DEAR DR. GOTT: I have had jock itch for nearly three months. I have tried everything from salves to powder. It is a very long story but I do need help. I am 85 years old. I wash my towels every day. I am thinking of drinking buttermilk but I do not even like milk let alone buttermilk but I am beginning to become desperate.
DEAR READER: Jock itch (tinea cruris) is a common fungal infection. It is often caused by the same organism (dermatophytes) that causes athlete’s foot. It isn’t serious in most cases, but those with weakened immune systems tend to have a harder time getting rid of the infection.
Jock itch is most common in men, those who sweat a lot, and/or are overweight. Symptoms include an itchy, red rash that is often ring-shaped. It affects the genitals, inner thighs and/or buttocks. The affected skin may also burn, flake, peel or crack.
Infection can develop due to tight fitting clothing, athletic supporters, or undergarments, as well as wearing these items repeatedly without washing. It can also be spread by sharing personal items that come in contact with the affected areas, such as towels. In some instances, infection can be spread via sexual intercourse, or one’s own athlete’s foot.
Treatment typically starts with over-the-counter lotions, powders or sprays, specifically designed for the treatment of jock itch. It is also important to keep the skin clean and dry and wash all fabrics that come in contact the affected skin daily. If these steps fail to resolve the infection within a week or two, prescription anti-fungal creams or oral drugs may be recommended.
One alternative my readers have had success with (for both athlete’s foot and jock itch, among many other unrelated maladies) is mentholated chest rub. Simply apply to the affected areas once or twice daily after carefully cleaning and drying the area.
Prevention is easy. Properly wash all clothing, towels and athletic wear and keep the skin clean and dry. Wear loose fitting clothing to encourage air circulation. If overweight, this can be harder as folds of skin create the perfect environment for infection to occur; therefore, losing weight would be beneficial. For those who sweat a lot, try applying talcum or other drying powders to those areas after washing to keep moisture levels down.
Because you have been suffering with this condition for more than three months, it is past time to see a physician. You may require prescription medication. You should also have the physician confirm the diagnosis if you self-diagnosed. Perhaps your jock itch isn’t really jock itch, which may explain why your efforts thus far have failed. Also, if you have diabetes or another condition that weakens your immune system, the body will have a harder time fighting the infection.
Readers who are interested in learning more about alternative home remedies can order my Health Reports “Dr. Gott’s Compelling Home Remedies” and “More Compelling Home Remedies” by sending $2 (for each report; US check or money order) and a self-addressed, stamped number 10 envelope to Dr. Peter Gott, PO Box 433, Lakeville, CT 06039. Be sure to mention the title(s) when writing or print an order form from my website, www.AskDrGottMD.com.