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.

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What are jock itch symptoms and signs?

Jock itch usually begins with mild intermittent itching in the groin. The itching can get worse and become unbearable in some cases. The rash is usually on both sides of the groin and affects the folds.

The rash may become dry, rough, and bumpy, develop pus blisters, or begin to ooze. Sometimes, there is central clearing as the redness of the rash spreads outward to the thighs. The itching and rash can spread to the genitals, including the labia, vagina, scrotum, penis, and anus.

Women may also develop vaginal white discharge and yeast infections. Men may develop infections on the head of the penis, especially if they are not circumcised.

Severe cases may be very uncomfortable and develop secondary complications such as breaks in the skin, open sores, ulcers, and rarely cellulitis.

Does jock itch affect the entire body?

Jock itch does not affect the entire body. It is usually limited to the groin, inner thigh folds, genitals, and anal area. Itching (pruritus) of the entire body is not typical of jock itch.

Which health care professionals diagnose and treat jock itch?

Most primary care physicians can accurately diagnose and treat jock itch. A few other medical conditions may appear just like jock itch and should be examined more closely by a dermatologist.

Other medical conditions can mimic jock itch. Some possible mimics include

Jock itch may be associated with athlete's foot, also called tinea pedis. The same fungus that causes athlete's foot in a person may actually spread to the groin in some cases. It is important to always check the feet for rashes in people with jock itch. Spread of the fungus usually occurs when fungal particles pass onto the crotch while putting on underwear. Any foot infection must be treated in order to avoid recurrence of the jock itch.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/6/2017

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