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Jock Itch: Teen Version

What is jock itch?

Jock itch is a fungus that causes a pink, scaly, itchy rash on the inner thighs, groin, and scrotum. (Note: The rash is not on the penis.) Jock itch is also called ringworm of the crotch or tinea cruris. Usually, only males get jock itch.

What is the cause?

Jock itch is caused by a fungus, often the same one that causes athlete's foot. Sometimes it is transferred by a towel used to dry the feet and then used to dry the groin area.

How can I take care of myself?

  • Antifungal medicine

    Buy Tinactin, Micatin, Lamisil AT, or Lotrimin cream (nonprescription) at your drugstore. Twice a day put the cream on the rash and at least 1 inch beyond the borders of the rash. Make sure you get the medicine in all the creases.

    Continue using the medicine for several weeks, or for at least 7 days after the rash seems to have gone away.

  • Dryness

    Jock itch will heal much more quickly if the groin area is kept dry. You should wear loosely fitting cotton shorts. Wash shorts and athletic supporters after each use. Wash the rash area once a day with plain water and dry it carefully. Do not use soap on the rash.

  • Scratching

    Scratching will delay the cure, so avoid scratching the area.

  • Contagiousness

    Jock itch is not very contagious. The fungus won't grow on dry, normal skin. You may continue to take gym and play sports. Wash clothes after each use. Storing clothes in a locker or gym bag lets the fungus grow on the clothes.

When should I call my healthcare provider?

Call during office hours if:

  • There is no improvement in 1 week.
  • The rash is not completely cured in 1 month.
  • You have other questions or concerns.
Written by Barton D. Schmitt, MD, author of “My Child Is Sick,” American Academy of Pediatrics Books.
Pediatric Advisor 2015.3 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2013-06-03
Last reviewed: 2015-06-11
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 Barton D. Schmitt, MD FAAP. All rights reserved.
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