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JOCK ITCH or INGUINAL ITCH

It is common fungal infection that effects the skin, inner thighs, buttocks and genitals. It also called as tinea cruris or ringworm of the groin and is one of the most common infections of groin area. This fungal groin infection mainly targets men and adolescent boys. Jock itch can be triggered by friction from clothes and prolonged wetness in the groin area, such as from sweating.

It mostly restricts itself to the creases of the upper thigh, and does not invade the scrotum or the penis. However, it may spread to the anal region and cause itching, pain and burning sensation.

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Symptoms

Symptoms include Itching in groin, thighs, skin folds, or anus. There may be red, raised, scaly patches that may blister and ooze. The patches often have sharply-defined edges and are often redder around the outside with normal skin tone in the center. Abnormally dark or light skin is also symptom in this condition. Flaking, peeling or cracking skin in your groin. In long standing infections, the rash becomes less itchy and less red and plaques may fuse together.

Generally, people tend to ignore the symptom, then as it aggravates, there is a tendency to buy the creams from the chemist over the counter. This subsides the itching for some time but as the exact cause is not known, generally after some days, again the infection comes back. People keep on trying different creams for years together but they are shy to go to the doctor. There should be the scientific approach to tackle the situation. Seeking doctor’s help in time can cure the infection well in time and further complications can be avoided.

You must have seen, Males standing in a group, talking to their companions & unknowingly scratching their groins areas. Many times they do not know what they are doing, but for others it is very embarrassing particularly when females are there!

There is a continuous distraction due to the itching. The person cannot concentrate and thus undergoes stress. This may disturb the life of the sufferer. So, it is important that such infections should be treated in time.

CAUSES OF JOCK ITCH: –

• Fungi causing jock itch is present on human skin and feed on dead skin. The moist and damp area provides them a perfect environment to grow and breed, particularly people having active life or those who sweat a lot suffer with jock itch frequently.
• People having been weaker immunity or suffering from diseases like diabetes HIV/AIDS are prone to suffer great jock itch.
• People sharing towels, clothes and people involved in activities where they cannot keep groin areas dry most of that time like sportsperson and people in sitting jobs are also at risk of catching jock itch.
• People suffering from other types of fungal infections like athletes foot may also suffer from this condition.
• Infection caused by Candida albicans is also responsible for causing jock itch
• Allergy to soap, washing powder, perfumes (chemical irritants) may also cause jock itch
• Senile pruritis – In old age the sebaceous glands in the skin becomes less active ,the skin looses its natural moisture and tends to become dry which leads to itching
• Jock itch may be contagious. It may be passed from one person to another by skin to skin contact our contact with unwashed clothing
• The presence of public lice, pthirus pubis can be one of the reasons
• Diabetes is marked by high levels of blood sugar which may give rise to groin itching
• Jock itch can also be triggered by friction from clothes and prolonged wetness in the groin area such as sweating
• Normally healthy skin secretes acid on its surface. This acid necessary for health and integrity of the skin, which also acts as a protective barrier. However through malnutrition, constant showers, harsh soaps, lotions and shampoos that removes the acid layer, toxins, poor blood circulation, low oxygen levels in the blood etc, health of the skin is compromised leaving it more vulnerable to fungal outgrowth.
Eczema may be a cause of itchy groin, particularly in infants. It is described as the inflammation caused by a hypersensitive reaction in the skin. Eczema generally tends to run in families which often have a history of asthma or hay fever.
Lichen Simplex is a skin condition that results in scratchy and itchy groin area. It may be accompanied with other skin disorders such as eczema and psoriasis.
Allergic Reaction the chemical irritants such as detergents, body sprays, creams, ointments, fabric softeners, contraceptive foams or jellies can trigger an allergic reaction in your body. This may, in turn, lead to the formation of itchy, red rashes in groin area.

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Examinations and Tests

Eczema, Lichen Simplex and Allergic Reaction are also reasons for if :-

The Doctor can usually diagnose jock itch based on how your skin looks.

Tests are usually not necessary. If tests are needed to confirm the diagnosis, either a culture or a skin lesion biopsy (for example, a scraping of the skin) may be done.

Complications :

• Permanent change in the skin colour of the affected area may occur.
• Secondary bacterial skin infections may occur.

Treatment

Topical treatment is of great importance in treating jock itch. This includes a variety of treatments available in form of creams, lotions, paints, shampoos and medicated powders. The treatment given is in accordance with the severity of the infection.

Mild fungal/jock itch is often treated by a combination of: –

• Washing the groin twice daily with antifungal shampoo.
• Using its topical antifungal cream.
• Severe jock itch is treated by combination of antifungal shampoo, antifungal cream and antifungal oral medicines.

AYURVEDIC TREATMENT FOR JOCK ITCH :-

First and foremost, the cause of itching must be ascertained. Without knowing this no treatment would be efficient. Based on the cause, follo wing Ayurvedic treatment can be prescribed:-

 If itiching is due to eczema, paradadi balm can be applied locally on the skin. For severe eczema RASA MANIKYA can be used. Also Dadrughna lepa gives excellent results.
 Shuddha Gandhaka or Gandhak rasayana is an internal medicine to be used with external agents
 Take few neem leaves and grind them with water to make a paste. Add some turmeric to it. Use this paste for local application to the affected area and let it dry for at least 2 hours. Jock itch usually responds promptly to treatment.
 For fungal infections in females YONI PICHU is a therapy whereby cleaned sterilized cotton is dipped in medicated oil and placed within the vaginal passage. The swab/ cloth roll should be retained for a long time so that it exhibits action locally.Ulcers if present heal, pain subsides and local hygiene improves. This treatment is particularly useful in case of a vaginal infections and can be done using Bala taila (oil), Ashwagandha taila (oil), Phala ghruta, Triphala ghrut etc.
 YONI PRAKSHALANAM is also ayurvedic therapy for females. By this method by Vaginal area is cleaned with medicated oils and decoctions. PRAKSHALANAM the means washing /cleansing. Thus it is a gentle cleansing measure of genital organs to avoid fungal or yeast infections.For this a decoction of Triphala or Dashmoola can be used.
 Another Ayurvedic effective therapy is YONI DHUPAN. Groin Area is exposed to fumes of medicinal herbs (dhup). Herbs such as Daru Haridra, Lodhra Turmeric, Mangistha, Sariva etc.

Some Ayurvedic medicines which work as blood purifiers are used for skin itching such as Kishor guggal, Raktadoshnta kadha, khadiraristham, Nimbadi Kashayam, Maha Manjisthadi Kadha etc.

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Home Remedies

These are some simple home remedies which the patient should try for any skin ailments. It gives effective results and prevent further infections.

• Avoid overexertion and workout routines, which may cause excess sweating.
• Keep your genital and groin area clean and dry.
• Saltwater tub bath is one of the simplest and effective home remedies for jock itch. Sought had still trying the infection and also inhibits the spread and growth of fungi.
• Increase in take of Garlic, fruit and vegetables is supportive diet during infections.
• Have a cup of yoghurt daily.
• Change undergarments twice or thrice daily.
• Alcohol can be used as a topical application for treating jock itch but it aggravates the infection if taken internally and hence completely avoid alcohol intake during infection.
• A decoction of licorice when applied locally with a cotton swab is also effective
• Use coconut oil in the affected areas as often as possible
• Wash the groin with the diluted juice of a freshly squeezed lemon which can help to dry rash
• Keep your blood sugar level under control if you have Diabetes.
Avoid using substances that you suspect contain the chemical allergens.
• Do not share cloths, bath suits and towels with anyone.
Wear clothes after the groin area is completely dry after bathing.
• Lose weight in case you are overweight. This will provide you relief from itchy groin.
• Resist the urge to scratch or itch as they will only aggravate the condition.

Prevention

Since fungi tend to thrive in warm, dark, damp conditions, minimizing these conditions can help treat and prevent this rash. Some useful measures are:

1. Thoroughly clean the area is bit a hand-held shower and mild soap.
2. Keep your groin clean and dry at all times. If you are prone to jock itch, then cover your groin with antifungal or drying powders after you take a bath.
3. Avoid clothing or underwear that irritates the area. Choose loose fitting clothes with smooth fabrics that let your skin breath (like 100% cotton) rather than synthetic fibers. Wearing boxer underwear or no underwear, increasing air-flow by sleeping near a fan, wearing loose sleepwear or no sleepwear etc.
4. Exposing the area to wind and sun.
5. Take utmost care of personal hygiene
6. Refrain from scratching as it will irritate the rash and break the skin, creating the potential for infection.
7. Keep your blood sugar under control if you have diabetes
8. Do not share towels, hair brush, comb or clothes.