What is Jock Itch?
Jock Itch, clinically labeled as “Tinea Cruris” is a fungal infection of the groin which can cause an itchy, red and inflamed rash. Jock itch primarily affects males, but can also be present in women. The name comes from the fact that Jock Itch is common in athletes, as they often perspire heavily during sporting matches, causing an overgrowth of fungi. However, overweight people are also likely to have this condition. Jock Itch is a common, but highly treatable condition.
Symptoms of Jock Itch
The symptoms of Jock Itch may vary, but usually begin with itching in the groin area. Once the infection spreads, some areas may be dry and flaky, while perimeter areas may be red raised and oozing. Some common symptoms of Jock Itch are:
- Itching in the crotch area but can also include the pelvic creases, inner thigh area and the anus
- A change in normal groin skin color
- A raised red rash
- Scaly dry patches that may ooze clear fluid
- A burning sensation in the skin
- A red, wet rash may indicate Candida infection in addition to fungus
Causes of Jock
Jock Itch is the result of a fungal infection, which can be contracted and spread in a number of ways. The fungi that causes Jock Itch are called dermatophytes. They are normally present in the skin, however certain conditions tend to allow it to proliferate rapidly causing an overgrowth and visible fungal infection. Fungus lives and replicates in warm, moist environments and the crotch area is a prime breeding ground if not properly maintained. Below are some of the ways that Jock itch is contracted and spread:
- Profuse sweating in the groin area can provide a breeding ground for fungus
- Playing high intensity sports especially in the heat without proper ventilation
- Being severely overweight with deep skin creases
- Having preexisting Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema)
- Not changing underwear frequently, especially after heavy activity
- A compromised immune system
- Athlete’s foot that has been transferred to the groin by touch
- Wearing undergarments that are too tight
- Sharing towels
- Sexual contact
Diagnosing Jock Itch
Jock Itch can often be diagnosed by sight, but may sometimes require testing to make a positive diagnosis. The most common means of diagnosing Jock Itch are:
Potassium Hydroxide testing (KOH) is a diagnostic testthat detects the presence of fungal cells. It is performed by scraping some skin cells from the site of the infection and placing them in a solution of potassium hydroxide. This solution kills all of the cell tissue other than fungi, making a fungal infection easy to identify.
A Culture may be performed if the KOH test is negative, but the physician still suspects a fungal infection. In this test, tissue samples are sent to a lab and they are placed under specific conditions to see if fungus will readily grow.
A Biopsy is another test available, in which a piece of the affected skin is removed and sent to the laboratory for examination under a microscope. This allows for the identification of organisms, including fungi.
Jock Itch Treatment
Over the Counter Medications
Most cases of Jock Itch are mild and can be treated by over the counter antifungal medications. It is important however, to be diligent in treatment, because irregular application of creams can hinder complete healing. The most common active ingredients in over the counter Jock Itch treatments are Miconazole, Clotrimazole and Tolnaftate, which eradicate fungi. Common nonprescription treatments include Micatin, Lamisil and Lotramin AF.
For more serious cases of Jock Itch, prescription medication may be necessary to fully heal the rash. Also, individuals with a compromised immune system, or that are suffering from Diabetes or HIV, may have a harder time healing. Prescription grade medicine for Jock Itch comes in both oral and topical form. Examples of oral medications include Diflucan and Sporanox, which usually work in one to three weeks. Prescription creams available include Spectazole and Oxistat. If the rash is extremely irritating or itchy, the doctor may also prescribe a hydrocortisone cream, which is steroid based ointment. This will help the itch, but may cause discomfort in some. Report any additional symptoms to the physician.
It is important to note that because of the increased strength, prescription drugs may have more side affects than those purchased over the counter. It is common for oral medications for Jock Itch to cause gastrointestinal discomfort and possible liver issues. Some additional side affects and drug interactions of the medications listed include:
Common Diflucan Side Effects:
More Serious Diflucan Side Effects:
- Respiratory issues, including problems breathing and wheezing
- Chest constriction
- Muscle pain
- Abnormally colored waste
- Flu like symptoms, such as fever and chills
- Ongoing gastrointestinal issues, ,such as diarrhea, nausea and vomiting
- Facial swelling, including the mouth, tongue, lips and face
- Jaundice of the skin or eyes
Diflucan Drug Interactions:
Diflucan has over 450 drug interactions. Some of the affects of using Diflucan with other medicine are mild while others are more serious. This list is not exhaustive, but includes:
Diflucan may at times, promote mild, but tolerable interactions when combined with Allegra, Amoxicillin, Claritin, Dimatap, Edluar, Fungizone, Nature Brewers Yeast, Norvir, Tavist ND, Zolpimist.
Combining Diflucan and the following medications should be avoided, unless otherwise directed by a doctor: Acetaminophen, Albuterol Buspirone Calcium Carbonate, Celebrex, Cortisone, DentiPatch, Depo-Provera Elestrin, Enablex, Fast Acting Mylanta, Fempatch and Femring, Glycerin, Hydrocortisone, Lidocaine, Menostar, Oestrodose, Senna, Veleran, and Zovia.
For the following drugs, the serious risks of combining them with Diflucan do not justify any possible benefits: Abstral, Avelox, Bepridil, Cafatine PB, Clopine, Dolophine, Everolimus, Ercaf, Fentanyl, Geodon, Halfan, Jantoven, Methadone, Niravam, Ranexa Sular, Tequin, Vascor, Warfarin, and Xanax XR.
Sporanox Side Effects:
Common side affects of Sporanox include:
- Stuffy nose
- Abdominal Pain
More serious side effects include:
- Chest pain or irregular heartbeat
- Partial or full impotence
- Dark urine
- Pain or tingling in the extremities
- Extremely irritated skin
Sporanox Drug Interactions
Sporanox has over 300 known interactions, including:
Sporanox may have mild interactions with these medications, which are usually tolerable: Allegra, Ambien, Bactimicina, Brewer’s Yeast, Claritin, Dificid, ,Edluar, Fungizone, Glimepiride, Janumet, Ketek, Lexapro, Marcaine, Naropin, Orinase, Provigil, Riomet, Starlix Tavist ND, and Ziprasidone.
Moderate Drug Interactions
Only combine Sporanox with the following medications under a doctor’s supervision: Accupril, Acid Gone, Alka-Seltzer, Bayer Women’s Low Dose Plus Calcium, Black Cohosh, Bexarotene, Calcet, Caltrate, Dapsone, Delestrogen, Enablex, Endometrin, Femring, Fempatch, Flonase, Gas-X with Malox, Histerone, Ifex, Jenest, Kariva, Lowsium, M-Prednisolone, Nydrazid, Ocella, Pepid AC, Quinine, Remerone, Syeda, Tagamet, Uro-Mag, and Valergen.
Do not combine Sporanox with the following medications, as they can cause dangerous chemical interactions: Advair, Bellamine, Bepridil, Calan, Cardizem, Conivaptan, D.H.E. 45, Dilacor, Dofetilide, Ergotamine, Erythrocin, Fentora, Flomax, Isoptin, Midazolam, Nimodphine, Orap. Prograf, Quin-G, Revatio, Sildenafil, Tiazolam, Uroxatral, Valturna, Viagra, Xanax and Zocor.
In addition to medication, it is important to do the following in order to facilitate speedy healing:
- Wear loose, breathable undergarments, such as boxers, or temporarily going without
- Sleep without bottoms and cover with a light sheet
- Keep the groin area as clean and a dry as possible
- Change undergarments frequently, especially if hot and sweaty
- Use non-irritating natural soap when cleansing the area
Alternative Treatments for Jock Itch
In addition to traditional therapies, there are alternative treatments that are able to heal Jock Itch, with varying degrees of success, including:
Apple Cider Vinegar has been proven to reduce irritation and kill fungus. It should be applied to the skin and allowed to dry freely before covering up with clothing again. Common usage is to make a solution of one part vinegar and three parts water, although some apply the vinegar directly. Be aware that if undiluted, the vinegar may sting and can erode the skin. For best results, apply three times daily.
Rubbing Alcohol can be applied to the affected area to dry out the fungus, especially if it is cracked and weeping.
Garlic can be used externally and internally as an antifungal agent. Two to three garlic supplements can be consumed twice daily. If using fresh garlic, it can be crushed and mixed with olive oil and applied to the rash.
Tea Tree oil has antiseptic and moderate antifungal properties and has been used to treat Jock Itch. Additionally, Tea Tree oil can reduce the inflammation of the rash. The oil can be diluted in carrier oil or water and applied to the rash.
Olive Leaf Extract can be used in lieu of antibiotics to treat a mildly infected case of jock itch, in addition to antifungal treatment. As it is volatile, it is important to dilute the extract in a carrier oil, such as sweet almond oil or grape seed oil before applying.
Hydrogen Peroxide can provide relief in some cases. Purchase a 3% solution and apply one to two times daily.
Salt Baths are used to draw out the fungus and dry out the rash. Add one cup of table or sea salt to bathwater on a daily basis.
Jock Itch Prevention Guide
To have the best chance of avoiding Jock Itch, hygiene is very important. The following steps can help:
- Bathe frequently, twice to three times daily in hot weather or if you perspire heavily
- Wear boxers instead of briefs
- Change undergarments daily and launder clothing frequently
- Wear non-irritating fabrics
- Avoid skin to skin contact with someone who has a fungal infection or other noticeable rash
- If there is an existing case of Athlete’s Foot, take extra care not to spread the infection to the genital area
- US National Library of Medicine. Jock Itch: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001879/
- Mayo Clinic. Jock Itch: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/jock-itch/DS00490
- National Institute of Health. Jock Itch: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000876.htm
- Medicine Net. Jock Itch: http://www.medicinenet.com/jock_itch/article.htm
- Drugs.com . Diflucan Side Affects: http://www.drugs.com/sfx/diflucan-side-effects.html
- Drugs.com. Diflucan Drug Interactions: http://www.drugs.com/drug-interactions/fluconazole,diflucan.html
- Drugs.com. Sporanox Side Affects: http://www.drugs.com/sfx/sporanox-side-effects.html
- Drugs.com. Sporanox Drug Interactions: http://www.drugs.com/drug-interactions/itraconazole,sporanox.html
- About.com Alternative Medicine. Tea Tree Oil: http://altmedicine.about.com/od/herbsupplementguide/a/TeaTreeOil.htm
- The New York Times. Remedies-Garlic for Athlete’s Foot: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/06/remedies-garlic-for-athletes-foot/