What is Jock Itch?
Jock Itch, otherwise known as tinea crurisis caused by a fungal infection. Those with Athlete’s Foot may have also experienced Jock Itch because they are due to the same cause, and can spread very easily from one place to another on the surface of the skin. Though it is most often male athletes who contract Jock Itch, anyone can get it.
Tinea cruris thrives in steamy showers, wet towels, and damp workout gear drenched with sweat. When this fungus spreads onto human skin it causes:
- Itchy skin usually near the groin, inner thighs, and buttocks
- Redness with a pronounced red-brown color near the center
- Blister-like skin abruptions
What Causes Jock Itch?
Fungal infections are most often due to candida overgrowth in the body coupled with an environment which allows a fungus to thrive. Many of us have this fungus growing on or in us, and it only becomes problematic when the fungus starts to multiply. In addition to Jock Itch candida fungal infections include Athlete’s Foot, as we have mentioned, but also:
- Oral thrush (which sometimes affects newborn babies)
- Diaper rash
- Vaginal yeast infections
- Nail fungus
Normally, our skin acts as the first line of defensefor any kind of infection, but any cuts or breakdown in the superficial layers of the skin can allow the fungus to multiply and grow into an infection. Candida becomes pathogenic, or capable of causing disease, when conditions are favorable for it to multiply. Hot and humid weather, poor hygiene, or restrictive clothing may produce these conditions. And as you may have guessed Jock Itch is common since these factors are so prevalent in male athletes.
Allopathic Remedies for Jock Itch
Allopathic medicine offers little help for Jock Itch, aside from attempting to alleviate the symptoms. It offers no “cure,” or “preventative.”
Usually you will be screened for a fungal infection by taking a sample from the infected area. It will be sent to a lab so that they can look at your skin under a microscope. Some doctors will simply prescribe an antifungal cream or powder that contains terbinafine, miconazole, or clotrimazole. These products are also available without a prescription: Lamisil, Lotrimin, Monistat, Micatin are examples.
While these medications may offer temporary relief, they will not prevent the fungal infection from returning unless lifestyle changes (addressed below) are put into effect.
Natural Remedies for Jock Itch
There are many natural remedies for Jock Itch, but not all of them are a wise way to treat this condition.
Apple Cider Vinegar– Any time you use ACV on the skin or orally, it should be diluted. ACV has powerful fruit acids which can burn the skin. In a diluted mixture – approx. one ½ teaspoon of ACV per cup of water, you can apply ACV to the skin to get rid of rashes, acne, and bacterial and fungal infections.
Manuka Honey– Manuka honeyis a special type of honey which has high antioxidant, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. This honey is also probiotic in nature so it can be applied both as a salve and taken as a food to help treat current and future fungal infections.
Grapefruit Seed Extract– This extractcan be beneficial for fungal, bacterial, and even viral infections. Just take three drops in a glass of water several times a day to help the body’s natural defenses restore skin health.
Oil of Oregano– Another powerful natural antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial is oil of oregano. It is also very strong, though, and should be diluted considerably it if is taken orally, or if applied topically to an infected area.
Tea Tree Oil– Tea tree oil has been used for centuries to help cure many skin disorders. It is a natural disinfectant. A dilution of about 5% tea tree oil in a carrier like coconut oil can be used as a salveto the area. Try a test area to avoid skin irritation.
Rubbing Alcohol– Though rubbing alcohol is often used for Jock Itch it can be very irritating to the skin. It also dries and dehydratesthe skin. It is not recommended unless the other natural remedies listed herein are unobtainable. If you must use it, be sure to do a test area first, and try diluting to minimize skin irritation.
Onion– one of the best remedies for Jock Itch can often be found in your kitchen! Onions contain powerful antifungal properties that are especially effective against candida(fungal overgrowth). You can either increase your consumption of onions in the foods you eat like salads and soups, or simply cut off a small piece of onion, and apply it to the infected area.
Garlic– Another highly accessible home-remedy for Jock Itch is garlic. Garlic has excellent antifungal and antibacterialproperties. You can eat several cloves, chopping them into smaller pieces as needed, or even make a salve with diced garlic and Manuka honey to apply to the affected areas of skin.
White Vinegar– Finally, you can try a diluted mixture of white vinegar and wither garlic, or onion for both probiotic and anti-fungal action against your Jock Itch.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
TCM sees chronic fungal infections – those which have persisted for months or even years – as a more complex issue than just a skin condition. TCM believes that the internal environment must also be changed. If it is too moist or damp, or the pH is not balanced, the skin simply becomes a friendly place for fungal infections like Jock Itch to live.
Your TCM practitioner will attempt to dry up and detoxify the skin, cleanse the colon, and optimize digestion so that these organisms will finally move on to a more hospitable host. This is usually accomplished with a combination of traditional Chines herbs, moxibustion, acupuncture, and qi gong or tai qi to clear energetic stagnancies which cause “sick” blood.
Lifestyle Changes that Prevent Jock Itch
Dealing with Jock Itch once you have it can be a headache (or more like a jock ache) but you can prevent it from recurring by doing a few simple things:
- Reduce refined sugar from your diet. Sugar increases the growth of candida internally and can make fungal infections more likely to occur.
- Reduce the consumption of alcohol, dairy, gluten, and red meat. These foods contribute to candida overgrowth in the body and make you more likely to suffer from fungal diseases like Jock Itch, Athlete’s Foot, Yeast Infections, and more.
- Eat more plant proteins. Not only are green leafy plants full of all the amino acids that we need, they also contain important vitamins and minerals, as well as probiotics which help support healthy skin form the inside out.
- Add probiotics. Probiotics – from food or supplements can help to balance your gut flora and keep fungal infections from happening so often. Candida thrives in an unhealthy gut, so by changing your gut microbiome, you will kill off fungal overgrowth as well.
- Keep skin dry in humid climates and environments. The skin folds are more likely to develop fungal infections because they are less aerated and more prone to moisture buildup – this is the type of environment that fungal infections such as Jock Itch adore. So, keep yourself clean and dry with good hygiene.
- Increase Vitamin X (vitamin K2) and vitamin A. Dr. Weston A. Price has done extensive researchshowing that the increase of these vitamins helps to balance the “good” and “bad” bacteria in our bodies, thus minimizing fungal, viral and bacterial infections.
- Reduce chronic inflammation and infection. The body has a natural homeostatic statewhich doesn’t support disease. If you eat healthy foods, get plenty of rest, exercise, and reduce stress, you will be less likely to get skin infections, candida overgrowth or illnesses as simple as the common cold. You can also eat more turmeric, the “golden spice” used in Indian curries or take it as a supplement. It can reduce chronic inflammationby up to 1000% percent.
- Try not to take prescription antibiotics. Antibiotics kill not only bad bacteria, but the good bacteria in our bodies, weakening our immune system and making us targets for fungal overgrowth.
- When storing athletic gear, disinfect it regularly. Athletic gear ca pass many pathogens. Even if something passes the “smell” test, run it through a laundry cycle just to be sure all foreign invaders like bacteria, fungi, and viruses are eliminated.
Hopefully you can try one of more of the remedies offered to cure your Jock Itch. Now that you know what caused it, you can also avoid it in the future, too.