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.
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.
So, how does one prevent and overcome tinea cruris?
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.
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.
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.