlete's Foot, Jock Itch and Ringworm." American Family Physician. July 1998. (Oct. 1, 2009)http://www.aafp.org/afp/980700ap/980700b.html
- American Medical Association. "Tinea (Fungal Skin Infection)." (Oct. 1, 2009) http://www.medem.com/?q=medlib/article/ZZZ8W2QJU9C
- American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. "Fungus Infections: Tinea." (Oct. 1, 2009) http://www.aocd.org/skin/dermatologic_diseases/fungus_infections.html
- Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. "Here's the Rub: Relief Available for Groin Rashes." Aug. 13, 2009. (Sept. 28, 2009)http://www.mayoclinic.org/news2009-mchi/5376.html
- Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. "Jock itch." June 23, 2009. (Oct. 1, 2009) http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/jock-itch/DS00490
- MedlinePlus. "Jock itch." Apr. 17, 2009. (Oct. 1, 2009) http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000876.htm
- Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD. "Clotrimazole and betamethasone." Jan. 9, 2009. (Oct. 2, 2009) http://www.medicinenet.com/clotrimazole_and_betamethasone_dipropionate/article.htm
- University of Maryland Medical Center. "Jock itch." Apr. 12, 2007. (Oct. 1, 2009) http://www.umm.edu/ency/article/000876.htm
- Weinstein, Andrew, M.D.; Berman, Brian, M.D., PH.D. "Topical Treatment of Common Superficial Tinea Infections." American Family Physician. May 15, 2002.http://www.aafp.org/afp/20020515/2095.html