Jock Itch: Care Instructions

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Jock itch is a fungal infection of the groin. The fungus that causes jock itch lives on your skin. It often affects male athletes, but anyone can get jock itch. You may get an itchy rash on your inner thighs and rear end (buttocks). It spreads and starts to itch when you sweat or are in steamy showers or locker rooms.

Jock itch should end soon if you keep your skin dry after you clean it. You can treat jock itch at home with antifungal creams that you can buy without a prescription.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Wash the rash with soap and water. Pat the skin dry.
  • Put a cool compress on the skin to relieve itching.
  • Spread antifungal cream over and around the entire edge of the rash. Follow the directions on the package.
  • To avoid spreading it, wash your hands well after treating or touching the rash.
  • If your doctor prescribed medicine, take it exactly as directed. Call your doctor if you have any problems with your medicine.
  • Try not to scratch the rash.
  • Shower or bathe daily and after you exercise.
  • Keep your skin dry as much as possible to allow it to heal.
  • Until your jock itch is cured, wear loose-fitting cotton clothing. Avoid tight underwear, pants, and tights.
  • Wash your supporters and shorts after every wearing.
  • Do not share clothing, sports equipment, towels, or sheets to avoid spreading the fungi to other people.

To prevent jock itch

  • Put on socks before you put on underwear if you have athlete's foot. This action helps prevent the fungus on your feet from spreading to your groin.
  • Wash your workout clothes, underwear, socks, and towels after each use.
  • Keep your groin, inner thighs, and buttocks clean and dry, especially after you exercise and shower.
  • Do not borrow or lend clothing, sports equipment, towels, or sheets.
  • Wear slippers or sandals in locker rooms, showers, and public bathing areas.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have signs of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • Red streaks leading from the rash.
    • Pus draining from the rash.
    • A fever.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.