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Jock itch

Jock itch with a rash

Jock itch is usually an itchy rash in the fold of skin in the groin. In men, the skin fold beneath the scrotum is often affected as well, but not the penis. The skin over the testicles (scrotum skin) is seldom affected. The rash is red and slightly scaly. It usually has a sharp border, demarcating it clearly from the unaffected skin. If you look closely at the border, you may see that the edge is very slightly raised with small pimples. The rash spreads outwards and, as it does so, the centre may clear. Both sides are usually affected, but the shape of the rash may be different on each side.

Jock itch is sometimes known as ‘sweat rash’, but it is not caused by sweat. The actual cause is a tinea fungus – the same fungus that causes athlete’s foot. In fact, jock itch is probably ‘caught’ from your own feet. Check between your toes for the red, scaly appearance of athlete’s foot. Athlete’s foot is very common in people who do a lot of sport, because it is easily caught from the floors of communal changing rooms and showers.

What to do

Although sweat does not cause the rash, the fungus does thrive in warm, moist, sweaty conditions, so you can help yourself by:
  • not wearing tight underpants
  • wearing 100% cotton underpants instead of synthetic fabrics
  • drying yourself carefully in the groin and around the testicles after bathing or showering
  • losing weight if you have a paunch
  • looking after your feet to avoid athlete’s foot (look at the section on sweaty feet)
  • putting your socks on before your underpants when you get dressed, to prevent fungi from your feet getting inside your underpants.

Fungi also thrive on skin that is slightly damaged. Skin damage is commonly caused by perfumes in soaps, shampoos and shower gels, and enzymes in washing powders. So you can help yourself by:

  • washing with an unperfumed soap
  • if you wash your hair in the shower, not letting the foam run down your body into the groin creases
  • not using ‘enzyme’ or ‘biological’ washing powders for your underpants.

These self-help measures will discourage the fungus but probably will not eliminate it, so see your doctor for an antifungal cream. Your doctor can also check that the rash is not some other skin problem (such as psoriasis).

Jock itch without a rash

Sometimes the groin area can be very itchy but there is no rash to be seen. In this case, a fungal infection is unlikely. Probably your skin is very sensitive to soaps and perfumes, so follow the advice above and look at the section on itching.

Written by: Dr Margaret Stearn
Edited by: Dr Margaret Stearn
Last updated: Thursday, September 6th 2012

 


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Comments on this article

Posted by Lachlan on 10/01/2017 at 03:00

I have this but itching is out of control, to the point of pain. Does anyone know any ways to stop or at least prevent the itching in the mean time?

Posted by Optional on 27/04/2016 at 03:42

Although I don't use enzyme or bio washing powders I have found I need to rinse underwear (and towels) very thoroughly with at least one additional rinse cycle. I use Simple soap and have stopped using Radox type additives in the bath. The itching does appear to be a sweat-related allergic reaction and I suspect the sweat activates residual chemicals on my skin. Rinsing with a wet sponge alleviates the symptoms if they occur.

Posted by Seagull on 08/03/2016 at 07:07

A colleague working on the rig with me once said he had jock itch. And he successfully cured it by rubbing some concentrated wine with cotton wool. Do you think it was true?

Posted by Haider on 23/02/2016 at 08:38

i have some black and reddish spot on and near scrotum with severe itching. it itches very severe during night. i have applied so many anti fungal cream but condition is same as before.

Posted by David on 27/01/2016 at 09:24

I have scrotum itch which comes and goes now for about 20yrs, what ever the doctors give me it only treats it for the time of the ointment then reappears, but now I have a patch at the base of my penis which if left becomes dry and cracks and becomes very painful, I use Vaseline to keep it moist but this also keeps it bright red with no sign of healing.

Posted by emmanuel on 18/12/2015 at 01:41

I am having serious iches on my scrotom I want to know if is as a result of me using perfumed soap or what can it bemand what is the solution.thanks

Posted by Optional on 12/12/2015 at 09:34

Very helpful .Thanks

Posted by Mastermind on 12/11/2015 at 01:04

Hi I developed this sweet itching problem after I had sex with a girl I noticed it 3days later after the sex...I started first at the left side of my upper lap close to my balls, till some day it started to at the right side too. It has no visible rash but its looks scaly. I don't know if its a sign of an std. Please I need an urgent response. Thanks.

Posted by FlaverCraver on 29/09/2015 at 01:37

Suggestions made are excellent but by themselves did not cure the problem. Application of (prescription) NYSTATIN and TRIAMCINOLONE ACETONIDE CREAM, (comes in 30 gram tubes) as directed, to a clean and dry problem area cured the itching.

Posted by Mike on 23/09/2015 at 06:17

I have incurable jock itch, the strong antifungal I need to knock it out would clash with another medicine I need to take. I found a dollar store antifungal works as well as expensive lotrimine and other top shelf antifungals same ingredient also 1% clotrimazole. It is also soothing and stops the itching. A one dollar tube last me two weeks to a month It's not a cure, but keeps the fungus at bay. A tube or two, should cure many people in 2 or 3 weeks. Just follow the directions.

Posted by MvP on 13/08/2015 at 03:26

I recently started having itchy area, around my groin and thighs, maybe because of constantly sitting in a chair for long hours i used anti-fungal creams, but it came back, i used talcum powder, but it won't last long enough, i even wear Jockey 100% cotton briefs, but it was still coming back, i did felt relief after shaving, but it didn't help much, also i tried various lotions, but to no relief, but now i found a better solution, i use Rexona deodrant with 48 hrs protection, believe it or not my rash is almost gone, i don't feel itchy anymore, and the spots are reducing, so to know, its not just for your arm-pits ;)

Posted by Bill on 18/07/2015 at 06:53

My problem with balls starts after 6h riding jet ski , this was one year ago , I have wery bad itch & Burning & feels like something walking behind the skin - I visit 2 doctors twice & got 4 different prescriptions dint go away - but in winter time all symptoms stops by self, only different color& texture of my skin on my balls stay .. Now we have 2015 & after riding jet ski this time every think came back & also I have extra rash on my ass & legs down to my knees .i work in construction so I'm alway sweating a lot & when I start sweating it burn itch crazy & I have to stop working One doctor give me Exstina (ketoconazole) foam 2% which I can't apply because contain alcohol The other give me Mupirocin ointment 2% dont work make same or worst - then I ask same think in powder it felt bather but don't make go away - please help

Posted by Optional on 14/07/2015 at 01:58

can i use any anti fungal ointment?.

Posted by Optional on 18/06/2015 at 04:36

Just combine canesten(antifungal) with diprolene ointment as that cured my long time itch...

Posted by john on 20/04/2015 at 12:39

Hi, I have a very bad itch between my testicles and my analysis and sometimes it has a smell. This is even after a shower, when I take a shower in the morning by night time it is this way. What can I use to help.

Posted by Warren on 15/11/2014 at 02:10

I found what the problem is and how its caused. Great Help, Many Thanks!

Posted by Optional on 25/09/2014 at 10:52

itchy cause by sweat. the remedy is put lotion with aloe vera. after washing or bath.

Posted by Liyanage on 22/09/2014 at 05:35

I have an itch on the scrotum, the penis as well as the groin area. I exercise a lot and sweat a lot and this seems to have brought it on. About 30 years ago when I first had it the doctor gave a lotion which when rubbed gave a stinging feeling, but resulted in the skin peeling off after about a week. Thereafter the new skin underneath had no itchy feeling. Unfortunately this doctor is no more. Do you have an idea what the lotion could have been

Posted by Optional on 12/09/2014 at 12:50

Near where the base of my penis meets my testicles, there is a red, itchy, and moist spot that surrounds a hair follicle. Also, near that area, sometimes the skin gets dry and peels. Any advice?

Posted by Mr Gondal on 26/08/2014 at 10:17

Hi, I started to get a rash on my pubic area and gradually it went down to my growins, I was advised by gp to use diprobase and later when it didn't work I was also also given double base and then some strariod cream which Made no difference. I have since started using Nivea lotion to keep it moisturised and managed to clear my pubic area but now the growins, and between testical and Anal I have got really bad itchy skin. Which is making me very uncomfortable. Please advise!!

Posted by Optional on 25/08/2014 at 06:43

Thanks a lot . now I know what to do. Really helps I was worried sick.

Posted by jcarroll on 08/06/2014 at 11:49

My scrotum is very itchy and smells really bad I have tried all the advice given even seen a doctor and he's gave me like thrush cream and e45 cream and it's still not working can anyone help or give any advice on what treatments or other help I can get if so please let me no thanks

Posted by Optional on 01/06/2014 at 10:01

Hi, I shaved my whole pubic area incorrectly months ago (my first time shaving) and this caused itching, however I thought this would simply go away. I have shaved since with proper guidance etc. However this itch has continued, there are no signs of any rash as the skin looks normal, however the itch is terrible. I went to the doctors and she told me to apply a cream as it may just be dry skin, but this has not worked. This was the same creams she gave me for my acne. The itch is only really felt when im standing up and gets worse throughout the day/the more I scratch it. Please give me a solution to this! The itch is mainly on the lower sides of my penis and to the sides of my scrotum. PLEASE help!

Posted by Optional on 28/05/2014 at 11:22

i have some sort of rash on my lap near my scrotum and some very tiny sore or kind of reddish part between my scrotum and my lap

Posted by Optional on 24/05/2014 at 07:55

Hi.... I have jock itch... Due to this my skin becomes dark.... How can I make my skin to become normal.... And get rid of jock itch...

Posted by Optional on 01/01/2014 at 05:35

I have jock itch and have a cream for athletes foot.But after i have a shower , and put on the cream a while later my groin area is soaking wet aswell as my boxers. Why is this?

Posted by Optional on 19/12/2013 at 06:22

I have tried lots of cream my underwear sticks to my groin and sometime bleeds

Posted by Optional on 24/11/2013 at 02:53

is skin coloration after jock itch permanent

Posted by Optional on 05/10/2013 at 09:37

i think i have tinea cruris. but the problem is, sometime the skin gets dry and dry skin starts peeling off. so i am in a dilemma to use powder or cream over it? plz help

Posted by Kelvin Gitari on 04/10/2013 at 04:49

Thanks alot...i was really worried but now am ok.may God bless

Posted by mahomed on 29/09/2013 at 12:57

especially when i sleep, the scratch attack occurs when moisture and warmth buils up in the groin area. however ive been taking precautions like using a separate towel for groin area after showering, but the skin has become dark and ugly. now, home remedies on the net suggest applying lemon juice about half an hour before showering to help lighten the skin. but what about bringing the skin to a smooth finish

Posted by Optional on 21/09/2013 at 01:41

Very very itching on my rashes

Posted by Red haze on 09/09/2013 at 01:40

What if the groin produces an oily discharge that smells really bad, and the skin seems like it's peeling off and off, even when u're bleeding?

Posted by Optional on 22/04/2013 at 10:24

I have had this for a while and I have not seen my dermatologist. I have many perscriptions that I think may work to elliminate this but I don't know what might feed it...please help.

Posted by Optional on 23/03/2013 at 05:03

I have itching problem on all my body.i have pimples on my testeis and on my penis as well.i am using a cream it's affective but I am not completely getting better.is it serious kind of problem,I am fed up from this plz tell me cure

Posted by Optional on 18/01/2013 at 11:45

i got a treatment for fungal infection near groin there is no itching but the black rash is still there pls suggest me something

Posted by John on 01/01/2013 at 11:48

How to beat jock itch: 1. Scrub affected area well every evening with a soapy cloth. Do NOT go to sleep without doing this. The fungus eats the dead skin cells, so you need to scrub the skin clean. 2. After showering (and before you put your clothes on): A. Make sure the area is 100% dry (use a hair dryer). B. Rub in Zeasorb antifungal powder on the whole crock/crack area. C. Put Terbinafine Hydrochloride 1% cream (one brand is Lamisil) on the affected area and an inch beyond. 3. Wear polyester-spandex underwear rather than cotton underwear. Cotton keeps the skin too wet (especially if you're in a humid climate). Main thing is to keep the area clean and dry as possible. This is harder if you are overweight. If it is sunny and you can get direct sunlight on the area for a half hour or so, the UV light will kill some of the fungus. Target and Walmart have a generic Terbinafine Hydrochloride 1% cream that is much cheaper. It's in the "foot care" (athlete's foot) section. Amazon sells it, too. Once the pain is gone (might take a few days), then you can just use the powder daily to keep the fungus down. Don't use powder that contains starch or cornstarch, because that feeds the fungus (so don't use baby powder). Use the Zeasorb every day. Shoot some into your boxers before you exercise. Target is selling some good boxers "C-9" (92% Polyester, 8% Spandex). $10, and very comfy.

Posted by Casper on 10/10/2012 at 05:20

Hi, I Live in Asia for last four years, Im having chronic Groin rush.It always starts on my male part,they always become very red and itchy,then it spreads around my groins!!Guess its always Fungus !!?? It happens to me at least three times a year!! I always use Ketacanazole cream and it helps,but after three,four months it always comes back!! I sweet a lot because I train every day,sometimes not drying my groins for few hours!! Might it be some other serious problem ??? What should I do??? Whats the reason that it alwasy comes back??? PLEASE HELP

Posted by ss on 06/10/2012 at 10:41

i have noticed boils at the base of the penis a few days ago. definite this is not STD. they have become blackheads and itchy. what has caused this ? It is very embarassing and i don't know how to handle this.....i have applied some OTC antifungal cream. pls advsie

Posted by Optional on 28/05/2012 at 12:30

no mention here of other common allergies, such as dust mites?

Posted by Unknown on 27/04/2012 at 12:41

Thanks for the tip in trying to stop the scrotum from itching again!!!

Posted by Optional on 24/02/2012 at 02:57

Hi Dr. I am facing itching problems near scrotum areas,anal areas,under legs.In these areas black spot skin is generated.While taking bath I finds little bit pain to that areas so I am not using soap now.Please suggest me what to do ?

Posted by Jere on 09/01/2012 at 04:59

Hi Gents Jock itch/Sweat Rash without wasting your time and money - is simply cured by a cream that can be given by your doctor or bought on the internet, the cream is > Daktacort, Hydrocortisone Cream < that will clear it up for you in a few days to a week or so depending on how bad it is, its costs anywhere from £3.50 to £6.50 or free from the doctors = problem solved ? From Edinburgh Scotland - Regards Jere

Posted by Optional on 05/12/2011 at 11:26

im suffering from jock itch for almost 3-4 years..but now it has completely stop itching except near my anal ...however there is an ugly dark acne which has been left i wish to remove it..how can i do this..btw...i never use something to cure my jock itch..but now i just want to remove this discolouratio on my skin..plz help!i may sent a pics if u want..sorry for my bad english

Posted by just read it... on 21/07/2011 at 02:12

Hey Scrotum itcher- I just read this http://www.embarrassingproblems.com/problem/anal-itching Read the part about threadworms, I wonder if that's it? "Threadworms (pinworms) are tiny worms, about 13 mm long, which live in the lower part of the bowel. They are very common – an estimated 40 million cases in the USA alone. The female worms creep out of the anus at night – how they know it is night, and why they come out only at night, is a mystery. They lay thousands of eggs on the skin of the anus, causing intense itching at night. When you scratch, the eggs lodge under your fingernails, and it is easy to transfer them to your mouth and reinfect your gut by swallowing the eggs." Good Luck!

Posted by Optional on 03/05/2011 at 12:45

I have an itch on my 'scrotem' which only appears at night. Have now found tiny germ things which cause tiny itchy swellings on the 'bag'. On scratching they seem to disapear into the skin. Can you help?

Posted by MS on 19/02/2011 at 10:36

Every once in a while (like, maybe every 3 years or so), I get jock itch. One of these times is right now and it's driving me crazy... Normally it clears up VERY quicky, but once in the summer of 1998 and this current "attack", my jock itch has been rather intractible...

Posted by Optional on 30/01/2011 at 03:22

Can girls get this????????? Im very self-conscious of it and just want it GONE. but..i definately dont have athletes foot, so can SOMEONE tell me what it is (it is as described, on the crease of my groin, not red but browny) PLEASE HELP:(

Posted by Optional on 23/01/2011 at 07:04

I have a mild it on my groin area and pubic area. its coming up in a little rash on the inside of my thighs and i have a itch on my scrotum skin, i dont have athletes foot, What can i use to get rid of the itch and what ever is on my scrotum?

Posted by Optional on 11/01/2011 at 02:16

i have a mildly itchy rash on my penis and a few red itchy bumps slightly above my groin in the pubic area and it stops right at my underwear line. It showed up yesterday morning after I had sex with my long time girl friend, but she was on her period. Im using Tinactin and that controls any itching but it doesn't look like ring worm or jock itch really. She doesnt have any symptoms. I do currently have athletes foot mildly on both feet, I get it often. I walk to work everyday its about a mile, I wear two pairs of sweatpants everyday bc its cold, I sweat alot in general so I assumed it the rash in my groin was partly from that, and... I often use my socks in masturbation and after sex for clean up I don't have any issues with urination. The strange thing is its showing up the day after we had sex on her period. Do I just have the athletes foot spread there or could it be something worse? Im kind of terrified that it is herpes but it really isn't that itchy or painful... Thanks

Posted by pete on 10/06/2010 at 04:16

I'm treating this now for a few months with micanozole ?? an aerosol and a powder - and washing with the right ph soap. and without irritating the area at all - and if I don't shower and treat every day, it comes back. I could lose 10-15 lbs which is difficult because I can hardly walk from stenosis and neuropathy. but I'm wondering will this go on forever or does there come a point where it goes away??? thanks.

Posted by Optional on 23/05/2010 at 12:54

thankyou very much

Posted by successfuladvice on 04/02/2010 at 08:04

Anti-fungal medication can sometimes be so dangerous that bloodwork needs to be monitored. Try these methods, they have worked for many family members. For 'jock-itch', in the US, get over-the-counter Lotimin AT spray. It stings at first, but guaranteed to work in 7 days and I have seen it. We told our doctor about the success in 7 days but she wouldn't consider it for others. I guess no $ involved. For athlete's foot, a slow but sure way is Tea Tree oil and/or Vick's Vapor Rub. I believe the menthol is antibiotic and the cream/oil suffoctes the fungus at any rate, I have seen results, but nails take a long time to grow out. Watch for a healthy pink nail bed first. Look these methods up online. They work AND won't kill you like the meds.

Posted by Anonymous on 12/04/2009 at 10:17

is it contagiuos while having sex ?

Posted by R on 09/04/2009 at 12:43

Wow this is my exact situation. I'm very clean person with nice smooth skin and have been complimented on it to, but I have "athletes foot" and my right big toe's nail is disgusting (black) and plams of my feet get real dry. I used cocoa butter to cream to try and keep them moisturized. Also I noticed recently between my legs a dry patch of skin with discoloration that would get flaky after some hours after a shower, but it didn't itch at all though. I have just recently been taking Fluconazole pills 300mg/wk for my feet for the past month and I have also been using nystatin-trimacinolone cream for the "jock itch". I have two questions.First, will my skin color on the patches between my legs turn back to its orginal color/tone? I'm darkskinned and since I've been using the cream the patches have turned real light. Secondly how long could you estimate the athletes foot will take to clear up from what I've told you so far? So I could finally show my feet off without shame. Thanks alot

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