Any guy can come down with jock itch, whether they’re an athlete or not. But as the name implies, it is a condition which is perhaps more common if a guy is an athlete – even an amateur one. So men who enjoy a weekly football game with their buds or who spend time shooting hoops at the neighborhood gym may be at an increased risk – especially if time is spent in a locker room before or afterward. Preventing and treating jock itch is an essential part of good penis health and all men should know the basics to be better equipped to handle the condition if it arises.
A little background
What we commonly call jock itch is also known by the medical term tinea cruris, as well as such other aliases as jock rot, crotch itch, and gym itch. It’s similar to athlete’s foot (which bears the similar medical name, tinea pedis), and both are considered a form of ringworm. Confusingly, ringworm has nothing to do with worms. All are caused by the same kind of fungus.
When this fungus is on the genitals, the buttocks or the inner thighs, it is considered jock itch. It’s distinguished by a red rashy look, often in the shape of a circle (or ring) which tends to itch greatly and makes a guy wants to scratch like crazy. Jock itch (thankfully) isn’t serious, but it can be uncomfortable and the need to scratch can lead to some embarrassment.
Jock itch is so called because it is more common among people (usually men, although it can occur in women) who sweat a lot – such as athletes – and because the location in which it occurs is the area covered by or close to a jock (as in athletic supporter).
Jock itch can be easily spread through skin-to-skin contact, but it can also be spread from contact with items which recently had direct contact with an infected area. Also, it’s important to know that if the fungus that causes athlete’s foot or ringworm comes into contact with the groin or buttocks area, that can also lead to jock itch. So if, say, a guy with athlete’s foot rubs his infected foot area and then scratches his penis, or dries off his infected foot and then uses the same towel to dry off his groin, he can give himself jock itch.
The fungus that causes jock itch thrives in moist, warm environments – not just the crotch but also gymnasiums, lockers rooms, and showers. So an athlete may need to take extra steps to prevent jock itch. These include:
1) Making sure he and other athletes use footwear. For example, wrestling barefoot can allow the fungus to get on gym mats and then get transferred to the jock. Locker and shower room floors can harbor athlete’s foot fungus which can be transferred to the groin, so wearing flip-flops or other footwear is advised.
2) Using a towel in a sauna. Infected feet, buttocks or groins may leave behind traces of fungus in a sauna or steam room. Sit on a clean towel in order to avoid contracting the fungus.
3) Drying off thoroughly. After showering, dry the penis, buttocks and thighs thoroughly; the more moisture, the greater the likelihood of developing jock itch.
4) Not sharing towels. Always use clean towels and don’t dry off with the towel a buddy has already used.
5) Wearing clean clothes. After showering, change into a fresh set of clothes (including socks and underwear).
If an athlete does get jock itch, there are many antifungal medications a doctor may recommend. It also helps to use a superior penis health crème (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil, which is clinically proven mild and safe for skin) with moisturizing ingredients that can help alleviate the itching; crèmes with Shea butter and vitamin E are best. In addition, strong, healthy penis skin better withstands itchiness, so find a crème with a potent antioxidant like alpha lipoic acid to fight free radicals and keep skin healthy.