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Jock itch - all about it

Q: What is Jock itch? What are the causes leading to this kind of itch and what is the treatment for this? Is it a long term treatment and can there be a relapse of this skin problem?

A:Jock Itch or Tinea Cruris. Almost every man, at one time or another, has experienced jock itch. It’s called jock itch because it often affects male athletes or jocks. And women can get it too, though it’s more common in men. It starts out as an itch or a burning sensation on your upper thighs, in the folds of skin in your groin, or on the area called the perineum between the scrotum and the anus. Jock itch sometimes affects the scrotum or the anus, but it doesn’t usually affect the penis. Within hours or days, it can feel like it’s consuming your whole life with pain and itch. What is it? Jock itch isn’t a medical term, and it can mean many things, but it always refers to irritation and itching in the genital and groin area.If it’s a mild, reddish irritation or burning on your inner thighs or groin (between the thigh and the abdomen), it could be simple chafing from tight-fitting underwear combined with heat and sweat. Or it could be an allergy to soaps, laundry detergents, or synthetic fabrics, or a reaction to a new medication. If you recently started a new sport or a walking or jogging regimen, if you’ve been wearing a new type of athletic clothing (such as tight bike shorts), or if you’ve sweated more than usual while working out on a hot day, it might not be too serious. How one gets it? The groin area is a perfect environment for bacteria and fungus growth. Dark and sweat is just what tinea cruris needs to flourish. Jock itch isnt really contagious if you don’t provide a hospitable environment for it. But since it’s the same fungus that causes athlete’s foot, you could get it from drying yourself with a towel that was on the floor used by someone else. Or you could get it from using a friend’s towel that has come in contact with the fungus. After you put on tight underwear and sweat some more, the fungus grows. If you don’t shower, rinse and dry thoroughly, change your underwear, and wear a fresh athletic supporter or gym shorts the next day, it continues to grow. What should one do about it? If it’s just a mild rash and not too bothersome, keep the area clean and dry and give it a few days. If it seems a little more serious than a rash, if you experience burning while urinating, or if the rash or blisters affect the penis, you should see a doctor to rule out a urinary tract infection or a STD such as genital herpes or scabies. Most cases of jock itch can be treated at home. There are many over-the-counter antifungal ointments, creams, and powders designed especially for jock itch, and they’re available at almost any pharmacy. While the fungus that causes jock itch is often the same one that causes athlete’s foot, not all preparations for athlete’s foot are appropriate for the more sensitive skin in the groin area. Follow the instructions carefully, and use the ointment for the prescribed amount of time (usually about two weeks). Even if it seems like the problem is gone, the fungus may continue to grow again if it’s not completely eradicated.If the problem seems more serious than a minor irritation, or if it doesn’t go away with an at-home treatment, your best bet is to see your doctor. He or she may prescribe a stronger treatment than you can buy for yourself, and you may need to use it for an extended period of time. If your infection involves other parts of the body, such as the scalp or nails, an oral antifungal may be prescribed for you. In addition, your doctor may want to have a laboratory analysis performed to confirm the diagnosis, especially if it hasn’t responded to at-home treatments. Prevention includes- Bathe or shower regularly and rinse completely. Avoid strong or deodorant soaps as they can be irritating. Dry thoroughly. Wear loose-fitting, absorbent cotton boxer shorts. Avoid tight-fitting underwear or clothes. Change underwear at least once a day, more often if you work out or sweat heavily. Don’t share towels. Use a fresh towel after each shower. Change out of a wet swim suit or sweaty clothing as soon as possible. Sleep naked to allow the area to remain dry.

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