Jock Itch or Tinea Crurisis is a stinging rash that appears in the groin. It can spread to the buttocks and inner thighs, if left untreated. Though it mostly affects men, women are also not immune to this annoying problem.
Causes Of Jock Itch:
Men are 10 times more susceptible than women to get a bout of jock itch. So, what causes this nasty rash that makes you do that unpleasant, unwelcome and disgusting action of scratching your groin in public? Here are the most common causes:
- Tight, non-skin friendly underwear: so say no to lycra and stick to cotton
- Fungal infections: mainly Trichophyton and Epidermophyton
- Yeast infections: Candida
- Bacterial infections: Corynebacterium
- Skin friction in thighs and groin: another good reason to slim down
- Build up of sweat and warmth in the groin
- Tight jeans and pants: no such thing as an itchy, scratchy hunk, guys!
Besides being uncomfortable and embarrassing, the jock itch can also become worse over time if left untreated. The rash may spread to the penis, scrotum, buttocks, anus and inner thighs in men and in the vulva, labia, buttocks, anus and inner thighs in women. It may take on a more aggressive look over time, changing from a simple rash to angry, red raised spots that are so sore that they can’t bear even the touch of fabric or water. So, before you leave your jock itch to Fate (and blame Fate for it, too!) try a good home remedy that will nip it in the bud.
Jock Itch – Are You Vulnerable?
Though anyone can contract Jock Itch at any age and during any season, some people are more susceptible to it than others. Find out if you fall into any of these categories:
- Obese people
- People with a weakened immune system
- People undergoing immunotherapy or chemotherapy
- People on immune system modifying medicines
- People living in hot, humid regions
- People afflicted by ringworm
- Athlete’s foot causing Tinea Pedis
- People with hyperhydrosis (excessive sweating)
- Women with poor hygiene, especially during their periods
Jock Itch – Common Symptoms:
The initial symptom of jock itch (common to both sexes) is an uncomfortable itching in the groin. Normally, the more folds your skin has, the worse your itch will be. The itching may sometimes clear up with better hygiene. When it doesn’t, it might progress to rough sores. In extreme cases, these sores may become oozy and pus-filled. The rash is symmetrical and will spread to both sides of the body evenly. Women may even develop vaginal infections if they leave the jock rash untreated for long.
Though it is fairly non-contagious, people with jock itch must isolate their underwear, towel and soap until the infection clears up. In rare cases, jock itch can be passed on by sexual contact. Also, in rare cases, jock itch can advance to skin abscesses and cellulitis. These conditions are rare, but require a strict treatment regime. In some cases, repetitive jock itch can leave the skin of the genitals and thighs slightly discolored.
Jock Itch – Home Remedies:
Jock itch may be embarrassing and uncomfortable, but it is very treatable and also avoidable. Here are some simple home remedies for jock itch that you can choose from depending on the severity of your rash.
1. Good Hygiene:
Once you contract jock itch, you will soon wish you had listened to your mother when she taught you to maintain good hygiene ‘down there’! It’s not too late to learn, though. The affected area will itch a lot more when exposed to heat and sweat. Regular washing with a pH-balanced, non-soap cleanser is the first thing you should try. Avoid using very hot water, as it will irritate the affected area more. Many non-soap washes are available in the market or at the pharmacies to choose from.
2. Say No To Fancy Washing Products:
Often, jock itch is aggravated by the chemicals found in clothing bleaches, detergents and fabric conditioners. It is best to avoid using them or at least switch to a milder formula till the rash clears up. Best would be to skip the bleach and fabric conditioner entirely. If you starch your clothes often, try doing without it for a couple of weeks. By eliminating these products one by one, you can find out the miscreant that aggravates your rash and remove it from your routine entirely.
3. Skin-friendly underwear:
Brand or no brand, your underwear must serve one most important function. No, it’s not style or making a fashion statement! The function is not even gaining attention! Rather, it is to care for and protect your intimate areas from dust, sweat and rough outer clothing. If your underwear is doing just the opposite – change it! Use underwear that is clean, cotton-based, comfortably and not too tight. Cotton is the best fabric for underwear as it is organic, absorbs sweat, is hypoallergenic, doesn’t sag too easily nor shrinks drastically after frequent washing. No wonder your mom always bought underwear with‘100% cotton’ label for you!
4. Strive To Be Dry:
Jock itch becomes itchier in hot, humid conditions. Therefore, if you tend to sweat a lot, focus on keeping the groin clean and dry by taking regular baths and then drying out the area completely. Be careful not to rub the groin with the towel. Instead, dab the area with a separate towel till it is dry. As is advised in the case of diaper rash, air-dry the area as much as possible. At night, opt for loose pyjamas and skip the underwear.
5. OTC Medications:
Hydrocortisone and clotrimazole are two drugs that are easily available and are sure shot ways to treat jock itch. They are available as powders or ointments and can be applied to the affected area any number of times in the day. To enhance their efficacy, always apply them on clean and dry skin. However, if the jock itch has progressed to abscesses, you must consult a doctor before using any of these drugs.
6. White Vinegar:
Take a solution of white vinegar and water in the ratio 1:4. Heat the water only to the point where it is bearable on the skin. Apply a clean, cotton washcloth dipped in this solution to the affected area 2-3 times a day. Each session must be at least 5-10 minutes long. Vinegar has natural drying and anti-fungal qualities. After the soaking session, dry the groin and if needed, apply any of the above mentioned ointments. Alternately, you may also use apple cider vinegar to get similar results.
7. Clorox Bleach:
This bleach, if used in a highly diluted form, can soothe the intense itching that accompanies jock rash. Take around 50 ml of Clorox bleach in a tub of tepid water and soak in it for about 20 minutes. In such dilution, the bleach will not harm your skin. Instead, it will relax the itching and also stop the rash from spreading further. Again, after soaking, dry the area completely and apply any cream or powder (and wear clean underwear!)
8. Aloe Vera to the Rescue:
Looks like nothing is untreatable by this wonder plant, isn’t it? Aloe Vera has natural soothing and non-acidic qualities. This is one of the best natural remedies for jock itch. Many aloe vera based creams, soaps, body washes, gels and ointments are available that can be applied to the area affected by jock itch. Of course, the area needs to be cleaned and dried properly before the application of aloe vera. Aloe Vera will give you instant relief from even the worst of itches. Word to the wise: Keep a tube of aloe vera gel handy to help you in emergencies. A quick trip to the restroom for applying the gel and you can breathe easy through any formal situation.
No, I’m not suggesting a magic potion. But garlic cloves crushed and mixed in some honey sure make a wonderful magical mixture that will banish the itching and for good. If you are worried that the garlic might sting, the honey will do the trick. Garlic has strong antifungal properties and honey is a natural remedy that can soothe and soften skin.
10. Coconut Oil:
Application of coconut oil (as pure as you can find) on the area affected by the rash will give you lasting relief. Coconut has natural properties that soothe the rash and also block moisture from reaching it. It also makes the skin smooth and less susceptible to jock itch in the future.
11. Common Salt:
This chemical used in every home, every day has, very effective antibacterial qualities. It can also prevent excess moisture from building up due to its hygroscopic quality. To treat a case of jock itch, either use it to soak yourself in a tub of water by adding about 250 gm of common salt; or you may use a saline solution to apply a compress to the area using a clean washcloth. In case you have developed painful blisters, the salt will help in drying out the pus.
12. Baking Soda:
Another common element found in every kitchen, baking soda has strong drying and soothing properties. Simply make a salve by adding water to baking soda till it forms a thick paste. Apply this paste to the affected area after washing and leave it on for about 15 minutes. Wash and dry, and you’re good to go.
13. Tea Tree Oil:
This oil is strong enough to soothe the burning fire of jock itch, but mild enough not to aggravate the skin! Tea Tree oil possess natural antibacterial and antifungal qualities. Apply the oil directly on the affected area or mix 4-5 drops in coconut oil to find that much needed relief. You may even opt for special soaps containing tea tree oil.
Onion for the jock? You bet! This is a natural anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal root. Onion paste, onion oil and onion juice are all equally effective. It must be applied to the affected area and left there for about 20-30 minutes. After application, wash it off and dry the area well.
Who on earth thought of applying Listerine to that part of the body! Antiseptic and antifungal properties of Listerine will give immediate relief from itching. Yes, this is another good jock itch home remedy. The alcohol in Listerine might make it sting a little initially, but you will swear by it when you feel that immense relief.
All these home remedies for jock itch are very effective in treating and relieving jock itch. However, nothing beats prevention by maintaining proper hygiene of the intimate area and wearing comfortable underwear. In addition, avoid sharing underwear, towels and bathing soaps as much as possible. Once you catch jock itch, you will be more vulnerable to it in the future.