Jock itch is the general term for a fungal infection in the groin area. Its medical name is tinea cruris. The tinea fungus that causes the infection is often called ringworm because of the shape of the skin infection, but it’s not really a worm. Jock itch frequently occurs in boys when they're wearing athletic gear.
Because the groin area is warm, dark and moist, it provides the perfect breeding ground for the tinea fungi, which tend to thrive and grow there. Common symptoms of jock itch are itchiness and pain. The condition isn't dangerous, but if you think you have it, it’s worth seeing a doctor to get proper treatment for the infection. Jock itch typically needs a course of medication for the condition to go away completely.
Prevention of Jock Itch
Often, preventing jock itch is simply a matter of good hygiene. Boys in sports tend to wear the same clothing, such as jock straps, day-after-day during athletic practices. This can create a breeding ground for the tinea fungi, which ultimately find their way to the groin. Regular showers, as well as wearing clean, dry underwear and jock straps for every practice, every day, will help prevent the infection.
Jock itch may be inconvenient, but it's easy to treat with one of the many antifungal medications that are available. The most common treatment is to apply an antifungal cream to the infected area of the groin, often for several weeks in order to clear the infection. It's also important to follow good hygiene practices afterward because tinea infections tend to recur.
SOURCES: American Academy of Family Physicians; American Academy of Pediatrics