Jock itch, or tinea cruris, is a common fungal skin infection of the genitals, inner thigh and bottom. It is often caused by the fungus “tinea”, but can also be caused by bacterial overgrowth, and hot, moist, conditions.
It affects men and women of all ages, but is most commonly seen in older men and male athletes. While it regularly occurs in otherwise healthy patients, those with underlying health concerns such as diabetes, obesity and weakened immune system are more susceptible. Diet seems to have no effect on the condition.
There is a theory that if you have athletes foot, then you should always put your socks on before your underwear, as stepping into underwear with bare feet may transfer the infection to your groin area.
Jock itch, as the name suggests, can cause intense itching, as well as painful, burning, sore and red skin, particularly in the folds of the skin. The skin can become dry, flaky or cracked, which can lead to further infection and inflammation, and a rash of circular raised red bumps may also appear.
Most cases of jock itch clear by itself with a consistent cleansing routine combined with carefully drying the skin and wearing natural fibres. Sometimes it is not possible to keep the skin dry and cool, and those living in humid conditions or participating regularly in sporting activities may experience persistent or recurring jock itch. Rarely, jock itch can have complications such as thrush or cellulitis, so if symptoms persist it is a good idea to see your GP.