Jock Itch (Tinea Cruris, General)

Jock itch (tinea cruris) is a red, itchy rash in the groin caused by a fungal infection. It occurs in skin folds where it's warm and moist. It often starts as a small, red, itchy patch that grows larger. The patch may be in the shape of a round ring, 1 to 2 inches wide. (Because of its shape, this type of fungal infection is called ringworm, even though there isn't a worm involved.) It may cause the skin to flake. Anyone can get this infection. But it's more common in the area where the scrotum (the skin that covers a person's testicles) touches the thigh. This infection is treated with skin creams or oral medicine.

Home care

  • If you were prescribed a cream, use it exactly as directed by your healthcare provider.

  • You can buy some antifungal creams without a prescription. Follow the instructions on the medicine package.

  • It may take a week before the fungus starts to go away. It can take about 2 to 3 weeks to completely clear. To stop the rash from coming back, keep using the medicine until the rash is all gone.

  • Wash the area at least once a day with soap and water. Pat dry and apply medicine. 

  • Wear loose-fitting underwear to let your skin breathe. Change your underwear daily.

  • Once the rash is gone, keep the area clean and dry to prevent reinfection. If reinfection is a problem, use a medicated antifungal powder daily. This is available over the counter.

Prevention

These tips may help prevent jock itch:

  • Don't share clothes, towels, or sports gear with others unless the items have been washed.

  • Shower after any sport that has skin-to-skin contact.

  • Change your underwear daily.

  • Keep skin clean and dry. Dry yourself completely after showering or swimming.

  • If you are overweight, lose weight.

  • Don't wear tight underwear.

  • Treat athlete's foot if it occurs. This can spread to your groin. Wear sandals, or other footwear, if at a public pool, gym, or locker room. The fungus can get on your feet from the floor and cause athlete's foot.

  • If your pet has patches of missing hair or a rash, take it to the vet to check for ringworm. The fungus can transfer from your pet to you.

  • Don't touch or share personal items with people who have ringworm.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider, or as advised. Call your provider if the rash is not starting to improve after 10 days of treatment, or if the rash continues to spread.

When to get medical advice

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:

  • Increasing pain in the rash area

  • Redness that spreads around the rash

  • Fluid draining from the rash

  • Rash returns soon after treatment

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as advised by your provider

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