Children's Hospital Colorado

Jock Itch

  • Rash of the groin and inner, upper thighs caused by a fungus
  • Much more common in males than females

Symptoms

  • Pink-red, scaly rash on inner thighs near groin. Often, starts in the groin crease. Then, spreads slowly downward.
  • In boys, the rash does not involve the penis or scrotum.
  • Rash is most often the same on both inner thighs.
  • Rash is itchy, but not painful.

Cause

  • Jock itch is caused by a fungus. Often, this is the same fungus that causes athlete's foot.
  • It can come from a towel used to dry the feet and then the groin.
  • The fungus can only grow in warm, damp skin. Sweating a lot and wearing damp underwear raises the chance of getting it.
  • Called jock itch because it occurs mostly in teen males who play sports.

How to Prevent Jock Itch From Coming Back

  • Keep the groin area clean and dry. Reason: the fungus can't grow on dry, normal skin.
  • Change to dry underwear after playing sports.
  • Also, avoid wearing underwear that is too tight.
  • Bring gym clothes home. Wash at least weekly.
  • If you have athlete's foot, use a separate towel for the feet.

Call Doctor or Seek Care Now

  • Rash is very painful to touch
  • Your child looks or acts very sick
  • You think your child needs to be seen, and the problem is urgent

Call Doctor During Office Hours

  • Female
  • Age less than 10 years
  • Rash is mainly on the penis or scrotum
  • Pus is draining from the rash
  • Rash keeps spreading after 1 week on treatment
  • Rash is not gone after 4 weeks on treatment
  • You think your child needs to be seen, but the problem is not urgent
  • You have other questions or concerns

Self Care at Home

  • Jock itch rash

Care Advice for Jock Itch

  1. What You Should Know About Jock Itch:
    • Jock itch is common in teens. It is harmless.
    • It's caused by a fungus that grows best on warm, damp skin.
    • Here is some care advice that should help.
  2. Antifungal Cream:
    • Use an antifungal cream 2 times per day.
    • Some brand names are Lamisil, Micatin or Lotrimin cream. No prescription is needed.
    • Put it on the rash and 1 inch beyond its borders. Make sure you put it on in all the creases.
    • Keep using the cream for at least 7 days after the rash is gone.
  3. Keep Area Dry:
    • Jock itch will heal faster if the groin area is kept dry.
    • Wash the rash area once a day with plain water. Dry it with care. Do not use soap on the rash.
    • Wear loosely fitting cotton underwear. Wash gym shorts and jockstraps after each use.
  4. Try Not to Scratch:
    • Avoid scratching the area. Reason: Scratching will delay the cure.
  5. What to Expect:
    • Rash stops spreading after treated for 2-3 days.
    • With proper treatment, rash goes away in 2-3 weeks.
  6. Return to School:
    • Children with jock itch do not need to miss any school. Your child may take gym and play sports.
    • Jock itch is not easily spread to others. The fungus can't grow on dry, normal skin.
  7. Check for Athlete's Foot:
    • If also has itchy rash of toes or feet, see Athlete's Foot care guide.
    • Until gone, use a separate towel to dry the feet.
  8. Call Your Doctor if:
    • Rash is not better after 1 week on treatment
    • Rash is not gone after 4 weeks on treatment
    • You think your child needs to be seen
    • Your child becomes worse

Disclaimer

The information contained in these topics is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, it is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.

Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider before starting any new treatment or discontinuing an existing treatment. Talk with your healthcare provider about any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Nothing contained in these topics is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment.

  • Not a Substitute - The information and materials in Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker should not be used as a substitute for the care and knowledge that your physician can provide to you.
  • Supplement - The information and materials presented here in Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker are meant to supplement the information that you obtain from your physician. If there is a disagreement between the information presented herein and what your physician has told you -- it is more likely that your physician is correct. He or she has the benefit of knowing your child's medical problems.
  • Limitations - You should recognize that the information and materials presented here in Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker have the following limitations, in comparison to being examined by your own physician:
    • You can have a conversation with your child's doctor.
    • Your child's doctor can perform a physical examination and any necessary tests.
    • Your child could have an underlying medical problem that requires a physician to detect.
    • If your child is taking medications, they could influence how he experiences various symptoms.

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