Men and Jock Itch
Tinea cruris also known as jock itch is a fungal infection of the skin in the groin and upper thighs. This is caused by a fungus, Trichophyton rubrum that also causes fungal infections of the toes (athlete’s foot) and the body as a whole. This infection occurs in both male and female, but more commonly in males specifically affecting the penis and scrotum.
The infection also affects people who sweat a lot thus affecting moist areas of these individuals. Obesity is another factor, but anyone can actually get the infection. This is characterized by itchy, red, often ring-shaped rashes or lesions extending from the crease between the inner thighs and pelvis reaching the adjacent upper inner thighs and finally the anal area. It is also characterized by a burning sensation in the affected areas as well as flaking, peeling or cracking of the skin. Wearing tight underwear or tight clothing becomes uncomfortable when having this infection. Walking or even exercising can aggravate the rash and worsen the condition of the infection.
Since anybody can be affected, jock itch starts when the groin area becomes warm and sweaty. This will then allow the growth of fungi. Another possible infection is through transfer of athlete’s foot, or from contact with contaminated clothing, bedding and towels of infected individuals. This is only a mild contagious infection that is treatable with prescribed topical creams or ointments since the fungus affects only the top layer of the skin. In men, especially athletes, the infection starts with poor hygiene. An example of which is the use of tight underwear or athletic supporters that are unwashed after every use. And since men sweat faster than women, the thighs tend to sweat faster, too, thus creating an ideal atmosphere for fungi to grow.
People with HIV/AIDS and those diabetic are at high risk of acquiring the infection, too. This is due to impaired immune systems. Atopic dermatitis patients are also susceptible to the infection because the skin is already weakened or compromised.
For diagnosis of jock itch, the doctor or physician will take a few skin scrapings form the infected area and examine the specimen under the microscope. This method is known as KOH examination. A culture of the specimen will only be made if the initial KOH exam result is negative.
Men should pay attention to their health particularly on hygiene to prevent jock itch from developing. They must wear clean cotton underwear and loose fitting pants. The groin area must be kept dry and perspiration-free. Wear cotton-made clothing or synthetic materials that wick moisture away from the surface. For those with athlete’s foot, towels that came into contact with the infection must be avoided. Sharing of clothing and towels or even washcloths must also be avoided. After showering and before putting on clothing, the groin must be completely dry. The use of antifungal powders or sprays once a day will help in the prevention of the infection.
The aforementioned prevention is applicable to women as well.