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What Is Jock Itch, and What to Do about that Red, Itchy Penile Skin

Updated on September 8, 2014

A burning problem

A red, itchy penis is one of the worst things that can happen to a guy, and there are a lot of reasons that it can occur. In most cases, the problem isn’t serious and can be managed fairly easily. However, there are multiple conditions that can cause similar symptoms, and each of these may require a different approach to treatment. Therefore, it is important that men always seek advice from a doctor at the sign of a red, itchy rash in the nether regions. One potential cause is known to most men as jock itch. This unpleasant problem can inflict considerable misery on the sufferer, and it can also be easily passed to another person. Therefore, all men should understand where it comes from, as well as the penis care steps required to eliminate the rash and soothe the burn.

A typical fungal rash

The facts about jock itch

What is it, and where does it come from? Known scientifically as tinea cruris, jock itch is a form of ringworm. This organism is not actually a worm at all; rather, it is a fungus that lives and thrives in warm, moist places. Because of this, the groin area, with its folds of skin and various nooks and crannies, makes for an ideal environment.

A jock itch infection presents as a very distinctive rash consisting of red, raised bumps or blisters that spread outward from a central point. The bumps or blisters may be scaly, or they may leak fluid. The edges of the rash are usually sharply defined, and the center may be a reddish-brown color (see photo). The accompanying itch can range from mild to severe.

How is it spread? Nearly everyone comes in contact with tinea cruris from time to time, but not everyone develops an infection. As previously noted, it loves warm, moist areas, so it frequently crops up in places like locker rooms that have a steamy atmosphere. Damp towels, sweaty underwear, athletic gear and the other usual items found in a locker room provide a perfect environment for the fungus to flourish; sharing these items with others or having close physical contact with an infected person are easy ways to spread the infection.

What are the most effective methods for treating it?

Most cases of jock itch can be cleared up through the use of over-the-counter powders or creams; those containing miconazole or clotrimazole are generally effective. Men who have not been infected previously should talk to a doctor before attempting any self-treatment. In addition to using anti-fungal remedies, wearing clean, loose-fitting clothing that allows the area to breathe can help clear up the rash.

How can I avoid developing symptoms of jock itch? When it comes to red, itchy penile skin, the best cure is always prevention, and men can minimize their risks of developing a fungal infection by following these rules:

  1. Never share towels, clothing or other personal items.
  2. Shower regularly – at least once per day, and always shower immediately after a sweaty workout.
  3. Wear only clean underwear.
  4. Wash all workout clothes, including athletic supporters, after each use.
  5. Wear clothing made from natural fabrics like cotton rather than synthetic materials.

Reader Poll

What would you do about red, itchy penile skin?

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Relief for itchy penile skin

While the most important part of treating a fungal infection on the genitals is to find the source and begin the appropriate treatment, the average guy will agree that soothing the burning, itching sensation in his pants is the most urgent matter. Several options are available for putting out the fire while the healing process gets underway. These may include applying cool compresses to the area, using an anti-itch medication available without prescription or sitting in a lukewarm bath.

Some men may also opt for a top-notch penis health creme, especially one that contains Shea butter, one of nature’s most effective solutions for distressed skin. This plant-based emollient soothes red, itchy, raw skin on contact; coupled with vitamin E, its healing powers are significant. No creams or lotions should be applied to broken or inflamed skin, of course, but men who need immediate itch relief can benefit greatly from a soothing moisturizer that is formulated for sensitive skin.

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