Jock itch, also referred to as tinea cruris, is a fungal infection of the skin that usually develops in and around your groin, thighs and buttocks. It’s common in teenage and adult men and causes a range of symptoms, from a visible rash to itching and discomfort.
Like many other fungal skin infections, jock itch is common, especially for athletes and people who spend a lot of time doing sports and other activities that cause sweating.
Jock itch belongs to a group of fungal infections referred to by the name of tinea. It’s similar to other fungal skin infections, such as athlete’s foot and ringworm, and is often treated using the same products and medications.
While jock itch can be annoying, it’s generally easy to treat. Products such as over-the-counter antifungal creams are usually strong enough to clear up jock itch, with prescription medications also available for more severe cases.
Below, we’ve listed the symptoms you may experience if you have jock itch, as well as the risk factors that cause jock itch to develop in the first place.
We’ve also discussed the treatments that are available for jock itch and other fungal infections, from over-the-counter topical creams to prescription medications. Finally, we’ve listed a variety of tips that you can implement to prevent jock itch from coming back.
Jock itch, or tinea cruris, is a form of the tinea fungal infection that develops in the skin around the groin, buttocks and thighs. Tinea, which can also affect other parts of the skin and nails, is the most common fungal infection in humans.
Different variations of tinea are often referred to under the name “ringworm.” This name comes from the red, circular rash that tinea can cause. Jock itch is simply a form of tinea, or ringworm, that develops around the groin, thighs and buttocks.
Although we generally think of tinea as a single type of fungal infection, the reality is that many different fungi can cause tinea. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 40 different species of fungi may cause infections such as jock itch to develop.
Jock itch typically causes the same symptoms as other tinea infections that can form elsewhere on your body. Common symptoms of jock itch include:
These symptoms usually develop between four and 14 days after you come into contact with a tinea-causing fungus.
Like other tinea infections, the symptoms of jock itch can vary in severity. Some people develop a mild rash that’s little more than an inconvenience, while other people may develop a severely itchy, uncomfortable rash with red, inflamed patches.
Jock itch is caused by the growth and spread of fungus in the skin around your groin, buttocks and thighs.
Fungi are a common source of infections and diseases. There are millions of unique species of fungi in the world, of which approximately 40 are believed to cause tinea infections such as jock itch.
Jock itch, like other forms of tinea, usually spreads in one of three ways:
Although it often affects the area around your genitals, jock itch is generally not considered a sexually transmitted disease (STD). However, since jock itch can spread through direct skin contact, it’s possible to catch or spread jock itch through sexual contact.
Tinea infections like jock itch can affect anyone. However, certain factors can increase your risk of developing jock itch. You may have a higher risk of getting jock itch or other tinea infections if you:
Dealing with the symptoms of jock itch can be annoying. Luckily, jock itch is usually easy to treat using a combination of over-the-counter medications and small, simple changes to your lifestyle and habits to prevent the infection from coming back.
Jock itch can usually be treated with over-the-counter antifungal treatments, such as creams or lotions. These products contain active ingredients that are designed to kill fungi and clear your skin of rashes, itchiness and other symptoms.
Many over-the-counter antifungal medications are sold as generics, making them an affordable option if you have jock itch. Common over-the-counter medications for treating jock itch include:
These medications do not require a prescription and can typically be purchased from your local drug store or pharmacy. Make sure to check any packaging for the active ingredients, as these medications are sold under a diverse range of different brand names.
Also, if you need to ask the pharmacist or store clerk for help finding the right medication, make sure to specify that you’re looking for the topical version of the above medications.
Most of these medications are designed for daily use for a period of two to four weeks. Follow the usage instructions on the package label carefully and make sure to wash any excess cream or lotion off your hands after applying it to the affected area.
Even if your jock itch symptoms begin to disappear within a few days of treatment, it’s important to continue using your medication for the entire treatment period. Stopping too early may cause the fungus that causes jock itch to resume growing, leading in recurring symptoms.
Most of the time, jock itch clears up with the use of over-the-counter treatments. However, if you have severe or recurring jock itch, or if your symptoms last longer than two weeks after using an over-the-counter treatment, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider.
We offer online primary care for jock itch and other skin infections, allowing you to consult with a provider and, if appropriate, receive a prescription for medication that you can pick up from your local pharmacy.
Common prescription medications for treating jock itch and other fungal skin infections include:
Your healthcare provider will prescribe the most suitable medication based on your symptoms, previous jock itch issues and overall health. It’s important to closely follow the instructions that come with your medication and use it exactly as prescribed.
If you have another fungal skin infection at the same time as jock itch, such as athlete’s foot or tinea elsewhere on your body, make sure to inform your healthcare provider. It’s important that you treat both infections simultaneously to stop one from causing the other to return.
Jock itch generally responds well to medication, but it can often come back. Your healthcare provider may recommend that you continue using medication or other products after your jock itch symptoms clear up, especially if you have a high risk of recurring infections.
In addition to using over-the-counter or prescription medication, there are several steps that you can take to help your jock itch symptoms clear up as quickly as possible:
Since jock itch often comes back, it’s important to be proactive if you’ve been affected before or are prone to fungal infections. In addition to the self-care and lifestyle changes listed above, try the following techniques to reduce your risk of getting jock itch again:
Finally, it’s important to keep in touch with your healthcare provider, especially if you need to take part in follow-up appointments. They’ll be able to monitor your progress and make sure you’re taking the right steps to prevent the infection from returning.
Fungal infections such as jock itch can be annoying, especially when they keep coming back time and time again. Luckily, a variety of medications are available to help you treat jock itch and prevent it from becoming a recurring, long-term problem.
If you think that you might have jock itch, it’s best to talk to your healthcare provider. You can also talk to a provider online and, if appropriate, receive a prescription for medication to help you treat your jock itch symptoms and prevent the fungal infection from coming back.
If you’re prescribed medication for jock itch, make sure to use it exactly as prescribed and for the entire treatment period. Making small changes to your lifestyle, such as those mentioned above, can also help to keep jock itch from recurring.