Jock itch, medically known as tinea cruris, is an uncomfortable condition that occurs as a result of a fungal infection, which is related to a form of ringworm. As you might have guessed from the name, it most commonly affects athletes, although anyone who sweats a lot (including those who are overweight) is at risk. The testosterone-fueled name may also make you think that it can only affect men: however, while men do tend to contract it much more often than women, it doesn’t discriminate based on gender.
Infections like this one, caused by fungi or yeast, thrive in warm, moist environments, and that includes different parts of the body. Close areas like the groin, inner thighs, armpits, and buttocks facilitate the growth of the fungus, and of course both genders share these areas. In some cases, the area under the breasts can also be susceptible.
When moisture becomes trapped in these areas, the fungal infection grows and spreads. So anyone, male or female, who spends time sweating or in damp environments is at risk — regardless of gender, there are certain precautionary measures that should be taken to prevent and treat jock itch.
Keeping clean is important, so take a shower as soon as you can after you finish a workout or other sweaty physical activity, and dry off well. Towels and bath mats should also be washed regularly and kept clean and dry — using a damp towel you keep crumpled on the floor isn’t a good idea. Avoid sharing towels and clothing, and wear shower shoes when using a public shower, pool, or locker room (contracting athlete’s foot can contribute to the spread of jock itch). Choose loose, breathable workout clothes wherever possible, but whether you wear close-fitting synthetics or loose cotton, it’s still essential to wash them regularly and allow them to dry completely; this may be especially important for women, whose exercise gear tends to be tighter.
Although it’s itchy, slightly painful, and uncomfortable, jock itch isn’t serious — but you should still treat it as soon as possible to void spreading it amongst yourself and others.