Tinea Cruris is the medical term for a common form of skin irritation more generally known as “jock itch”. This condition, most common among men though it can also be experienced by women, affects individuals who sweat excessively and wear tight clothing, such as athletes, which is where it got its familiar name.
This is a fungal infection that affects areas of your body where the skin forms a crease, such as the groin, inner thighs, genitals and buttocks. When the skin becomes irritated it can break out in an itchy, red, ring shaped rash. Often the outer edge of the ring is lined with small, raised bumps.
What causes it to develop on the skin?
Tinea cruris is caused by a fungus. Fungi live in or on our skin at all times, usually not causing any skin irritations at all. However in certain conditions fungi will cause some kind of irritation, redness, itching, etc.
Fortunately, it is not contagious; direct person to person contact rarely leads to spreading of jock itch. While the condition, which is often caused by the same type of fungus that causes athlete’s foot, is not directly contagious it can be spread through the use of shared towels, or from a towel or your hands to other parts of your body such as the groin.
Though women can develop the condition too, it is much more prevalent among men, especially those who sweat heavily. Individuals who are obese, wear tight clothing or have an impaired immune system or a case of atopic dermatitis are more at risk of developing tinea cruris.
What are the treatment options for jock itch?
Tinea cruris usually clears up quickly when antifungal medicines are applied twice daily to the skin. If it doesn’t, you may need two to three weeks of treatment with the antifungal antibiotic, griseofulvin, taken orally. Keep in mind that jock itch is only one cause of groin itching. If your rash does not improve, scheule an appointment with your dermatologist for further evaluation.
You can help prevent recurrences by drying thoroughly after bathing, wearing loose cotton underwear, and dusting a bland powder such as baby powder on your groin once or twice daily.
In 2013, the FDA approved a new type of topical antifungal cream, called Luzu, which is designed to work over a one week period, rather than the two week treatment period that most antifungals require. Luzu Cream can also be used to treat tinea corporis and tinea pedis, which represents another tremendous innovation.
Since the fungus that causes tinea pedis, or athlete’s foot, can also cause tinea cruris, it is important that both conditions be treated in order to stop the spread of the fungus entirely. With the introduction of this new medication, that can now be achieved in one easy step.
Whichever form of medical treatment you choose, it is important to keep the affected areas dry and clean, avoid wearing tight clothing, particularly tight underwear and jock straps, and to change your underwear at least once daily. Also, you should refrain from sharing towels or clothing so as to avoid spreading the fungus to others.