Jock Itch (Tinea Cruris)

What is Jock Itch?

Jock itch or Tinea cruris  is  easily recognized. It is an infection of the skin caused by ringworm (Tinea) which is actually a fungus, not a worm. Usually the skin in the area of  inner thighs, buttocks, genitals and scrotum are affected. This is because the fungus grows well in warm and most areas of the body.  Jock itch looks like a rash shaped like a ring. The skin is usually red and irritated.  Sometimes women can get ringworm too, but it is not as common.  Obese people who have areas of skin rubbing against other skin and who sweat a lot are also likely to get this infection. Often athletes or people involved in sports are the ones who get this infection. That is how the name “Jock itch” came about.

Types of Ringworms on Humans

  • Jock itch (Tinea cruris) this is a skin infection at or near the groin.
  • Nail ringworm (Tinea unguium)  Onychomycosis  affects your nails and makes them stiff, brittle and opaque. The most common people to have this condition are those with peripheral vascular disease and women who use artificial nails.
  • Scalp ringworm (Tinea capitis) is usually found in children because of  poor hygiene Sores called keroins on the scalp are cause by a fungus,Tricophyton tonsurans.
  • Athlete’s foot (Tinea pedis)  painful rashes, scaling or peeling on toes and fingers and the space between each of them, caused by Trycophyton.  Often transmitted in public showers or bathrooms or similar wet areas.
  • Beard ringworm (Tinea barbae) “Barber’s itch”  occurs in the beards of adolescent and adult males. The cause is Zoophilic and Antro-pophilic fungi. In children or on females it is called Tinea faciei. [3]

Is Jock Itch Contagious?

The primary way these infections are spread is through sex.  In addition, sharing towels, clothing, swimsuits or not washing your hands after contact with the infected area will spread this fungus.   If you go to a public pool or gym often, get a shower before and after you go there.

Jock Itch Causes

  • Warm and moist areas of inner thighs and the groin are perfect for the fungus that causes jock itch.
  • Wearing tight-fitting underwear that keep the area bathed in sweat for long time periods of  time contributes to rashes and irritation from growth of fungi.
  • People who perspire profusely and obese people are especially likely to develop these infections.
  • Use of public swimming pools, locker rooms and showers or sharing the clothing from an infected person will quickly spread the infection. Trychophytin and Epidermophyton floccosum thrive in these areas.
  • People with inadequate immune systems, perhaps because of diabetes, chemotherapy, AIDS/HIV or hepatitis are very vulnerable.  Also if you are taking medication which is an immunosuppressant you are at risk.
  • Diverse food allergies or intolerance can contribute to the growth of the offending fungus, for instance, yeast, gluten or lactose or fructose sensitivity.
  • Humidity, friction and heat may also be causes of jock itch. Some women will get it beneath their breasts.
  • Poor blood circulation and low blood oxygen also contribute to fungus growth.
  • Patients with diabetes may also develop yeast infections.  Candida albicans may cause abscesses on the tip of penis.

Jock Itch Pictures

Jock Itch : Photo 1

Jock Itch : Photo 2

Jock Itch : Photo 3

(Jock Itch images – source : http://atlasdermatologico.com.br)


Jock Itch Symptoms

  • The initial simple symptoms of jock itch  is mild recurrent irritations in the groin and the skin nearby, including the inner thighs. This is followed by burning sensations.
  • Rashes are ring-shaped about an inch in size, light red or pink color at first. Later the rash may become dry or bumpy or possibly have pus that seeps out.
  • Discoloration of the skin such as lighter or darker than normal skin color may result. This can be either hypopigmentation or hyperpigmentation.
  • Signs of jock itch can include blisters or keroins
  • Tenia pedis results in skin flaking in toes and is extremely itchy.

Jock Itch Treatment & Cure

Jock itch can be treated and cured with anti-fungal medications and jock itch remedies which inhibit the growth of the fungus. Most ointments contain terbinafine, lotrimin, oxiconazole, ciclopirox, naftifine, micatin, econazole nitrate or tolnaftate (Tinactin). These formulas prevent the fungi from making  works to ergosterol, thus the cell membrane cannot be secure and its growth is inhibited or terminated.

To soothe itching, sometimes glucocorticoid steroids are used. They will also prevent secondary infections.

You can learn how to treat jock itch with self-care tips such as these:

  • Antibacterial soaps will  not help because it is caused by a fungus, not a bacteria.
  • Use soap containing  coconut oil essentials.
  • Wash with water.
  • Apply petroleum based jelly as lubricant to suppress itchy feeling and burning sensation.
  • To restore a natural acidic layer on your skin and to minimize the smell, use  warm water mixed with apple cider vinegar or lemon juice.
  • Avoid tight clothing.
  • Wear loose fitting cotton clothing. Boxers or shorts are good.
  • Allow the infected area access to more air if you sleep in the nude.
  • Bathe well after physical activity with plain water to get rid of the dirt and sweat on your body.
  • Mix coconut oil with 5 drops of tea tree oil or olive oil or tea tree oil and use it twice daily on the infected area. This helps kill the fungus.
  • Commercial, over the counter, Jock itch cream, can relieve the burning and itching. The spray or jock itch  powder can also help.

Though jock itch can be a distressing condition for the one who suffers from it, it is not permanent or lethal. This common condition has an excellent prognosis. Once it is diagnosed,  it can be  treated with over-the-counter medications or home remedies.  An extreme case can lead to chronic disfiguring or scarring and can be embarrassing. Therefore you should pay attention and take proper precautions at the first sign of infection.

References:

  1. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/jock-itch/DS00490/DSECTION=symptoms
  2. http://www.medicinenet.com/jock_itch/page6.htm#medication
  3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tinea_barbae
  4. http://www.emedicinehealth.com/jock_itch/page2_em.htm
  5. http://dermatology.about.com/cs/fungalinfections/a/jockitch.htm



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