Jock Itch: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Home Remedies

Most of the men suffer from ringworm of the groin area or genitals. This skin issue is termed as jock itch. It is also known as groin rash or tinea cruris. The name jock itch itself suggests that it’s a skin issue that causes itching and burning of the affected area. The term jock itch may make you think that this is a fungal skin infection that affects only athletes or jocks.

But no, Jock itch may affect any adolescent men and even females who sweat a lot or wear wet clothes for long durations. Then why is it termed as jock itch?? The reason behind is very clear. Athlete sweat a lot thus they are more prone to it.

What is jock itch

In general jock itch may be defined as ringworm or fungal infection of groin area where there are red and patchy rashes along with intense itching and involves folds of the groin and genitals. Thus, we can say that jock itch is a popular name given to itchy rash in the groin area and genitals.

Usually, this condition is seen around the groins but may spread to other parts of the body, such as genitals, penis, scrotum and the anus. In females, it may extend up to labia and vaginal opening. Do note that jock itch does not affect the entire body.

What are the symptoms of jock itch

The characteristic symptoms of jock itch are symmetrical pink or red rash. It usually involves the sides of the folds of the groin, but may also involve genitals. The first symptoms that appear are the itch that is mild and intermittent. Sometimes the itch becomes unbearable compelling you to scratch. But more you scratch worse is your symptoms. Other symptoms that may develop are dry scales, a collection of pinpoint pink or red bumps at the hair follicle or blisters that finally start oozing.

With the spread of the rashes to the thighs, central clearing occurs. In females, the infection may spread to the vagina and result in yeast infection and white discharge. Men who are not circumcised develop an infection of the head of their penis.

In severe cases, secondary complications develop, causing the breaking of the skin, ulcers and open sores. In rare cases, cellulitis may develop.

What causes jock itch

The most common causes of jock itch are fungal or yeast infection, poor hygiene, irritation, moisture, skin friction, humidity, too much exercise, excessive sweating, warmth, and overgrowth of the bacteria. Other causes include wearing tight and occlusive undergarments or clothes and obesity.

Who are more prone to jock itch

As mentioned above jock itch is common in males.  Men are more prone to jock itch because of their anatomic structure and male genitalia, but this condition may also affect females. Athletes and jocks are more prone to it. It is common in middle-aged men. Individuals suffering from obesity, diabetes, chronic illness, cancer, hepatitis, Aids/HIV are more susceptible to it, but it is frequently seen in otherwise healthy individuals.  Individuals on certain medications such as immunosuppressive drugs, prednisone, immune system modifying drugs also become an easy victim of jock itch.

Diagnosis of jock itch

Jock itch is easily diagnosed by its signs and symptoms. Your doctor may take a skin biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. This is usually a small skin biopsy and is taken occasionally and rarely in atypical cases. Skin biopsy helps to exclude other skin diseases.  Your doctor may also take a skin swab or culture and send it to the lab. This is done to the detecting the cause of jock itch.

There is no need of X—rays and CT scans. To check for the bacteria you can go for bacterial culture. To identify fungal cause microscopic examination of the skin scraping with the help of a wood-light or ultraviolet light using potassium hydroxide may be done.

Is jock itch contagious

In most of the cases, jock itch is not contagious, still avoid sexual contact and sharing towels and swimwear as it may transmit the fungus that causes jock itch to another person. Avoid scratching the affected area and immediately wash your hand if you scratch to prevent the spread of infection to the genitals and thighs.

What are the complications of jock itch

In very rare cases the rash of jock itch spread to the genital and thighs. In some cases, scratching exposes the skin to secondary infections and cause abscesses or cellulitis. Other potential complications include inflammatory hypopigmentation where there is skin discoloration. This is a temporary skin issue. In some cases after the rash improves skin color my alter. However, permanent scarring is very uncommon.

What is the treatment of jock itch

Jock itch is self-limited. It is easily cured even without medicines. But there are some uncommon cases where jock itch is long standing and not cured fully. These resistant cases are treated with proper medication.

The treatment options for jock itch includes general measures like cleaning groin area and keeping the groin area dry. Your doctor may give you zinc oxide cream or ointment to be applied to the affected part for a couple of weeks or a month.

In the case of fungal jock itch, you may be given anti-fungal shampoo. Wash your groin area with antifungal shampoo two times in a day. If jock itch is moderate then along with the shampoo antifungal cream is also prescribed. In severe cases besides antifungal shampoo and cream antifungal pills are also given.

In the case of bacterial jock itch,  antibacterial skin washes are prescribed and are to be used two times daily. In moderate cases, antibiotic lotion or cream is given to be applied after washing and drying the affected area. In severe bacterial jock itch along with antibacterial wash and topical antibiotics, oral antibiotics are given.

In the case over the counter medicines do not help you or despite treatment jock itch spreads or in the case of frequent flare-ups do consult your doctor.  Also, if the rash is spreading rapidly, in the case of pus formation, draining sores, increasing pain, fever or chills consult your doctor immediately.

Are there home remedies to treat jock itch

Yes, besides over the counter medications, there are is a big list of home remedies to provide you relieve and treat jock itch. In this article, I have compiled 13 potential home remedies for jock itch that are easily available and easy to use.

Top 13 home remedies for jock itch

  1. Apple cider vinegarApple cider vinegar is acidic in nature. It is effective in fighting against any type of fungal infection. By restricting the growth of fungus apple cider vinegar kills them. This is why it is used widely to treat a number of skin issues.

What to do

  • Dilute a cup of apple cider vinegar by adding water in the ratio 1:2.
  • Wash the affected part with the solution.
  • This is followed by letting the affected part dry on its own.
  • Repeat this 3 times every day until the symptoms subside.
  1. Salt bath– One of the major cause of jock itch is moisture. The property of salt to absorb moisture can be used to cure your condition. When salt is applied to the affected area, the excess of sweat is absorbed. This makes the area dry.  When there is no moisture fungi do not get a  suitable environment and their growth stops and they die. Eventually, your condition will improve.

Salt should not be applied directly to the rash area as it may cause burning.  Thus, before using it follow the instructions mentioned below:

How to use salt to treat jock itch

  • Take 5 tablespoons of salt
  • Add it to the bath water
  • Soak yourself in the bath water for 20minutes.
  • Pat yourself dry with a towel.
  • Do this 2 times in a day for a few days.
  1. Coconut oil – Coconut oil is a well known antibacterial and anti-fungal. It is an excellent moisturizer.

Since ages, it has been used to treat skin issues. The best part is that it is also a whitening agent. Coconut oil effectively reduces redness and minimizes pigmentation as well as scarring of the skin that may be a complication of jock itch in a few rare cases.

What to do

  • Take 4-5 drops of coconut oil
  • Apply it directly to the affected part.
  • Repeat this many times in a day

In a few days, you will surely find relief in your symptoms. In a few weeks, you will finally get rid of jock itch. To prevent future flare-ups, make sure to be regular with the application of coconut oil.

  1. Tea tree oil- In any case of skin infection tea tree oil no doubt is the first choice as a home remedy. It fastens healing and has cleansing property. Also, it alleviates inflammation as well as relieves itching.

What to do:

Method 1.

  • Take 2-3 drops of tea tree oil.
  • Mix it with a teaspoon of jojoba oil to dilute it.
  • Apply this to the affected part with the help of a cotton ball.
  • Repeat this a few times in every day.

Method 2.

  • Add a few drops of tea tree oil to your bath water.
  • Soak yourself in it for 15 minutes.
  • Repeat this two times for a few days,

You will notice your symptoms disappearing in a couple of weeks.

  1. Garlic – The antimicrobial and antiseptic properties of garlic fights all kinds of infections. Also, it reduces itching and relieves inflammation.

What to do

  • Take 3-4 garlic cloves.
  • Crush the cloves and make a paste.
  • Apply this paste to the affected part.
  • Wait for 10-15 minutes.
  • Rinse off the affected part.
  • Repeat this several times in a day.

* If you have a sensitive skin, then avoid this as the application of garlic may cause burning.

Also, add garlic to your cooking. You may also eat it raw. Garlic boosts immunity. This will keep infections at the bay.

  1. Onion- Onion is a miracle vegetable. Onion possesses anti-microbial, antibiotic and antioxidant properties. Quercetin present in onion is a powerful antibiotic.  It can fight any fungal infection.  It can relief itchiness, inflammation, and pain.

What to do

  • Crush an onion and make its paste.
  • Apply the paste to the affected area.
  • Rinse off the affected part with warm water after 15 minutes.
  • With a towel, pat the area dry.
  • Repeat this 2 times in a day.

Besides this, add onion to the cooking and boost your immunity.

  1. Honey– The soothing property of honey will relieve pain and inflammation. Also, honey is an antimicrobial so treats the infection.

What to do:

  • Apply honey  directly to the affected area
  • After a few minutes, rinse it with warm water.
  • Pat the affected area dry with a towel.
  • Repeat this 2 times for a few days.
  1. Rubbing alcohol– As discussed above the main culprit behind jock itch is moisture.  In absence of moisture fungus causing jock itch is unable to thrive. Alcohol is a drying agent. It keeps the affected area dry and restricts fungus growth.

What to do:

  • Buy a bottle of 90 percent isopropyl alcohol from nearby pharma shops.
  • With the help of a cotton ball apply alcohol to the infected part.
  • Repeat this a few times in a day until you are relieved.
  1. Baking soda- Baking soda is antibacterial and it fights off fungal infections. It is present in almost everyone’s kitchen and thus is very easily available.

What to do:

There are two ways you can use baking soda to get rid of jock itch.

Method 1.

Take a tablespoon of baking soda.

Add the sufficient amount of water to it to make a thick paste.

Apply the paste to the affected area. After 20 minutes, rinse it off with warm water.

Repeat this 2 times in a day for a week or 2.

Method 2:

In case you find it difficult to apply the paste to the inner thigh or buttocks add 2 tablespoons baking soda to your bathtub and soak yourself in it for 20 minutes. This is followed by drying yourself with a towel. Repeat this every day until the symptoms subside.

  1. Bleach– The antiseptic, Antifungal and antibacterial properties of bleach can be used to treat jock itch.

What to do

  • Take 2 tablespoons of bleach
  • Add it into a bathtub filled with water.
  • Soak yourself in it for half an hour.
  • Pat yourself dry.
  1. Aloe vera- Aloe vera has a soothing and cooling effect. Also, it is antibacterial. It relieves pain and itch. Application of fresh aloe gel restricts the growth of yeast growing in the folds of skin. Aloe vera contains a compound known as glycoprotein that fastens healing and reduces pain and inflammation. Also, intake of aloe vera boosts body immunity.

What to do:

  • Take a leaf of aloe vera
  • Extract the gel
  • Apply the fresh gel of aloe vera to the infected area.
  • Leave it for 20 minutes.
  • Rinse off the affected area and pat it dry
  • Repeat this every day.
  1. Cornstarch- Cornstarch is the main ingredient of most of the baby powders, It is derived from the corn kernels and have the property to absorb the excess of moisture and make the skin environment impossible for the fungi to thrive.  Also, it will make your skin fresh and free from burning and soothing pain.

How to use:

  • Take a tablespoon of corn starch
  • Add sufficient amount of water to make a paste
  • Apply the paste to the affected part
  • Rinse it off after 15 minutes and pat the affected area dry with a towel.
  • Repeat this 2 times in day
  1. Oatmeal bath– The Oatmeal bath is really relaxing and the best way to get rid of the itch and promote healing. You may also add Epsom salt to the bath. Epsom salt contains magnesium sulfate and thus relieve pain and soreness.

What to do

  • Add a tablespoon of oatmeal and a tablespoon of Epsom salt to bath water.
  • Soak yourself in it for 20 minutes.
  • After 20 minutes dry you in air. Do not use a towel.
  • Repeat this once in a day.

Besides the above-mentioned home remedies follow a few general rules to prevent jock itch from spreading and its flare-up in the future:

  1. Take a bath regularly, especially after playing sports or swimming in public pools.
  2. Keep your body, especially the groin area dry.
  3. Do not share towels.
  4. Wear loose undergarments and clothing.
  5. Athletic supporters should be washed often.
  6. If you are obese better reduce some weight.
  7. Change your undergarments and your clothes regularly. And wash your undergarments regularly.
  8. If you have a fungal infection of other parts of your body, such as athlete’s foot or toenail fungus better avoid scratching and if you search wash your hand immediately.
  9. Eat lots of green vegetables and fruits to boost body’s immunity.
  10. Avoid taking bath with hot water.
  11. If you are suffering from jock itch avoid exercise and other physical activities that make your condition worse until you are cured.
  12. Avoid excess of coffee, tea, alcohol, refines sugar, processed food, and chocolates.

Jock itch is painful,  annoying,  embarrassing and irritating. Try above home remedies and better get rid of it as soon as possible.

Dr. Ritu Kumari Gupta

Professionally homeopathic physician and dietician Dr. Ritu Kumari Gupta is passionate about writing health and parenting blogs. She believes in a holistic approach to well-being and health.

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