What Are Fungal Groin Infections?
Fungal infections in the groin are a really uncomfortable skin disorder caused by pathogenic fungi, also known as dermatophytes. Like many other fungal infections, it is a very common skin condition to experience.
Fungal groin infections are also called jock itch or Tinea Cruris, which is the Latin name. Fungal groin infections are part of a ‘family’ with other types of fungus, including foot fungus such as Tinea Pedis, nail fungus and scalp fungus.
Who Gets Fungal Groin Infections?
Fungal groin infections are an uncomfortable condition that can affect both women and men. However, fungal groin infections occur most often in men, especially active men who participate in sports.
Sports and physical activity result in increased sweat production, which creates a moist environment which is perfect for fungal infections to thrive in.
Therefore, if you are very active, it is very important to pay more attention to hygiene and regular washing – ensure that you wash well and dry thoroughly afterwards. Do not share your towel with others if you have a fungal groin infection as it is contagious.
Fungal groin infections are also common in people with poor hygiene. A moist and enclosed environment creates the perfect conditions for fungal growth.
Obese people can therefore also be at risk, as it can be harder to keep clean because of the skin folds or difficulty reaching some areas of the body.
There are several different areas where fungal infections can form in skin folds and these are optimal environments for fungi because it is moist and hot.
Generally, people that are obese or overweight sweat more, and a sweaty, moist environment is perfect for the fungi.
Finally, people with diabetes also have a greater risk of getting a fungal groin infection (and other fungal infections in general). This is because diabetics have elevated blood sugar levels, which the fungi thrive on.
HOP DIRECTLY TO: Treatment for fungal groin infections
Why Do You Get Fungal Groin Infections?
Everyone has fungi, bacteria and microorganisms living on and in our bodies. It’s quite normal and usually quite harmless. The fungal spores live off dead skin cells, and as long as they are unable to grow and infect your body, they do you no harm.
However, if you provide the fungi with optimal growing conditions, they will start to reproduce and this can cause infections.
Fungi love warm and humid conditions, just like the groin area – especially if you don’t pay close attention to your groin and maintain a clean, dry and hygienic body.
Fungal Groin Infections in Men
Fungal groin infections occur more often in men than women, and it is frequently seen in athletes and men who are physically active and is commonly known as “jock itch”. Furthermore, fungal groin infections occur more frequently in obese men and diabetics.
Men who wear tight underwear and trousers are also more at risk of getting fungal groin infections.
As such, it’s no wonder that it’s often young men who get fungal groin infections: they tend to be more physically active and often wear tight underwear and trousers!
HOP DIRECTLY TO: Treatment of fungal groin infection
Symptoms of Fungal Groin Infection in Men
The typical symptoms of fungal groin infections in men are a distinctive reddish rash itching and soreness on the skin. The skin will appear irritated and can also crack and peel if you itch it too much.
The area affected may be quite large and spread throughout the groin, between the buttocks, inside of the thighs and on to the scrotum. You’ll easily be able to see a difference between the healthy skin on your groin and the infected areas.
Fungal Groin Infections are Contagious
Fungal groin infections can be transmitted either by direct skin to skin contact or by indirect contact, for example, after sharing a towel. If you have a fungal crotch infection it is therefore important that you immediately seek treatment so that you don’t infect others.
You can also catch the infection from yourself, for example, if you have a foot fungal infection that you have not taken care of. If you notice symptoms of a fungal infection, you need to find a treatment immediately to avoid the itchy and irritating symptoms and prevent the infection being spread to others.
Fungal Groin Infections in Women
Although fungal groin infections affect men more often than women, women can also have fungal infections down below. Fungi thrive best on the body where it is moist and hot.
This makes the groin area perfect for fungal infections, especially if you have poor hygiene and change quickly from sweaty underwear/sportswear to dry and clean underwear/clothes without washing.
Diabetic women and overweight women also have an increased risk of getting a fungal groin infection. Fungal infections thrive better in those, especially diabetics, who have an increased level of sugar in their blood.
If you are overweight, the skin folds create a perfect growth moist, hot environment for the fungi to thrive in. Furthermore, it may be harder for you to keep yourself clean in the skin folds if you are obese.
Finally, tight underwear, tights and trousers may also be the reason for increased fungal growth, which can lead to a fungal groin infection. If you have frequent problems with fungal infections, you may need to change your wardrobe to looser underwear, skirts and trousers.
Symptoms of Fungal Groin Infections in Women
The typical symptoms of fungal groin infections in women are itching and irritation. The skin feels sore and burns, and often you can see a reddish rash that’s clearly defined from the healthy skin areas of the groin.
The irritated skin can also form small cracks and sores if you scratch it. The affected area of the groin can be quite large and extend to the inside of the thighs and between the buttocks.
Fungal Groin Infections are Contagious
You can infect others if you have a fungal groin infection – and you may be infected by others yourself. This can happen via direct skin to skin contact, for example, by intercourse with a partner who has a fungal groin infection. It can also be transferred through indirect contact, such as sharing a towel with someone else.
In general, it’s a good idea not to share towels and especially so if you have a fungal infection.
If you have a fungal infection elsewhere on the body, such as foot fungus, you should also be aware that you can infect yourself and transfer the fungi from your foot to your groin. So, always ensure that a fungal infection is treated immediately, regardless of its location.
Treatments for Fungal Groin Infections
If you suspect that the itching, burning and irritation that you experience may be caused by a fungal infection, it’s a good idea to have your doctor check it. This, of course, also applies if you experience similar symptoms but are not sure if it’s caused by fungi.
If you feel sure that your symptoms are caused by a fungal infection – or you recognise the symptoms because you have previously had a fungal infection – you can go straight to the pharmacy and buy creams for fungal groin infections.
However, if the symptoms are not gone after a few weeks of treatment, you should go to your doctor.
A doctor will often diagnose the infection just by looking at the skin; but they may also choose to take a small swab of the skin for microscopy and cultivation to be sure. Certain forms of eczema and psoriasis can resemble fungal infections.
Treatment with Creams or Tablets
Fortunately, fungal groin infections are a harmless disorder that can be treated relatively easily. Your doctor will typically recommend medication in the form of a fungicidal cream, which you must apply directly on the skin.
You can buy this cream at the pharmacy as well as being prescribed it. In some cases, if the cream is ineffective against your fungal infection, a prescribed tablet may be more suitable.
When you start a treatment for fungal groin infection, you will usually experience an immediate lessening of the itching and irritation. After a few weeks and the majority of cases, the fungal infection will be cured.
Once it has completely gone, you need to focus on preventing fungal groin infections in the future.
Tea Tree Oil for Itching and Irritation
If you have problems with itching and irritation, you can use remedies with natural ingredients; for example, Australian Tea Tree Oil is known to work effectively against itching and irritation.
The advantage of using our Tea Tree Oil products is that you can use them an unlimited number of times, as they contain 100% natural ingredients.
You can use a Tea Tree Oil cream that is formulated for very dry skin on the sore areas of the groin. The cream can also be used for eczema, psoriasis and on areas of very dry skin. From Australian Bodycare, you can use Body Cream, which contains Tea Tree Oil.
Additionally, you can also use an intimate wash containing Tea Tree Oil. For example, use the Intim Wash product every time you are in the bath or shower, followed by the Body Cream which can be applied twice daily on dry skin.
Femigel from Australian Bodycare, has been created for women to deal with intimate itching and skin irritation and can be sued on a regular basis. Men can benefit from this product on the buttocks or scrotum?
Preventing Fungal Groin Infections
Maintaining good hygiene is the most important tool for preventing fungal groin infections. Focus on ensuring the area is clean and dry and avoid long periods of moisture and heat. The best thing you can do is wash yourself daily, preferably with mild, skin-friendly products. Once you’ve washed, it’s equally important that you remember to dry thoroughly ensuring all moisture is removed from the area.
If you enjoy participating in sports or physical activities where you sweat excessively, it’s a good idea to always wash immediately afterwards exercise. You don’t want to stay in the same damp clothes that will lock in the sweat.
Also make sure to wear fresh underwear every day. And, if you have persistent trouble with fungal groin infections, avoid tight underwear (and trousers) as they prevent your groin from breathing, and thus you become more moist and hot.
Even if you don’t have a fungal infection, it may be a good idea to use a lubricating gel containing Tea Tree Oil during sex to add extra moisture. The lubricant prevents bacteria from spreading and can also be used to prevent fungi growth.
House Rules to Avoid Fungal Groin Infections
Fungal infections may be something you frequently suffer form, but by following a few simple rules you can easily prevent fungal groin infections altogether:
- Make sure to wash every day – and always wash immediately after sports or physical activities.
- Use mild, skin-friendly products when washing your groin.
- Be sure to dry yourself thoroughly after washing.
- Wear fresh underwear every day – preferably cotton than manmade fibres.
- Avoid tight underwear and trousers.
- Do not share towels with others.
- If you have a fungal infection elsewhere on your body, use one towel for the infected area and another clean towel for the rest of your body. Wash the towels at 60 degrees frequently.
- Prevent future itching and irritation by using a genital cream containing Tea Tree Oil, a natural ingredient that you can use frequently for as long as needed.
- If necessary, use a lubricating cream to combat dryness during sexual intercourse and to add moisture.
As fungal groin infections usually occur when the skin is moist and hot, there is much you can do to prevent the infection from happening in the first place. So, think about your habits – it doesn’t take long to wash thoroughly each day and dry yourself completely afterwards.
FAQs About Fungal Groin Infections
How do you get a fungal groin infection?
Fungal groin infections typically occur when the skin is hot and moist. This may be due to the fact that you exercise a lot and therefore sweat excessively or wear tight underwear and clothing that prevents your skin from breathing. It may also be due to a lack of good hygiene. It’s therefore important that you keep the skin in the groin area clean and dry. Finally, a fungal infection in the groin may also be caught from another person through direct or indirect contact.
Why do you get fungal groin infections?
Fungal groin infections can occur if the skin is hot, moist and enclosed for a long period of time. For example, it may be because you participate in many sport activities and therefore sweat a lot. If you do not wash off the sweat and dry thoroughly, or you wear tight clothes that make it difficult for your skin to breathe, you are more likely to develop an infection.
Can you catch fungal groin infections?
Fungal infections can be caught via direct skin to skin contact and by indirect contact, for example, if you share a towel. Fungal infections in the groin are not overly contagious, but if you have an infection, make sure you get it treated right away so you do not risk infecting others, such as your partner or family members.
What does a fungal groin infection look like?
The typical symptoms of a fungal groin infection are itching, irritation and burning. The skin will turn reddish and the border between the affected skin and the healthy skin will be clearly defined. Furthermore, the skin may start to peel and form small cracks.
Do fungal groin infections smell?
Fungal infections might have a slight cheesy/mouldy smell due to the yeast factor combined with the heat. They are annoying and unpleasant, but it’s not a fluid or a strong odorous infection. The typical symptoms are itching, burning and irritation of the skin.