Jock Itch (Tinea Cruris) - Causes | Symptoms | Diagnosis | Treatment
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Jock Itch (Tinea Cruris) - Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Published on Feb 28, 2020 and last reviewed on Jul 19, 2023   -  4 min read


Jock itch, also called tinea cruris, is a type of fungal infection that commonly affects men. It causes itchy skin lesions near the groin and thighs. To know more about its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment, read the article.

Jock Itch (Tinea Cruris) - Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

What Is Jock Itch?

Jock itch, otherwise called tinea cruris, is a fungal infection that usually affects men. It gives rise to rashes in the skin of the genitals, inner thighs, and buttocks. The rashes are itchy, pink or red, and mostly ring-shaped. They generally develop in the warm and moist parts of the body, as it is the perfect environment for the fungus to grow.

Mold-like fungi known as dermatophytes often cause jock itch. These fungi live on human skin, hair, and nails. They are usually harmless, but due to poor hygiene and sweat, they find the perfect environment to multiply and cause infection.

Jock itch is more common in athletes, obese people, and people who sweat a lot. It is not a serious infection but can cause discomfort and irritation. This infection is treated by keeping the groin area clean and dry and by applying antifungal powder or cream.

What Does a Jock Itch Look Like?

Jock itch starts with mild itching in the groin, which progresses to become severe. The rash appears on both sides of the groin and mainly affects the folds. The signs and symptoms of jock itch are:

  • Redness.

  • Constant itching.

  • Burning or stinging sensation.

  • The skin becomes red or pink.

  • The skin looks flaky or cracking.

  • The rash worsens with physical activity.

  • The rash worsens with the application of Hydrocortisone cream.

The areas affected are the groin, inner thighs, and it may spread to the buttocks and abdomen. The scrotum is generally not affected. If the rash does not get better in a couple of weeks or keeps coming back, then consult a dermatologist immediately.

The rash may form pus-filled blisters and ooze, or it may dry out and become rough. Jock itch can also affect women, and it can result in rashes in the labia, vagina, and anus. Women might also have white vaginal discharge.

What Are the Causes of Jock Itch?

Jock itch is a highly contagious fungal infection. It can spread from person to person through contact or sharing clothes. Individuals can also get infected by using exercise equipment that has this fungus on its surface.

This fungus thrives in warm and moist environments, so people who sweat a lot due to being overweight or exercising are at risk. Some of the other factors that increase the risk of developing jock itch are:

  1. Men are more susceptible than women.

  2. People who sweat a lot.

  3. Obese or overweight people as they have more skin folds.

  4. Diabetic patients.

  5. Teenagers and young adults are more susceptible.

  6. Individuals who wear tight clothes and innerwear, as these garments retain moisture in the skin.

  7. Immunocompromised patients or people with a weak immune system.

How Is Jock Itch Diagnosed?

The physician will be able to diagnose jock itch with the help of the symptoms and appearance. In some cases, the doctor might suggest individuals get some of the following tests:

  • Skin Lesion KOH Exam - A sample is collected by scraping the lesion, which is then covered with a drop of potassium hydroxide (KOH) and examined under a microscope. This will confirm a fungal infection.

  • Fungal Culture Test - Sometimes, skin scraping is given for a fungal culture.

  • Wood’s Light Examination - Light is used to examine the rash.

  • Skin Biopsy - In rare cases, a small skin sample is cut from the lesion for lab examination.

Skin biopsies are rarely done to distinguish jock itch from the following similar-looking conditions:

  1. Ringworm infection.

  2. Inverse psoriasis.

  3. Contact dermatitis.

  4. Intertrigo.

  5. Impetigo.

  6. Diaper rash.

  7. Heat rash.

  8. Familial pemphigus.

What Are the Treatment Options of Jock Itch?

Home Remedies:

Most cases of jock itch can be treated effectively with the following home remedies -

  • Wash the groin area and other affected areas properly with soap and warm water.

  • Pat these areas dry with a soft towel gently.

  • Dry the area properly after exercise.

  • Individuals can apply over-the-counter antifungal cream or powder on the rash.

  • Wash the clothes and undergarments properly.

  • Always wear loose cotton clothes.

  • Make it a point to change the undergarments daily.

If there is no improvement after a few weeks, see a doctor right away.

Medications: If individuals use over-the-counter medications or employ home treatments for jock itch and their symptoms do not improve, a doctor may prescribe something stronger. Topical and oral medicines are two alternatives.
  • Topical medications - Econazole, Oxiconazole.

  • Oral medications - Itraconazole, Fluconazole.

Side effects of oral antifungal medicines include stomach upset and headaches. If individuals have any of these adverse effects, consult with a doctor.

What Are the Steps to Prevent Jock Itch?

There are various strategies to lessen the chances of getting jock itch, including:

  • Maintain good hygiene. Hand washing on a regular basis can considerably lower the chances of contracting this virus from someone else. It is also critical to keep the skin clean and dry, particularly around the groin.

  • Wash the region with soap on a regular basis and thoroughly dry it after bathing. Applying baby powder around the groin might also help to keep excess wetness at bay.

  • Avoid wearing apparel that is too tight. Tight clothing can irritate or scrape the skin, making one more prone to jock itch. Instead of boxer briefs, one may consider wearing boxer shorts.

  • In hot or humid weather, wear loose clothing. Sweating and the warm, damp environment in which fungus flourishes can be avoided by wearing loose clothing. After each use, make sure to wash any training clothes or athletic supporters.

  • If one has an athlete's foot, seek treatment as soon as possible. Jock itch is caused by the same fungi that cause athlete's foot and vice versa. One can avoid spreading it to the groin by not using the same towel on both feet and the groin.


Jock itch is a bothersome condition. It is uncomfortable and irritating. It may sting or burn as well. Antifungal drugs or home cures, on the other hand, can help one get rid of jock itch. If one scrapes the groin, the fungus will spread to other parts of the body. It is also critical to stick to the doctor's treatment regimen. If one fails to complete the entire course of medication, jock itch may reappear. Inquire with the physician about preventing jock itch from extending to other parts of the body or people.

Frequently Asked Questions


What Is the Easiest Way to Cure Jock Itch?

The following is the list of easy home remedies that can help cure a jock itch.
- Topical application of an over-the-counter antifungal cream, powder, or spray at the affected area.
- Wash the affected area frequently with soap and lukewarm water.
- Maintain the affected area dry throughout, especially after bathing and exercise.
- Change your clothes and undergarments every day.
- Prefer to wear loose cotton items or clothing.


Can Jock Itch Be Cured Without Any Treatment?

Yes, jock itches sometimes cure entirely on their own without any proper treatment. Most people affected with jock itch are not contagious. However, cases that are caused by an infection may sometimes be transmitted through skin to skin contact or sexual contact. The other reasons would be sharing clothes or bath towels.


Is Jock Itch an Indication of STD?

Jock itch is medically called the tinea Cruris. It is a groin infection which is caused by a fungus. The most common fungus which causes this infection is trichophyton. It lives in warm, moist areas. Jock itch is not a sexually transmitted infection. It is known as jock itch only because male athletes are the ones who are commonly affected by it.


Can Women Get Affected by Jock Itch?

Jock itch is a condition that is more common in men, but women can get affected by it, too. The fungus can be transmitted from any contact with a genital area. It can cause many other types of fungal infections.


What Happens If Jock Itch Is Left Untreated?

When jock itch is left untreated, it can be more likely to get transmitted to others. In many people, tinea infections can be easily cured with over-the-counter (OTC) topical antifungal creams. You should consult your doctor regarding jock itch.


Does Jock Itch Have Any Unpleasant Odour?

Flaking, peeling, or cracking skin are the most commonly seen symptoms in a person affected by jock itch. When the affected region is heavily scratched, the skin may break and peel. A foul odor can result due to chronic untreated jock itch.


What Is the Best Way to Treat Jock Itch?

The best way to treat jock itch is to apply a topical cream that contains the active ingredient terbinafine. It is a very strong fungicidal. It is formulated such that it stays in the affected skin and kills the fungus that causes the jock itch infection and inhibits its growth.


How Does a Jock Itch Fungus Appear Like?

Jock itch infection in its early stages is seen as a reddened area of skin. It is most commonly seen in the groin region. It then starts to spread to the upper thigh region, typically in a half-moon shape. The rash may be seen ring-shaped and bordered with a thin line of small blisters.


How Long Does Jock Itch Take to Get Resolved?

Jock itch can be treated within a few weeks from the onset of the disease. However, it has a greater chance of recurring. Treatment for long term untreated infections may last for a period of one or two months.


What Is the Best Remedy for Tinea Cruris?

Once a person is clinically diagnosed to have been affected with tinea cruris, it can be best treated with a topical Allylamine or an Azole antifungal formulation.


Is Tinea Cruris a Serious Condition?

No, jock itch is usually not a serious condition if it is adequately treated by keeping the groin area clean and dry. Also, by applying topical antifungal medications to the affected skin, it can be cured within a few weeks.


How Long Can Tinea Cruris Infection Be Contagious?

Tinea cruris is an infection of the skin, which is primarily caused by the tiny fungus spores. Those spores usually reproduce in the dead and outer layers of a person’s skin. This condition remains contagious as long as those spores are alive.


Can Tinea Cruris Be Cured Naturally?

The most commonly used natural remedy in the treatment of tinea cruris is aloe vera. Aloe vera can treat the ringworm infection, and also it can help in soothing the symptoms such as itchiness, inflammation, and discomfort.


What Are the Symptoms of Tinea Cruris Infection?

The following are the symptoms seen in patients affected by tinea cruris infection:
- Prolonged itching.
- Burning sensation at the reddened skin region.
- Flaking, peeling, or cracking of the affected skin.
- Rash that usually gets worse with exercise or other physical activities.
- Change of skin color in the affected area.


Can Tinea Go Away on Its Own?

No, tinea cruris in most people do not go away on its own. For effective cure, it always requires to be treated with topical creams, lotions that contain antifungals. In severe cases, you can consult.


What Are the Various Causes Jock Itch in Females?

The following are the various causes of jock itch in females:
- Warmth.
- Skin friction.
- Tight clothing and undergarments that trap in sweat.
- Certain other infections are caused by a fungus such as Candida,
- Trichophyton, and Epidermophyton.


How Will I Know If My Jock Itch Is Healing?

The following are the signs that indicate the healing of your jock itch:
- The rash and redness begin to fade.
- Skin returns to its usual color.
- Associated symptoms such as itchiness or irritation also start to subside gradually.

Article Resources

Last reviewed at:
19 Jul 2023  -  4 min read




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