Jock Itch (cont.)

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How is jock itch diagnosed?

The diagnosis of jock itch is usually based on the symptoms and skin appearance.

Occasionally, a small skin biopsy may be used to help the doctor confirm the diagnosis. Skin biopsy (surgically taking a small piece of skin using local numbing medicine) with histopathological (exam of tissue under the microscope) evaluation may also be useful in atypical or widespread cases. Sometimes skin biopsies help to exclude other possible diagnosis. Other times, a skin swab or culture may be taken and sent to the lab to detect an infectious cause of the jock itch. Imaging studies like X-rays or CT scans are not useful. A bacterial culture may be useful to check for bacteria like Staphylococcus on the skin. An examination with a special ultraviolet light, a Wood’s light and a microscopic examination of skin scrapings using potassium hydroxide may help to identify a fungal cause of jock itch. A few other medical conditions may look just like jock itch and can be examined more closely by a dermatologist.

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

Jock itch may be caused by 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 of the pants while actually getting dressed. Any foot infection must be treated in order to avoid recurrence of the jock itch.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/10/2015

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