First: What is Jock Itch, Exactly?
Although we answer this question more thoroughly in our complete guide to jock itch, here’s a quick review.
Jock itch is a very common fungal infection of the skin that affects the greater crotch region (balls, crack, and thighs). While the name suggests that it occurs mostly in manly athletes, it can just as easily affect females, children, and raging couch potatoes.
The fungus that causes jock itch (Trichophyton rubrum, for you scientific types) likes to settle into moist, warm areas of the body. It can affect non-crotch areas as well, although when this happens it’s usually called something else.
Jock itch is less commonly cased by yeast (Candida albicans) and bacteria.
The Symptoms of Jock Itch
While the exact appearance and behavior of jock itch may vary slightly from person to person, these are the primary symptoms.
Kind of a no brainer, but still worth pointing out.
Jock itch is almost always means you’re going to have mild to severe itching in the groin area. You might also experience a burning sensation or pain.
Red rashes will appear on the affected area. These rashes may be accompanied by red plate-like plaques with distinct borders. The borders may look like tiny pimples, which may become pustules having red, dry central areas and scales.
Exercise or other intense physical activity can aggravate the rash due to sweating and chafing. This doesn’t mean you need to stop exercising when you’ve got the itch, but you might want to consider cutting back your squat-thrust routine a bit until things clear up.
Flaking, Cracking, & Peeling
As the infection progresses, you may experience flaking, cracking or peeling around the infected area.
Scratching these areas may result in spread of infection and superimposed bacterial contamination. Exercise, which causes sweating and skin chafing, can worsen these symptoms.
Advanced Jock Itch Symptoms
If left untreated, the rashes may result in breakdown of the skin, causing sores, ulcers, an other unpleasant things. In extreme cases, the infection may spread to the deeper layers of the skin, resulting in cellulitis.
When to Seek Help
So, you’ve determined you’ve got a case of jock itch and not a bout of the clap. Do you need to go to the doctor?
Usually, no. In the grand scheme of things, jock itch is a fairly mild disorder and is usually something you can treat on your own.
Having said that, it, it’s a good idea to call the doc if any of this stuff happens:
- Rashes spread or change appearance
- Itching and inflammation become increasingly uncomfortable
- Swelling or lumps develop in the affected areas
- Symptoms do not improve after two weeks of home treatment
- Symptoms do not go away or come back frequently
And if you experience anything from the list below, get help right away.
- Fever and chills
- Nausea and vomiting
- Rashes spread rapidly
- Swollen lymph glands
- Lumps felt in the groin
- Boils, with drainage of pus
- Sores and ulcers
- Rashes involve the penis or vagina
- Difficulty urinating
- Rashes spread to the torso