Author’s Bio: Ria Ellendula is an incoming college freshman who is passionate about public health and healthcare policy

Jock Itch, also known as tinea cruris, is a type of fungal infection that affects the skin. Jock itch is characterized by itchy rashes that often burn. These areas can appear red, flaky, or scaly.

It is caused by dermatophytes, a fungi that resemble mold. These types of fungi live on the skin and can also be found in the hair and nail. Although dermatophytes are harmless, they can multiply rapidly and when in warm, moist areas, they can lead to infections. Due to their affinity towards warm and moist areas, they tend to occupy your genital area. This is why jock itch occurs most often in the skin surrounding the inner and upper thighs, buttocks, and groin area.  
Does Jock itch smell?

Since Jock itch is a fungal infection and can be caused by an abundance of dermatophytes in the affected region, it has a yeasty smell. There are many types of topical creams that can be used to counter this smell and keep the affected regions cleaner. However, if the yeast has time to build up, it may show resistance to over-the-counter treatments and topical creams.


As mentioned above, jock itch can be caused by an overgrowth of dermatophytes, a mold-like fungi. It can also be caused by excess moisture, irritation, and bacterial overgrowth. There are many risk factors that may increase someone’s susceptibility to jock itch.

If someone perspires a lot, is overweight, or has eczema (an itchy inflammation of the skin), they are at higher risk of developing jock itch. The problem also commonly affects male athletes.
  • Gender
    • Men are more likely to develop jock itch than women
  • Wearing tight clothing/certain clothing materials
    • If a fabric is tight, it can trap moisture against the skin, which creates an ideal environment for the fungi to grow.
  • Having excess moisture in genital regions
  • Wearing a wet bathing suit for long periods of time
  • Sharing towels/clothing with other people
  • Having close contact with someone who has jock itch
  • Being overweight
    • With more skin folds, there are more ideal regions (warm and moist) for jock itch to develop
  • Having a compromised immune system
  • Having diabetes or eczema
    • Those with diabetes or pre-existing skin conditions like eczema are prone to other skin infections like jock itch
  • Having other fungal infections on the body (such as athlete’s foot)
Is Jock itch contagious?
Yes, Jock itch is contagious and can be transmitted to others in a number of different ways.

Jock itch has the ability to spread in areas where clothing and other personal items are shared. These conditions can be exacerbated if the areas are warm or moist. For example, locker rooms, the gym, restrooms, etc. are certain places where jock itch can spread easily.

Certain fabrics and materials are hotspots for jock itch. These include undergarments, towels, jock straps, and cups worn during sports. This is why it is advised to not share protective sports equipment with others.

Jock itch can also spread easily through sexual contact or skin-to-skin contact.

If you have infected spores from the fungi on your skin, jock itch will remain contagious. These spores can be found even on bedding and towels if they are not washed. Jock itch will remain contagious unless symptoms are properly addressed. Once you work to treat your symptoms, your risk of transmitting jock itch goes down exponentially.


Jock itch is characterized by:
  • Itching and burning in the groin and surrounding regions
  • Red, scaly, and circular rash with raised edges
  • Cracking, flaking, or peeling skin

Jock itch in Women

Although men are more susceptible to jock itch, women are also at risk. If women come in contact with an infected groin, it can cause them to develop jock itch as well as put them at risk for other types of fungal infections anywhere on the body. 


Home Remedies for Jock itch

  • Wash the groin region at least two times a day
  • Keep the groin region dry 
    • You can use powder to reduce moisture 
  • Wear cotton underwear to reduce skin irritation in the groin region
  • Avoid using harsh fabric softeners, laundry detergents, etc. 

Jock itch Cream

The best treatment for fungal jock itch is one or a combination of antifungal creams and sometimes antifungal medications.
  • Clotrimazole cream (lotrimin, mycelex) is effective for both dermatophyte molds and yeast. This cream does not need to be prescribed.
  • Miconazole (Monistat, Micatin)
  • Terbinafine (Lamisil)
  • Antifungal pull
    • Fluconazole (Diflucan)
    • Itraconazole (Sporanox)

Avoid using anti-itch cream such as hydrocortisone. This can actually prolong the infection and increase the area of the affected region


There are many lifestyle tips that can help prevent jock itch from developing in the first place:

  • Make sure to keep the body clean (take showers regularly, keep a clean towel, practice good hygiene habits, etc.)
  • Dry moist areas after showering, exercising, etc.
    • Using powder can help absorb moisture after exercising
  • Avoid wearing tight-fitting clothing (which can trap heat and moisture next to the skin)
    • Instead wear more loose, breathable clothing
  • Change your underwear daily
  • Do not share towels or clothes with others. This is a conduit for infections.
  • Clean exercise equipment before using it. Fungi can live on the surfaces of certain equipment and can thus be transmitted if not cleaned.
  • Wear sandals or shower shoes in public showers or at the pool to avoid coming into contact with the infected surfaces.


If you or someone in your family have concerns about jock itch, please contact and seek help from our doctors online. At Home Urgent Care provides telehealth services so you can safely and confidently keep your health in check with our primary and urgent care services and get treatment online. Book an online doctor appointment today with our health care experts available at your convenience 365 days a year and get your prescription/medication available online.

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