Jock itch

Jock itch is medically known as Tinea and basically known as a form of fungi or ringworm. Jock itch is a fungal infection that can be seen on the groin region. [1] Tinea cannot be seen through the naked eye but you can see the result in the skin when they have already multiplied.

This is represented by itchy red rashes with patches, peelings and bumps that appear like blisters. This is caused by Tinea, a family of dermatophytes which live on dead tissues of the skin, hair, nails, and areas of the body that are prone to moist. They multiply and spread fast.

Photo 1: Skin Jock itch.

Is jock itch contagious?

Jock itch is contagious [2]. It is a skin infection that can be transmitted from one person to another. This can easily be transmitted to another host. The transmission of this fungus happens by:

  • Skin to skin contact
  • Sexual intercourse
  • Sharing of personal things (clothes, towels, shoes, hair brushes)
  • Objects that an infected person handled
  • Handling an infected animal
  • Traces of fungi can leave elsewhere (flooring of public baths)

Jock Itch in Women

Jock itch can be transmitted through sexual intercourse. This is most commonly seen on women who don’t wash their hands as well as their vagina before and after sexual intercourse.[2] Jock itch has similar signs and symptoms with other vaginal skin problems like the yeast infections[2]. Some vaginal infections can lead to the false diagnosis of jock itch. Thus, you should visit you physician to determine what exactly your skin condition is.

Jock Itch in Men

In men, jock itch found in their groin region is called Tinea cruris [3]. This dermatophyte primarily affects the groin and scrotum in males. The skin appears reddish with scaling, peeling, and cracking.This causes a burning and itching sensation in the groin, thigh skin folds and anus [3]. You may notice that an ideal environment for fungus growth is a moist area of the body.

Jock Itch Pictures

Photo 2: Brown ring shaped rash (jock itch)

Photo 3 : Jock itch in men (thigh)

Causes of Jock Itch

Fungi or dermatophytes cause jock itch. Dermatophytes are attracted to keratinized area [5] or areas in the body that are rich in keratin such as the skin, nails and hair. They do like places in the body that are moist, warm, and less ventilated or where the passage of air is at its lowest, such as the groin or between the toes [6]. Please note : Trichophyton rubrum is the most common type of fungi that causes the tinea cruris.

Jock itch is also triggered by severe perspiration [2]. Men who are exposed to sports are prone to jock itch [6].

Symptoms of Jock itch

These are the most commonly seen symptoms in jock itch [1]:

  • Itching
  • Pain
  • Rashes with patches
  • Blisters
  • Abnormally dark area of the skin
  • Inflammation
  • Dry skin
  • Scaling skin or Peeling skin

Diagnosis of Jock Itch

Jock itch can be diagnosed by the presence of the signs of symptoms of jock itch and also by assessing the prominent red rashes with patches.The doctor then can scrape the area with a rash and examine it under a microscope. The presence of Tinea can have a positive result of jock itch. A KOH (potassium hydroxide) test can also be done; this can differentiate dermatophytes from Candida albicans [7].

The doctors will also conduct an interview to the patient about his regular exercises and activities, clothes he wears, and pets that he has.

Treatment and Home Remedies of Jock Itch


A person should practice proper hygiene. Always take a bath and see to it that your skin is clean. Do not borrow things (hair brush, towel, clothes, and underwear) from other people. Do not wear tight clothes that constantly rub against your skin. Always wash your hands with soap and water. Keep yourself clean and dry, especially on body parts which are prone to perspiration. Avoid carrying wet garments in your bag that can affect your dry clothing.


As a person takes good care of himself, he should also consider his environment or home. Clean the house. Wash your clothes, linens, towels and socks properly. See to it that you’ve dried them completely before wearing them.

Use of powders

Always put talc or powders to the area (back, face, and armpit) that can easily get wet. Talc can absorb moist and give a cool feeling [6].

Cure of Jock itch

  • Oral medications
    1. Itraconazole, Fluconazole, Terbinafine
    2. Griseofulvin
    3. Antibiotics

Creams and Sprays used on Jock itch

Over the counter medications

  • Terbinafine (Lamisil)
  • Miconazole and Clotrimazole

Topical medications

  • Econazole and Oxiconazole
  • Tolnaftate is the most commonly used cream and spray to treat jock itch, ringworm infestation, and athlete’s foot. This drug prevents the growth of fungi on the skin, nails, scalp, palms and soles of the feet [8].

Important information that you should remember when using Tinactin is by not using dressings that will not allow passage of air to the affected area. When there is no improvement in your condition following 7-10 days regimen, do not hesitate to re-visit your medical practitioner for further examinations and possible change of medicine.These oral medications can cause side effects that include gastrointestinal upset, prominent rashes in the body, and affectations on the normal functions of the liver.

Anti-fungal medications should not be taken long term (more than 2 weeks) because it may cause harmful effects to the body.



Published on by under Skin and Hair.
Article was last reviewed on September 6th, 2016.

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