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The best way to treat and prevent jock itch

It’s an uncomfortable condition that some find difficult to discuss – the dreaded jock itch. While the name implies that this infection primarily occurs in athletes, any man or woman can develop jock itch.

What is jock itch?

“Jock itch is a skin fungus that develops in the skin folds and the groin,” says Vikash Modi, M.D., a Piedmont family medicine physician. “It is similar to the fungus that develops with ringworm or athlete’s foot.”

Jock itch occurs when prolonged moisture in the groin area causes the fungus on the skin to multiply causing an infection.  

“We see it a lot in the summer months when people are sweating under the hot sun,” says Dr. Modi. “Jock itch can also be triggered by friction from clothes. So we see it in people who wear uniforms, like police officers or delivery people.”

Jock itch usually starts as a red patch of skin on the upper thigh that moves towards the center of the body, spreading outwards.

“The rash has a sharp pattern and can start to elevate at the edges,” says Dr. Modi. “It is very itchy, and some people actually get sensitivity in the area when the skin gets raw and irritated.”

How to treat jock itch

Most cases of jock itch can be treated with over-the-counter medicines.

“You can use a topical antifungal cream, like Gold Bond medicated powder, Tinactin or Lamisil ointment,” says Dr. Modi. “If those don't work, you can go to your doctor and get prescription-strength lotion of a similar anti-fungal powder or cream.”

How to prevent jock itch

To prevent jock itch, Dr. Modi recommends the following:

  • Avoid tight-fitting clothes.  

  • Notify your physician of a perspiration problem. If perspiration is the issue, you may want to talk to your doctor about getting some prescription antiperspirants to use in your groin area.

  • Use drying powders. After sweating or showering, put drying powder in the area.

  • Wear cotton underwear.

“If you develop jock itch, you're also at risk of having the fungus in other parts of your body, like your armpits,” says Dr. Modi.  “So it's really important to treat it aggressively when you notice it, and be prepared for it during warm weather seasons.”

Dr. Modi practices at Piedmont Physicians Brookhaven, located at 3925 Peachtree Road Northeast, Suite 300, Brookhaven, GA 30319. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Modi or one of our other primary care providers. Save time, book online.

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