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Jock itch
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Jock itch - tinea cruris

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INFECTIOUS DISEASE

Fungal

WOMEN'S HEALTH

Hair/Nails/Skin

Jock itch is a common fungal infection that affects theskin of your genitals, inner thighs and buttocks. The infection is characterized by an itchy, red rash in the warm, moist areas of your body, most often your groin area.

Also called tinea cruris, jock itch is closely related to other skin conditions with similar names. Tinea refers to a type of fungus, and cruris is the Latin word for "leg." Other common tinea infections include:

  • Athlete's foot (tinea pedis). This form affects the moist areas between your toes and sometimes on the foot itself.
  • Ringworm of the body (tinea corporis). This form causes a red, scaly ring or circle of rash on the top layer of your skin.
  • Ringworm of the scalp (tinea capitis). This form is most common in children and involves red, itchy patches on the scalp, often leaving bald patches.

Jock itch gets its name from being most common in male athletes, but anyone can get the infection. It can also occur in people who are overweight or sweat a lot.

Although uncomfortable and bothersome, jock itch usually isn't serious, except possibly for people with weak immune systems. Treatment usually consists of keeping your groin area clean and dry and applying antifungal medications.

Risk factors

The organisms that cause jock itch thrive in damp, close environments. Warm, humid settings that promote heavy sweating — thus washing away fungus-killing oils and making skin more prone to infection — also favor its spread. Jock itch often affects men who wear tight underwear or athletic supporters that aren't washed after each use. People who are obese or sweat profusely also are at higher risk of jock itch.

Those at increased risk of jock itch include people with weakened immune systems, such as people with diabetes or HIV/AIDS. If you have atopic dermatitis, a chronic, inherited skin disease characterized by itchy, inflamed skin, you may be more susceptible to jock itch. The barrier in your skin that normally protects you from viral, bacterial and fungal infections often is weakened or compromised.

When to seek medical advice

See your doctor if you have a rash on your skin that doesn't improve within 2 weeks. You may need prescription medication. If excessive redness, swelling, drainage or fever occurs, see your doctor.

Jock itch > 1 > 2 > 3 > 4

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Last Modified : 03/15/08 01:14 AM