Don't feel like a dumbbell. There's a fungus among us, namely Trichophyton rubrum, that thrives--along with assorted fungal and bacterial brethren--in the hot, moist and dark areas of the groin. Constant rubbing and chafing only worsen the situation.
"The main point is that the fungus needs certain conditions to start--anyplace that's warm and moist," says Michael Ramsey, M.D., clinical instructor of dermatology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. "I see it more in people who work outdoors all day or truck drivers who are going 12 to 14 hours a day without a shower."
But you can bench jock itch for good by taking action at the first sign--and then taking measures to prevent its return. So before you burn your athletic supporter in effigy, try these strategies.
Hit the shower. Wash the infected area thoroughly with an antibacterial soap such as Dial, Safeguard or Lever 2000 and then rinse well, suggests Dr. Ramsey.
Blow away jack itch. If you've got the itch, you need to keep the crotch area as dry as possible. Use a hair dryer after showering, recommends Dr. Ramsey. "Just make sure its on the coolest setting. Otherwise, the heat could make you perspire--and that defeats the purpose of drying the area."
Grab a towel. If you don't have access to a hair dryer, towel-drying is just fine--if you do a thorough job. Be sure to dry your groin area very well, suggests Dr. Ramsey.
Get creamed. After you've dried yourself completely, use an over-the counter cream containing the ingredients miconazole and clotrimazole (found in Lotrimin and Micatin). If you use the cream daily, following directions on the tube, you can knock out a mild case in about two to four weeks, according to Dr. Ramsey. More serious infections, however, will require a prescription.
Jock Itch--Without the Jock
Despite its locker room image, jock itch doesn't just plague cup-wearing male athletes--women can get it, too.
But as you might expect, the affliction isn't exactly the same in both. For one thing, tinea, a fungus nourished by sweat and heat, generally does the damage in men, while a yeast infection called Candida albicans is usually the culprit in women.
"Candida usually starts as vaginitis (infection and inflammation of the v****a) and progresses to the outside skin," says Marilynne McKay, M.D., associate professor of dermatology and gynecology at Emory University in Atlanta.
Both men and women can get ringworm, an oval ring of red pustules in the groin area. But female candida can be more extensive and inflamed. Despite these differences, however, treatments for men and women are the same, says Dr. McKay.
Baby yourself. "By covering the groin area with baby powder, you'll help prevent the moisture that leads to jock itch," says Andy Clary, head trainer for the University of Miami football team in Coral Gables, Florida. just sprinkle on a light dusting of powder whenever you change your underwear.
Wear shorts under your support. Athletic supporters irritate the groin area. This irritation provides an environment for the fungus to grow. One of the best ways to guard against jock itch is to put on a pair of clean, all-cotton shorts before pulling on your athletic supporter, says Clary. "The jock doesn't rub the skin nearly as much, and the cotton pulls some of the moisture and the perspiration from the area by absorbing it."
Shed those sweaty workout clothes. Its virtually impossible to keep the groin sweat-free while working out, but once the whistle blows, switch into an "insta-change" mode, says Clary. "A lot of people sit around in their workout clothes after they exercise, but that's one of the best ways to get jock itch. You need to get out of your workout clothes as soon as possible." And don't put those sweaty workout clothes back on or back in your locker for tomorrow.
Lose weight. If you're a man or woman carrying extra pounds, you may be at increased risk of getting the itch, says Dr. Ramsey. "The patients with jock itch that I see tend to be a little more obese and, as a result, perspire more and have more skin-to-skin contact."
Answered By: bajaricky - 9/8/2008