Smiling man in white T-shirt happy after Canesten jock itch treatment

Things to know about jock itch

Find out what is jock itch and what can cause it. Learn about jock itch treatment, symptoms and prevention.

What is jock itch?

What’s as easy to catch as athlete’s foot, but can be much more uncomfortable? It’s jock itch, also known as tinea cruris: a fungal infection caused by a group of fungi called dermatophytes.

It is a skin infection that affects your groin area: genitals, inner and upper thighs and buttocks. Jock itch causes a red, itchy, often ring-shaped rash that appears on your skin. Because dermatophytes spread so easily through scratching, if you have athlete’s foot or fungal nail infection you are more at risk of catching jock itch too. Normally, dermatophytes live harmlessly on your skin, hair and nails, but they can multiply quickly and cause infection when there is a warm and moist environment, for example if you remain in sweat-soaked clothes.

Jock itch mostly affects men and adolescent boys because moisture can get trapped between the scrotum and thigh. As the name suggests, it often appears in athletes too because they sweat a lot and wear tight and wet clothes for long periods of time. If you are overweight, you are more likely to experience jock itch because the fungus can thrive in folds of skin, which are prone to sweating. But jock itch can affect anyone because it is highly contagious. You can get it through close contact with an infected person but also through contaminated towels, clothes and your hands if you touch other infected areas like your foot.

Typical causes of jock itch:

  • wearing clothes that are tight and irritate your skin,

  • having moisture in your groin area from sweating,

  • leaving on a wet bathing suit for a long time,

  • sharing damp towels or sweaty clothing,

  • being in close contact with someone infected.

Symptoms of jock itch

Jock itch can be uncomfortable, embarrassing and annoying but it is important that you recognize the symptoms so you can treat it quickly. It often starts with a red, itchy rash with raised edges that can be painful. The rash then spreads out from the crease in the groin in a half-moon shape onto the upper thigh. Other symptoms include:

  • burning sensation around the affected area,

  •  flaking, cracked or peeling skin,

  •  scaly, red or brown patches.

Jock itch can also spread to inner thighs and genitals (resulting in itchy penis, scrotum, labia or vaginal opening) as well as anus.

You should see a doctor if your rash doesn’t improve within 7 days of starting a treatment. You should also seek doctor’s advice if jock itch returns within a few weeks after treatment with an anti-fungal medication. 

Smiling young man standing confidently and wearing grey T-shirt, happy after Canesten jock itch treatment

Jock itch treatment

Make sure that you treat jock itch as soon as you notice the symptoms to prevent the infection from spreading. Otherwise the infection can last for months. You can effectively treat it at home using over the counter anti-fungal medications in the form of a jock itch or antifungal cream, powder or spray. Canesten offers a range of products that will effectively treat your jock itch: 

  • Canesten Once Daily Bifonazole Body Cream - this is a convenient and effective treatment for fungal skin conditions like jock itch. With only one application per day required, it provides relief from inflammatory symptoms like redness and itching and should be continued for 2 weeks after symptoms disappear to avoid recurrence.
  • Canesten Clotrimazole Antifungal Cream - this antifungal cream treats the infection and relieves the uncomfortable symptoms. 
  • Canesten Plus is an anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory cream, which can be used to rapidly relieve jock itch that is swollen, irritated and itchy. This cream should be used twice daily for no more than 7 days, followed by any of the aforementioned anti-fungal creams for 2 weeks afterwards to help avoid recurrence.

Treating jock itch? These measures can help you get rid of it faster: 

  • Wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and warm water. 
  • Dry the affected area thoroughly after bathing and exercise. 
  • Change clothes and undergarments every day. 
  • Wear loose cotton clothing. 
  • Complete the full course of treatment, even if your infection may look like it’s clearing.
Mature man in grey longsleeve smiling and standing upright, happy after Canesten jock itch treatment

Jock itch prevention

Practicing good hygiene can help prevent jock itch. Remember to wash your hands thoroughly after contact with someone infected, after touching infected area like athlete’s foot or after applying treatment. Athlete’s foot is caused by the same fungi that cause jock itch, so if you have it, you should treat it quickly to prevent it from spreading to your groin area.

Other tips include:

  • Wear loose-fitting clothing during training and avoid synthetic fabrics.

  • Ensure correct hygiene and keep your groin area dry, especially after washing or exercising. 

  • Choose cotton underwear only and change it daily.

  • Change your towels regularly and avoid using towels available in communal areas.

  •  Use different towels for the infected areas and for the rest of your body.

  •  Don’t share your personal items, clothes or towels.