So, Jock Itch is real. And it doesn’t just impact athletes — so, couch potatoes, you’re not immune!
If you’ve ever had the misfortune of dealing with Jock Itch, that’s probably not a surprise. But you may also have big ~questions~ about this itchy affliction. Questions like: If my balls are itchy does that mean I automatically have jock itch? What if they only itch sometimes? Wait, I’m a girl and I get itchy down there… is that normal? IS THERE SOMETHING WRONG WITH MY VAGINA?
To get more info on the subject, we spoke with Dr. Roger Ho, MD, assistant professor of Dermatology at NYU Langone Medical Center and here’s what he says you should know:
Jock Itch is a common fungal infection of the groin and inner thigh area, characterized by itchy, rash-like symptoms, similar to Athlete’s Foot.
“The edge of the rash is usually distinctly marked with a scaly texture or bumps that look like blisters,” Ho tells BuzzFeed Life. “The center of the rash may also be a red-brown color.”
While itching is one of the most common symptoms of Jock Itch, some cases don’t always include the itching sensation. Sometimes the infection will only appear as a red rash in the skin folds of the groin, inner thighs, or buttocks (yikes!) He also says that it’s completely normal for the rash to be on one side of the body and not the other.
It usually effects men, but women can get it, too.
Jock itch is non-discriminating, friends.
“It’s a lot more common than people think,” Ho says. “I see people with the infection very often, sometimes on a weekly basis.”
Jock itch tends to thrive in moist environments – like your crotch and groin!
The infection is caused by fungus and yeasts, most commonly Dermatophyte and Candida (yeast), which grow best in environments with a lot of moisture. That means that how much you sweat is a big determining factor in whether or not you’re susceptible to Jock Itch.
It’s also why the infection is very commonly seen in athletes, who sweat excessive amounts on a regular basis and wear tight undergarments (sliders, workout leggings, etc.) that trap sweat in the groin area for long periods of time.
Men tend to get Jock Itch more than women because they usually sweat more in that general area. It’s also a much more ‘crowded’ area for men (if you want to visualize that), which creates extra moisture build up – making the area fertile for the fungi.
The infection can be contagious through contact, and can even spread from your own feet to your crotchal area.
“A lot of times people who have jock itch actually already have some fungal infection on their feet – like athlete’s foot – at the same time,” Ho says. “What happens is the fungal infection from the foot gets transferred to the groin, usually because of underwear.” This makes it easy for someone who’s already had jock itch to get it consistently.
Jock Itch can be transferred through contact with the infected area or through contact with objects that have already come into contact with the infection, such as clothes, towels, and athletic gear.
There are also people who are genetically predisposed to getting the infection, unfortunately making it much more contagious for them.
If you think you may have Jock Itch try to see a Dermatologist ASAP.
There are other infections and allergic reactions you can get in the groin area, so Ho recommends you see a dermatologist as soon as the symptoms start to determine if what you have is actually Jock Itch. Don’t be embarrassed! They see this (and much, much worse) every day.
It is usually relieved by the combination of applying an anti-fungal topical cream and powder to the infected area.
Ho says the best treatment is anti-fungal medications that can be applied topically for relief combined with maintaining dryness over that area. He recommends using a powder like Zeasorb, that is specifially anti-fungal, to keep the area dry.
Many times there also needs to be treatment of a fungal infection on the foot to prevent reoccurrence.
Symptoms should start to improve within a week of starting the medication and treatment. But sometimes it can take anywhere between 1-4 weeks of treatment to see reults. If Jock Itch isn’t taken care of sometimes it can resolve itself on its own, but a lot of times it will stay and possibly get worse with blistering and erosion of the area.
You may notice that there’s some ~discoloration~ in the area after you’ve been treated for Jock Itch, but that’s OK, don’t sweat it, seriously.
“If the treatment is working the discoloration should be going away,” Ho says, “But after any type of inflammatory infection there can be darker or lighter colorization of the skin which will eventually be normalized.” It’ll go away and everything will be fine!
Bottom line: Jock Itch can be uncomfortable and unsightly, but it’s also super common and not a big deal.
If you think you might have it (or if there’s anything itchy or burning in your crotch region!) you should get to a dermatologist right away to get that looked at.