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How to Diagnose and Treat Jock Itch (Tinea Cruris)

jock itch treatment
Medically reviewed by Dr. Mandy Liedeman


Itching down, there is no laughing matter. It’s not only uncomfortable, but it’s also frightening. Questions whirl through your mind: What is causing your symptoms? Is it serious? Can you spread it to others? Not yet, so don’t panic. You can find the finest solutions for prompt relief by evaluating your symptoms and learning more about the typical causes of genital itching and sores. The two most typical causes of genital outbreaks, jock itch, and herpes, must be distinguished. Learn how to spot it and what to do if you have it by continuing to read.  

What is a Jock Itch?

A type of ringworm is jock itch (tinea cruris). In no way is ringworm a worm. It is a type of fungal infection of the body ( tinea cruris) causing rash in warm and damp areas of the body. A fungus has infected the outermost layers of the skin, hair, or nails. In our surroundings, fungi (plural of fungus) are found everywhere.

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.

How to Know if it’s a Jock Itch?

Jock itch is distinguishable by its symptoms. The following symptoms could indicate jock itch:

Itching and burning

The affected area may feel itchy and uncomfortable, and you may experience a burning sensation.

Red rash

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.


The rash may spread to the buttocks, inner thighs, and genitals. It can also appear on other body parts, such as the feet (athlete’s foot) and hands (ringworm).


Jock itch thrives in warm, moist environments, so the rash may be more pronounced after sweating or wearing tight clothing.

Some other skin conditions, such as psoriasis or eczema, can have similar symptoms, so getting a proper diagnosis is vital to ensure you receive the appropriate treatment.

Consult one of our Doctors Online to Discuss the Cause of the Jock Itch.

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

Some common causes of jock itch include:


Sweating in the groin area can create a warm, moist environment conducive to fungal growth.

Tight clothing

Wearing a tight dress, particularly underwear or athletic gear, can create friction and trap moisture, leading to a jock itch.

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.

Weakened immune system

Jockey itch and other fungal diseases may affect people with compromised immune systems easily, such as HIV or diabetes.

Poor hygiene

Poor hygiene can contribute to the development of jock itch by allowing fungi to thrive in warm, moist environments.

How is Jock Itch Diagnosed?

Jock itch can be diagnosed by a healthcare provider based on the symptoms and a physical exam. During the exam, the healthcare provider will examine the affected area and look for signs of a fungal infection, such as a red rash with scaling or flaking.

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.

Consult one of our Doctors Online and Get Tested for a Jock Itch.

How is Jock Itch Treated?

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 wearing 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
  • Avoiding walking barefoot, especially in public showers (fungal infections can quickly transfer from the feet to the groin)

See a doctor if over-the-counter treatments aren’t effective. They can likely prescribe more potent medicines, such as oral terbinafine and itraconazole.

Make sure to use them as directed. Stopping too soon can allow fungi to return more efficiently, even if you have no symptoms. Some medications aren’t effective in treating jock itch. These include nystatin powder, which doctors may prescribe to treat fungal skin infections. Nystatin treats a different fungus type than the fungus that causes a jock itch. Topical anti-itch steroids also may make jock itch worse instead of better. Blisters can indicate a more severe or advanced infection, and your healthcare provider may recommend a more aggressive treatment approach.

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

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.

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.

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.

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. 

Contact one of our Doctors Online for the Treatment of the Jock Itch.

Herpes Vs. Jock Itch: How Do You Tell the Difference?

Herpes and jock itch can have similar symptoms, such as itching, redness, and blisters in the genital area, making it difficult to tell the difference between them. However, there are some key differences to look for:


The herpes simplex virus causes herpes, whereas a fungus infection causes a jock itch.


Jock itch typically affects the groin area and inner thighs, while herpes can affect the genital area, buttocks, and thighs.


Jock itch typically appears as a red, scaly rash with raised borders, while herpes lesions are usually fluid-filled blisters that can be painful and tender to the touch.


Jock itch usually develops gradually over several days, while herpes lesions tend to increase and can come and go in outbreaks.

Other symptoms

Herpes outbreaks can accompany flu-like symptoms like fever, headache, and muscle aches.

Can Rubbing Alcohol Cure Jock Itch?

Alcohol application to the jock itch is ineffective. While some bacteria and fungi on the skin’s surface can be killed by rubbing alcohol, the underlying fungus that causes jock itch cannot be treated with it. Rub alcohol application might exacerbate symptoms by causing additional dryness and irritation to the afflicted area.

How can I Prevent a Jock Itch?

Keeping your groin, inner thighs, and buttocks clean and dry can lessen your risk of developing a jock itch. After your exercise and shower, thoroughly dry off. Try these additional measures to avoid jock itch:

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.
Consult one of our Doctors Online to Discuss the Prevention of Jock Itch.

FAQs About Jock Itch Answered by Your Doctors Online Team

What does jock itch look like?

A fungal illness called jock itch often manifests as a red, itchy rash in the groin area. The rash may progress to the buttocks, anus, and inner thighs. Skin irritation can cause lumps or blisters to leak or crust over, making the skin flaky or scaly.

How long does jock itch blisters last?

Jock itch typically appears as a red, itchy rash in the groin area, but it may also produce small, fluid-filled blisters. The duration of the 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?

They might be contagious if a fungal infection is what is causing the jock itch blisters. Direct touch with an infected individual or contaminated items, such as towels or clothing, can transmit the fungus that causes a jock itch. To lessen the chance of the infection spreading, jock itch must also be treated very away. To treat and stop the illness from spreading to other people, your doctor may prescribe antifungal medicine like creams, ointments, or oral tablets.

What kills jock itch the fastest?

Antifungal medication is the most effective treatment for jock itch and can help to clear the infection quickly. Antifungal medications include creams, ointments, powders, and oral tablets. The particular medication that your doctor prescribes will depend on the infection’s severity and other unique characteristics.
In general, topical antifungal creams and ointments are often used as a first-line treatment for jock itch. These medications are applied directly to the affected area and can help to reduce itching and inflammation while killing the fungus. Some commonly used antifungal creams for jock itch include clotrimazole, miconazole, and terbinafine.
Oral antifungal tablets may be recommended in more severe cases of jock itch or if topical treatments are ineffective. These medications are taken by mouth and circulate throughout the body to kill the fungus. Some commonly used oral antifungal medications for jock itch include terbinafine and fluconazole.

How do I know my jock itch is healing?

Jock itch can be uncomfortable and frustrating, but prompt and appropriate treatment can quickly clear the infection. 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. Jock itch thrives in warm, moist environments, so as the infection clears, the affected skin should begin to feel drier and less sweaty. The affected area may feel less tender or painful as the skin heals. However, it’s important to remember that everyone’s experience with jock itch can be different; some may take longer to heal than others.

Is jock itch STD?

No, a jock itch is not an STI (sex-related infection) (STD). A type of fungal illness known as jock itch affects the skin in the groin area and is brought on by dermatophytes, a variety of fungi. Direct contact with an infected person or contact with contaminated materials, including towels or clothing, are the two main ways HPV is commonly disseminated. Although jock itch is not an STD, it can be confused with other sexually transmitted diseases like herpes or genital warts.

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.
But, by using excellent hygiene habits and taking precautions to stop the spread of infection, the chance of transmission can be reduced. This entails taking frequent showers with soap and water, carefully drying the affected area afterward, and avoiding sharing towels, clothes, or other private objects with others.

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. The inflammation may also have a raised, scaly border. Sometimes, a jock itch may cause blisters in the affected area. However, these blisters typically do not ooze fluid. Instead, they may be filled with clear or yellowish fluid, and they may itch or cause a burning sensation.
If you notice oozing or discharge from the affected area, it may indicate another condition, such as a bacterial infection or an allergic reaction.

Will jock itch naturally disappear?

In some instances, the jock itch may go away on its own. Still, it is typically advised to seek medical attention to hasten the healing process and stop the infection from getting worse or spreading to other areas of the human body. A type of fungal illness known as jock itch affects the skin in the groin area and is brought on by dermatophytes, a fungus. Warm, humid settings are ideal for the disease to flourish. Direct touch with an infected individual or contact with contaminated materials, like towels or clothing, can quickly transmit it.
Without treatment, jock itch can persist for weeks or even months, and it may cause discomfort and irritation in the affected area. The infection can also spread to other body areas, such as the feet or hands.

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, heed the guidance from your healthcare provider.
Also, you must complete your entire medical course. Itching and discomfort will decrease throughout the initial phases of recovery. Even if your symptoms disappear, you can still have a jock itch. If you don’t treat it adequately, your jock itch may return and become more challenging.

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