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Jock itch (tinea cruris)


Disease: Jock itch (tinea cruris) Jock itch (tinea cruris)
Category: Dermatological diseases

Disease Definition:

The fungal infection that affects the skin of the inner thighs, buttocks and genitals is called jock itch (tinea cruris). In these warm and moist areas of the body, jock itch causes an itch, red, usually ring-shaped rash.


Although anyone, even women, could get this infection, but jock itch is common in people who are overweight, and people who sweat a lot, such as athletes. That's where jock itch gets its name from.


Except for people with weak immune systems, jock itch usually isn't serious, despite the fact that it could be uncomfortable and bothersome. Jock itch could be treated by keeping the groin area clean and dry and applying topical antifungal medications.

Work Group:

Symptoms, Causes


Some of the signs and symptoms of jock itch may include:


  • A burning sensation in the affected area
  • Itching and redness in the groin, including the genitals, inner thighs, buttocks and anal area
  • Flaking, peeling or cracking skin in the groin.


Wearing underwear or tight clothing may be uncomfortable when someone has jock itch. The signs and symptoms could worsen and the rash could be aggravated by walking or exercising.


In case a person has a rash on his/her skin that doesn't improve within two weeks, they should see a doctor. A person should also see a doctor in case excessive redness, swelling, drainage or fever occurs. In these cases, prescription medication may be needed. 


The fungi called dermatophytes causes jock itch. These are microscopic organisms that are normal inhabitants of the skin, and as long as the skin is clean and dry, their growth stays in check. However, the fungi could grow and thrive, resulting in a fungal infection, on some areas of the body where skin is likely to be moist and warm, such as the groin.


The same type of fungus that causes athlete's foot and sometimes ringworm of the scalp causes this infection. As a matter of fact, if a person has athlete’s foot infection, the fungus could spread from the foot to the groin area.


Some of the ways that jock itch could spread from one person to another are:


  • Direct contact during sexual intercourse with someone who has the infection
  • Shared use of contaminated towels or clothing.





Someone with this condition may be suggested using an over-the-counter antifungal ointment, spray, lotion or powder, in case their jock itch is mild. Two types of antifungal medications could treat jock itch – azoles or allylamines. Azoles require longer treatment time, while allylamines require a shorter treatment time, but are more expensive.


Usually, infections respond will to these over-the-counter and prescription topical medications:






However, someone may need a prescription-strength topical or oral medication in case jock itch is severe, or if it doesn't respond to over-the-counter medications. Some of the prescription-strength medications may include:






In case someone has athlete's foot and jock itch, to make sure that both of the infections don't recur, both of the conditions should be treated at the same time. 


Rash, abnormal liver function and gastrointestinal upset are some of the side effects of oral medications. In case a person is taking other medications, such as antacid therapies for ulcer disease or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), they could interfere with the absorption of these drugs. The effectiveness of warfarin, which is an anticoagulant drug that decreases the clotting ability of the blood, could be altered in case a person is taking oral medications for fungal infection.


Fungal skin infections could also be treated with griseofulvin, which is an oral medication. This medication could take longer to clear up the infection, but it's quite effective. Discomfort in the digestive tract, a drop in the white blood cell count, headache, sensitivity to light and rashes are some of the potential side effects of this medication. Griseofulvin could be used for people who:


Have other medical conditions that could be negatively affected by other medications, such as people with liver disease
Are allergic to other antifungal medications.


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