What are the causes of jock itch, and how to treat it?

jock itch treatment
Medically reviewed by Dr. Mandy Liedeman

Key takeaways: 

  1. Jock itch (tinea cruris) is a type of fungal infection of the body ( tinea cruris) leading to irritating rash in warm and moist areas. Symptoms will include redness, blisters, and a burning sensation. 
  2. Causes of Jock itch are tight clothing, weak immune system, tight clothing, and poor hygiene. All of the causes can lead to the fungus formation as well as the spread of that infection until it is diagnosed and treated. 
  3. Treatment options include avoiding tight clothing, keeping the area clean and dry, and using antifungal topical creams as per the diagnosis by a healthcare provider.


Jock itch (tinea cruris) is a type of ringworm but not actually a worm. It is a fungal infection of the body ( tinea cruris) leading to irritating rash in warm and damp areas. A fungus will infect the outermost layers of the skin, hair, or nails. In our surroundings, fungi (plural of fungus) are found everywhere. Symptoms include itching, burning, and red rash.

The skin’s ringworm manifests as a rash with spots that may be red, peeling, or have bumps on the margins that resemble blisters. The inflammation can spread quickly, and the skin is frequently itchy. Both athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) and jock itch can coincide. Causes include tight clothing, weak immune system, tight clothing, and poor hygiene. Treatment options are antifungal topical creams and medications that can only be prescribed by your healthcare provider.

What is jock itch?

Jock itch, also known as tinea cruris, is a fungal infection causing an itchy rash in warm and damp areas. Despite its name, it has nothing to do with worms. Fungi are everywhere in our environment and can infect the skin, hair, or nails and cause a fungal infection, especially in damp and moisture-containing body parts. 

Symptoms include itching, burning, and a red rash with spots that may peel or form blister-like bumps on the edges. It’s important to know that jock itch is not caused by actual worms but by a fungal infection.”

says Dr. Lawrence C. 
Get the tailored jock itch prescription now according to the severity and time period.

What does jock itch look like/symptoms?

Some of the distinguishing symptoms of Jock itch would be : 

  • Red irritated skin
  • Inflammation in the area: You can also experience a burning sensation and inflammation as one of the visible symptoms of jock itch. 
  • Continuous itching: Itching is also one of the prominent symptoms of jock itch. 
  • Blisters like rashes: Jock itch typically causes a red, circular, or oval-shaped rash in the groin area. The rash may have raised edges and be scaly or flaky.
  • Irritating and burning: The affected area may feel itchy and uncomfortable, and you may experience a burning sensation. 

What are the causes of jock itch?

The fungus dermatophytes are what causes jock itch. These fungi can quickly spread from person to person through skin-to-skin contact or contact with infected surfaces. They flourish in warm, damp settings. 

Poor personal hygiene does not cause jock itch; it can affect anyone, regardless of lifestyle or cleanliness.

says Dr Richard Honekar.

However, keeping the groin area clean and dry can help prevent jock itch and other fungal infections, he added.

Some common causes of jock itch include:

1. Sweating in the groin areas

Sweating in the groin area can create a warm, moist environment conducive to fungal growth. It’s better to keep the area clean as well as dry to reduce the chances of any fungal or bacterial growth in the area. 

Keeping the groin area clean and dry is important to prevent bacterial or fungal growth. 

2. Tight clothing

Wearing a tight dress, particularly underwear or athletic gear, can create friction and trap moisture, leading to a jock itch. Good clothing allows the air to pass, ultimately making the area dry. It’s essential to always keep the area dry by choosing the right clothing. 

3. Sharing clothing or towels

Fungal infections can be easily transmitted through shared clothing or towels, particularly in public places such as gyms and locker rooms. it’s better to avoid sharing garments or storing clothing apparel in the same place where they can be in close contact to avoid any chances of infections.

4. Weakened immune system

Jockey itch and other fungal diseases may affect people with compromised immune systems easily, such as HIV or diabetes. Per the healthcare provider’s or pharmacist’s instructions, supplemental care can help you stay healthy with a good immune system. 

5. Poor hygiene

Poor hygiene can contribute to the development of jock itch by allowing fungi to thrive in warm, moist environments. It’s also not recommended to clean the area in a way to keep the area moist as well. Using water and drying afterward will help you avoid bacterial and fungal infections.

Jock itch can be prevented by following simple lifestyle changes. Get connected now with an online healthcare expert.

Can women get jock itch?

Yes. Women can also get jock itch, but it’s rare. Women that get jock itch do not get affected in the same areas. They are most likely to get the itch in the inner thighs and legs other than the genitals, unlike men.  

In men, the rash begins in the crease of the groin, spreads, and moves down the upper thigh and buttocks.

How is jock itch diagnosed?

Jock itch can be diagnosed by a healthcare provider based on the symptoms and a physical exam. 

The medical professional occasionally takes a skin scraping or a skin culture to confirm the diagnosis further. To do this, a small piece of skin from the affected area must be removed and examined under a microscope or sent to a lab for testing.

How is jock itch treated? 

Here are some treatment options that may be used for jock itch blisters:

  1. Topical antifungal creams or ointments

These medications can help eliminate fungal infections and reduce inflammation. Your healthcare provider may recommend over-the-counter or prescription-strength medicines. Antifungal topical creams that are mostly prescribed are Terbinafine topical antifungal creams.

  1. Steroid creams or ointments

If the blisters are particularly inflamed or itchy, your doctor may prescribe a steroid cream or ointment to reduce inflammation and promote healing. Steroid creams that healthcare providers mostly prescribe are clotrimazole and betamethasone

  1. Oral antifungal medications

If topical treatments are unsuccessful for severe cases of the condition, oral antifungal medications may be prescribed. These medicines must typically be taken orally for some weeks. Medications like fluconazole or itraconazole are mostly prescribed for the oral treatment of antifungal medications.

  1. Soaking in a saltwater bath

Soaking the affected area in a warm saltwater bath may help reduce inflammation and promote healing. Be sure to dry the area thoroughly after washing.

Following your healthcare provider’s treatment plan and keeping the affected area clean and dry is essential. You should also avoid scratching or picking at the blisters, which can lead to further infection or scarring. 

Connect with an online doctor now and get a well-suited prescription to treat jock itch!

How to prevent jock itch? 

Jockey itch can be treated and prevented from returning by keeping the affected areas dry and clean. 

Other methods of treating jock itch include:

  • Changing out of sweaty clothing after exercising or playing sports. 
  • Always wear clean clothing.
  • When showering, clean the genital area with mild soap.
  • Not wearing tight-fitting clothes.
  • Drying completely after bathing before putting on clothes.
  • Applying topical antifungal OTC medications with terbinafine, clotrimazole, and miconazole to clean dry skin as directed. 
  • After each use, wash your workout attire, pants, socks, and towels.
  • When using public showers and locker rooms, use shower shoes.
  • You should take care of an athlete’s foot if you have it. Before putting on your underpants during treatment, put your socks on. By doing this, the fungus won’t advance from your feet to your groin.
  • If you frequently get athlete’s foot, dry your feet as you towel off after a shower or bath. Doing this might prevent an infection from spreading from your feet to your groin.

Talk to a doctor

Jock itch is a fungal infection that can start by showing its initial symptom of rash, which can lead to severe itching, burning and will spread to lower or upper thighs. Consulting healthcare providers will help you get the correct diagnosis and treatment.

FAQs about jock itch

How long does jock itch blisters last?

The duration of the jock itch blisters can vary depending on the infection’s severity and treatment’s effectiveness. In mild cases, jockey itch blisters may disappear within a few days to a week. Blisters could last longer without treatment in more severe cases, possibly for weeks or months.

Are jock itch blisters contagious?

Jock itch might be contagious if a fungal infection is causing the jock itch blisters. Direct touch with an infected individual or contaminated items, such as towels or clothing, can cause the spread of infection.

How do I know my jock itch is healing?

As the disease begins to heal, you may notice a reduction in symptoms such as redness, itching, and inflammation. The rash may appear less inflamed and feel less itchy or irritated. If you had blisters as part of your jock itch infection, you might notice that they are drying up and scabbing over as the infection clears.

Can jock itch spread in the shower?

A jock itch can spread in the shower, but the transmission risk is generally low. Jock itch is caused by a fungus known as dermatophytes, which can survive on surfaces such as shower floors and towels for a limited time. If someone with a jock itch uses a shared shower or towel, there is a chance that the fungus could be transmitted to other people using those facilities.

Does jock itch ooze fluid?

The fluid does not generally ooze from jock itch. A type of fungal illness known as jock itch affects the skin in the groin area and is brought on by dermatophytes, a type of fungus. The most common symptoms of jock itch include itching, redness, and a rash in the groin area

How long can a jock itch take to disappear after treatment?

Your jock itch should go away with the proper diagnosis and treatment in one to eight weeks. Likewise, seek guidance from your healthcare provider. Also, you must complete your entire medical course. Itching and discomfort will decrease throughout the initial phases of recovery.

Your Doctors Online uses high-quality and trustworthy sources to ensure content accuracy and reliability. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and medical associations to provide up-to-date and evidence-based information to the users.

  • Webster, Stephen B. “How I manage jock itch.” The Physician and Sportsmedicine 12.5 (1984): 109-113.
  • Brodin, Michael B. “Jock Itch.” The Physician and Sportsmedicine 8.2 (1980): 102-108.
  • Swofford, Aleen. “Alternatives to Jock-Itch.” Journal of Physical Education and Recreation 51.9 (1980): 13-13.
  • Mishra, Vijay, et al. “Nanoarchitectures in Management of Fungal Diseases: An Overview.” Applied Sciences 11.15 (2021): 7119.
  • Millikan, Larry E. “‘Athlete’s Foot’—Scratching Beneath Surface of Fungal Ailments.” The Physician and Sportsmedicine 3.4 (1975): 51-56.

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