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Jock Itch

When to call the doctor

The appearance of a red itchy rash in your groin or genital area should prompt a visit to your doctor.

Once you have been diagnosed, go back to the doctor if the rash does any of these things:

  • Spreads or changes appearance
  • Becomes increasingly uncomfortable
  • Develops lumps or swelling of the affected areas
  • Does not improve after 2 weeks of treatment
  • Does not go away completely or comes back frequently despite proper prevention

When to go to the hospital

Go to a hospital's emergency department if you develop symptoms beyond the rash:

  • Fever
  • Weakness
  • vomiting
  • Rapid spread of the rash
  • Swollen glands
  • Lumps in the groin
  • Drainage of pus
  • Open sores or ulcers
  • Boils
  • rash that involves your penis or vaginal area
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Rash that spreads to your trunk

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Self-Care at Home

If you have some itching and redness in the groin area, try to keep the area dry, exposed to air as much as possible, and avoid tight clothes on the area. These measures may relieve the problem.

Many antifungal medications are available without prescription. They come in cream, liquid spray, ointment, and powder forms. Some people may develop an allergic reaction to the medication, so stop using them if your rash seems worse.

  • Tolnaftate (Tinactin, Aftate) and undecylenate (Cruex, Desenex) are well-known, effective medications. The powder form is also useful as a drying agent. These medications are not effective against candidal infections.
  • Clotrimazole (Fungoid, Lotrimin, Mycelex) and miconazole (Micatin, Monistat Derm) are also available over-the-counter and are effective against all fungi.
  • If these medications help, be sure to use them for 2-4 weeks to completely clear the infection.
  • Keeping the affected area clean and bone dry helps to clear the infection.
  • You may use the medications to prevent relapses as well.

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Follow-up

Use any medication the way it is prescribed and for the length of time prescribed. Do not stop because the rash goes away quickly.

If instructed to do so, follow up with your doctor to be re-checked even if the rash has completely gone away.

Prevention

To prevent jock itch, try to keep your groin area clean and dry.

  • Use cornstarch, powders, even antifungal powder such as Desenex or Cruex in the various skin folds
  • It is best to wear loose-fitting cotton underwear.
  • From a public health perspective, sterilizing linens by washing in hot soapy water with bleach can help in situations of communal bedding and bath linens.
Outlook
  • Most cases of jock itch go away completely.
  • An infection may come back for some people.
  • In others it may become chronic.

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