Jock itch is a type of fungal skin infection called tinea cruris. The condition is called ‘jock itch’ because it frequently occurs in athletes (‘jock’ is a term some people use to describe a stereotypical male athlete whose main focus is playing sports). However, anyone can get this skin infection, which affects the groin area, including the inner thighs and buttocks. Jock itch symptoms include a reddish, circular or ring-shaped rash that usually burns or itches. Jock itch treatment includes antifungal medicine you can buy without a prescription, but widespread or hard-to-control tinea infections require medical care and possibly prescription-strength jock itch creams or pills. Common Causes of Jock Itch Many factors contribute to the growth of this fungus on the skin because it thrives in warm, moist areas. Wearing tight clothing or sweating heavily in the groin area can allow the fungus to multiply. Sharing contaminated towels or clothing with someone can spread the fungus. And because the same fungus often causes athlete’s foot, it can easily be spread from your feet to your groin through towels or clothes. Jock Itch Treatment at Home With a mild case of jock itch, treatment can begin at home with an over-the-counter antifungal medication, usually an ointment, powder or spray. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label exactly as written, even if the infection starts to clear up sooner than expected. Jock itch is likely to recur if you stop using the antifungal medication too soon. You also will want to tackle the underlying conditions that make it easy for tinea-type fungus to grow. Start here: Make sure your groin area is clean and dry, and avoid tight-fitting clothes. Change your clothes and underwear every day, and wash athletic supporters as often as possible. Men should consider wearing boxer shorts rather than briefs. Use a separate towel to dry your groin area after taking a bath or shower. If you also have athlete’s foot, which is common in people with jock itch, be sure to treat that condition at the same time. Otherwise, jock itch could come back when the fungus is spread from the feet to the groin area. When to See a Doctor for Jock Itch If you’ve tried a jock itch cream or another treatment for jock itch for two weeks without improvement, it’s time to see a doctor. Jock itch frequently recurs, especially in people who also have athlete’s foot. If this happens, or if the infection is severe, see a doctor. He or she may recommend a prescription antifungal cream or pill (oral medicine) to treat jock itch. If you also have athlete’s foot, be sure to tell your doctor so he or she can treat it at the same time to prevent reinfection. Who to See for Jock Itch Your primary care physician or a dermatologist can diagnose and recommend the best treatment for jock itch. Be sure to tell your doctor about all of your jock itch symptoms and any other information that could be relevant to the problem, such as how you might have become infected and whether you might also have athlete’s foot. Be sure to pay close attention to any jock itch symptoms you may have. Because the condition is spread easily, it’s important to catch it early so you don’t spread it on your body or to other people. If you have symptoms and home treatment isn’t working, consult with your doctor.