Jock Itch

Jock itch (known medically as tinea cruris) is a fungal infection of the groin. The fungus also can infect other areas of the body, such as the feet and the area between the toes, where it causes athlete's foot (see next page). The infection begins as small, red spots that enlarge to form rings. At the edge of the ring the skin is raised, red, and scaly.

Jock itch is common in men who perspire heavily, who exercise vigorously in hot weather, or who are overweight. The infection can be transmitted to your groin from your feet if you have athlete's foot and you scratch both areas. Like all tinea infections, jock itch is somewhat contagious. You can get a tinea infection from wet surfaces (such as a shower stall), from another person, or even from an animal. Men who wear athletic protectors or equipment can develop a case of jock itch, especially in hot, humid weather.

If you think that you may have jock itch, see your doctor. The condition may be hard to distinguish from other skin problems that have different causes and treatments. The doctor may scrape off a small sample of affected skin and examine it under a microscope to confirm the diagnosis. Jock itch is treated by applying an antifungal cream to the groin area daily for at least a month. Other tinea infections may be more difficult to clear up and may require treatment with an oral antifungal medication. You will need to use all of the antifungal medication prescribed—even if your skin looks and feels better—to be sure the infection has been completely eliminated.

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