Jock Itch

  • Medical Author:
    Gary W. Cole, MD, FAAD

    Dr. Cole is board certified in dermatology. He obtained his BA degree in bacteriology, his MA degree in microbiology, and his MD at the University of California, Los Angeles. He trained in dermatology at the University of Oregon, where he completed his residency.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Is jock itch (tinea cruris) contagious?

Is Jock Itch Contagious?

Jock itch is considered to be mildly contagious. Usually, it requires direct person-to-person contact or wearing the clothing of someone who has the skin disease. It is mildly contagious because if the individual who becomes associated with a person with jock itch does not provide a similar warm, moist environment that supports the growth of fungi, the uninfected individual may not get the disease.

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Jock itch (tinea cruris) facts

  • Jock itch is a term for any rash that occurs in the male groin.
  • Jock itch is almost exclusively confined to males, although it may also be seen in females.
  • Jock itch can be a result of local fungus infection (dermatophytes). It is otherwise generally caused by moisture, irritation, and/or bacterial overgrowth.
  • Symptoms and signs of jock itch include
  • Jock itch is most common in older, obese adults and athletes.
  • Jock itch is often seen in otherwise healthy people.
  • Jock itch is easily curable in most cases and frequently resolves on its own without treatment.
  • Jock itch is related to certain anatomical structures peculiar to the male groin.
  • Jock itch is prevented by optimal skin hygiene.

What is jock itch? What does jock itch look like?

Jock itch is a common, itchy rash of the groin. It can produce a very intense itch and is associated with a red or pink rash involving the groin folds and genitals. Jock itch is primarily a skin condition in men because of anatomic structures unique to males, the male genitalia.

The symptoms and signs of jock itch may come and go, and many cases of jock itch resolve spontaneously without any treatment. Jock itch is primarily seen in the groin, although it may spread to the inner thighs, genitals (including penis, scrotum, labia, and vaginal opening), and anus. Jock itch causes a red or pink rash on the sides of the groin folds. There may be a dry, scaly, well-demarcated rash or a collection of small, pinpoint red or pink bumps at each hair follicle. This form of eruption is often called ringworm because of its well-defined red edge with central clearing. The medical term for ringworm of the groin is tinea cruris, and it is caused by a fungal infection.

While jock itch is frequently noted in otherwise healthy people, those with diabetes and/or obesity are more susceptible. Possible causes include irritation from tight or abrasive underwear, excess moisture, sweating, skin rubbing or friction, allergic problems, fungal infection, Candida (yeast) infection, and bacterial overgrowth.

Treatment of fungal-related jock itch may include one or a combination of antifungal creams and, rarely, antifungal pills. Treatment of jock itch that is not caused by fungus involves proper groin hygiene, keeping the area clean and dry, and washing frequently with gentle soap and water (especially after sweating or exercise).

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/6/2017

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