Jock itch (also called “crotch rot”) is an infection by a common type of skin fungus called Tinea cruris. It can also be caused by a similar fungal species that causes athlete’s foot. Despite its name, jock itch can affect both sexes, though it’s more common in men. Affected areas may appear red, tan, or brown and the skin may crack, flake, or peel. The infection causes itching or a burning sensation.
The fungus species that cause jock itch are normally present on the skin, but they do not grow as long as the skin is clean and dry. But on areas that remain warm and moist for long periods of time, the fungus may multiply, causing the classic rash and symptoms. These conditions are enhanced by tight-fitting clothing, such as jock straps.
It’s important to treat jock itch promptly because, otherwise, it’s likely to spread to other parts of the body. Scratching the affected areas may lead to secondary bacterial infections.
If you think you’ve got jock itch, see your doctor to confirm the diagnosis. Mild cases of jock itch can be treated by keeping the affected area clean and dry and using an over-the-counter antifungal ointment, lotion, powder or spray. More severe cases may require a prescription medication.