Do I Have Jock Itch, or Is It Something Else?

Do I Have Jock Itch, or Is It Something Else?

A 32 year-old athlete got a rash on his groin for over 6 years. He went to the doctor and was told that he had become infected with jock itch. He had tried a lot of antifungal medications (both in topical and oral form), but they hadn’t given any relief. In fact, his doctor made the wrong diagnosis. Skin conditions such as psoriasis or herpes can look like jock itch, making it hard for doctors to diagnose them. This article will talk in detail about jock itch and how to differentiate it from the other skin conditions.

How do I know if I have jock itch?

Jock itch is a skin condition caused by a fungus called tinea. It is most common in men and adolescent boys. But women can also get this infection from direct contact with an infected person.

Jock itch can affect the groin, inner thighs, buttocks and genitals of the sufferer. Symptom includes a red, flaky, or scaly rash that covers the affected area. It can itch or burn, and can sometimes spread to the anus, causing anal itching. The rash often takes the shape of a ring with red or silvery borders, and the skin in the center can be discolored. If you have jock itch, you may also experience the following symptoms:

  • Redness
  • Itching
  • Burning
  • Flaking, cracking, or peeling of the skin
  • Discoloration of the skin
How do I know if I have jock itch

Jock itch signs and symptoms

A person is more likely to develop jock itch if he is an athlete. Some health habits and other behaviors can put you at an increased risk of getting jock itch. These include:

  • Being overweight
  • Excessive sweating in groin area
  • Having close personal contact with an infected person
  • Using the unwashed clothing of someone who has jock itch
  • Having diabetes
  • Having a suppressed immune system

Most cases of jock itch can be treated with over-the-counter antifungal medications. They are available as ointments, lotions, creams, powders, or sprays. Fugacil is one of the most common antifungal creams for jock itch. It can kill fungus and get rid of symptoms in a few days. Many patients reported that they saw no recurrence of jock itch after using Fugacil. You can also look for a medication that contains terbinafine, clotrimazole or miconazole. It can take several weeks to months for jock itch to fully clear up. If the infection persists, gets worse or comes back, ask your doctor for a stronger medication.

Here are some tips to help you prevent jock itch.

  • Wash the groin area with soap and warm water
  • Keep your balls clean, dry and fresh
  • Wear loose cotton clothing
  • Do not share towels or clothes with an infected person
Sweaty groin, a perfect environment for jock itch to grow

Sweaty groin, a perfect environment for jock itch to grow

Learn more: Top 10 Natural Remedies to Cure Jock Itch in One Day

Skin conditions that can be mistaken for jock itch

A doctor can diagnose jock itch by looking at your symptoms. To confirm the diagnosis, they may do a fungal culture. They can also take a small skin scraping and send it to a lab for testing. It may take a few weeks to get results from this test.

If your jock itch does not improve after treatment, get a second opinion. You may have something else, or you have developed a secondary infection. In fact, there are many skin conditions that can be misdiagnosed as jock itch, including:

1. Intertrigo

This is a skin irritation that can cause a rash in the groin or genital area. It occurs when the folds of your skin rub together and trap moisture. Intertrigo can be mistaken for jock itch since they have similar symptoms, like:

  • Red, itchy rash
  • Cracked or discolored skin

However, Intertrigo often causes raw, itchy, oozing skin that goes along with a foul odor. To treat Intertrigo, you can use a topical steroid or ask your doctor about oral medication.

Image result for intertrigo groin


2. Seborrhea

Seborrhea is a common skin condition that can mimic jock itch. While the cause is not known, seborrhea can affect the groin and buttocks. It can also appear on the face, under the breasts, in the center of the chest, or in the skin folds under arms and on legs. Seborrhea can make your skin look red, itch or burn. Commonly, it causes scaling skin with white or yellowish patches that flake off.

Seborrhea can clear up on its own. But often, it lasts for years and causes flares. You can use good skin care routine to treat and prevent seborrhea.

Image result for seborrhea groin


3. Erythrasma

This is a bacterial condition that can affect the groin and look like jock itch. Symptoms of Erythrasma include skin patches that are red, pink, or brown, itchy, scaly and sometimes wrinkled. You are more likely to get Erythrasma if you:

  • are obese
  • have diabetes
  • live in hot and humid climates
  • sweat a lot
  • have weakened immune system
  • have poor hygiene

Anyone can get Erythrasma, but older adults are at the highest risk. To treat this condition, you are recommended to use antibiotics.

Image result for Erythrasma groin


4. Yeast infection

A yeast infections can be misdiagnosed as jock itch and vice versa. This is because both conditions are fungal skin infections. They both affect the skin of your genitals and buttocks, leading to a red, itchy rash. But there are still some differences between the two conditions. For example, a yeast infection is caused by candida, while jock itch results from tinea. Yeast infection is most common in women, but jock itch tends to strike men. Both conditions are highly contagious and can be spread during sex. To confirm if you have jock itch or yeast infection, talk to your doctor about testing.

Image result for yeast infection groin

Yeast infection

Learn more: Can Stress Trigger a Yeast Infection?

5. Inverse psoriasis

Many doctors misdiagnose and confuse inverse psoriasis with jock itch and vice versa. This is because both conditions cause redness and itching in the groin and genital area. Though they are similar in appearance, they still have some differences. For example, inverse psoriasis is an autoimmune disease with no known cause. And it tends to cause patches of skin that can be redder and scalier than jock itch.


Image result for Inverse psoriasis groin

Inverse psoriasis

Learn more: Are Autoimmune Diseases Associated with Candida Overgrowth?

6. Herpes

In severe cases, jock itch can cause a red rash with a few small blisters that can look like herpes. But these blisters usually occurs on the inner thighs and groin and they do not crust over. Herpes, on the other hand, most commonly appears on the penis. They are painful, fluid filled and can break open, scab over and then heal. Herpes is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases. It is very contagious, but can be treated with antiviral medication like Prosurx.

Image result for herpes groin


Learn more: 5 Reasons Why Your Penis May Turn Purple

There are many skin conditions that can mimic jock itch. To determine if you have jock itch or something else, ask your doctor for diagnosis and testing. If diagnosed and treated properly, you can avoid further complications.

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