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From the marathon run­ner to the office clerk, tinea cruris does not dis­crim­i­nate whose lap it inhab­its. The infec­tion arrives seem­ing­ly unpro­voked from the suf­fer­er’s per­spec­tive, which jus­ti­fi­ably caus­es pan­ic — why does my (insert anato­my here) burn?! Sure, men­tion­ing jock itch con­jures up some unpleas­ant images. How­ev­er, rec­og­niz­ing it could save you some dis­com­fort, and valu­able treat­ment time.

Symp­toms
It all starts with an itch. This itch­ing begins mild­ly enough along the inner thighs, but as it grad­u­al­ly spreads, the infect­ed area starts burn­ing. Rash­es may appear, reveal­ing the paths the fun­gus has forged. Ini­tial­ly, this rash con­sists of red cir­cu­lar pat­terns with a scaly tex­ture. As the con­di­tion con­tin­ues, liaisons devel­op, and the symp­toms just wors­en from that point.

Like most fun­gi, tinea cruris pros­pers in damp, warm regions where it may breed unhin­dered by ene­mies such as air cir­cu­la­tion and dry­ness. Tight fit­ting cloth­ing, exces­sive sweat­ing and infre­quent show­er­ing all serve as ingre­di­ents for birthing a tinea cruris colony.  And some­times it arrives by means of con­tact with some­thing or some­one already infect­ed. It can cling to tow­els, hang on under­wear exposed to anoth­er fun­gus (athlete’s foot), and tra­verse from infect­ed body to (now infect­ed) body.

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So, how does one pre­vent and over­come tinea cruris?

Stop Shar­ing
Regard­less of how gen­er­ous and com­mu­ni­ty ori­ent­ed shar­ing tow­els and under­wear seems, resist par­tic­i­pat­ing in such activ­i­ties. Jock itch is an oppor­tunis­tic fun­gus that thrives in and trav­els through these objects. Any­thing that has close prox­im­i­ty to your inti­mate regions should be used only by you. Remem­ber, it’s okay to be self­ish sometimes.

Loosen up
Give your­self a breather from those briefs and jock straps. Although these arti­cles of cloth­ing are intend­ed to enhance per­for­mance, they also increase your risk of devel­op­ing tinea cruris.  Such tight fit­ting gear keeps heat and sweat close to the body, pro­vid­ing the con­di­tions nec­es­sary for a fun­gal infec­tion to emerge and spread. So instead of sport­ing those snug briefs the entire week, mix it up with a pair of breath­able cot­ton shorts or some­thing syn­thet­i­cal­ly designed to man­age moisture.

Keep it Clean
You want to con­serve water usage, and that is com­mend­able. But not show­er­ing reg­u­lar­ly, espe­cial­ly after those vig­or­ous, sweat induc­ing jogs leaves you sus­cep­ti­ble to tinea cru­sis. Wash­ing fre­quent­ly can pre­vent fun­gal devel­op­ment, and reduce the infec­tion from expand­ing if already present. Doing laun­dry is also vital in fend­ing off this nui­sance from brew­ing itself into exis­tence or breach­ing cloth­ing barriers.

Pow­der Your­self
Numer­ous pow­ders and oint­ments can help man­age and elim­i­nate tinea cruris. Dry­ing pow­ders serve as a pre­ven­ta­tive mea­sure that will lessen the moist­ness and exces­sive fric­tion that occurs dur­ing stren­u­ous activ­i­ties. If tinea cruris has already sprung up, creams con­tain­ing tol­naf­tate, clotri­ma­zole or micona­zole typ­i­cal­ly erad­i­cate the infec­tion. More nat­ur­al meth­ods like tea tree oil (remem­ber to dilute with water and use spar­ing­ly!) also help sub­due the itchy beast.