Jock itch

This is an intensely itchy rash in the groin, usually in the crease between the scrotum and thighs, although it often spreads. It usually looks red, with a defined edge to it. Jock itch was once thought to be caused by sweat, but its real cause is the same fungus that causes athlete’s foot. Athletes, gym rats and other guys who pass through change rooms pick it up there and your groin probably got it from your feet when you pulled on your underpants.

It’s difficult to treat. Get yourself an anti-fungal cream that can treat both areas. To prevent the jock itch returning:

  • Wear loose-fitting underpants. Go for the bikini type, rather than the boxer shorts, as these hold the scrotum away from the body and put a layer of fabric between the folds of skin;
  • Avoid any synthetic blend of underwear. Stay with pure cotton and obviously wear clean underwear each day;
  • Avoid washing your underwear with so-called biological or enzyme washing powders, which seem to promote the growth of the fungus. Also make sure your jocks are thoroughly rinsed of any soapy residue;
  • Use unscented soap and towel your crotch dry carefully;
  • If you’re overweight, lose the gut. This will help your stave off sweatiness, the condition favoured by fungal maladies.

(William Smook, Health24, updated January 2009)

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