How to Easily Spot if Your Have Jock Itch or Herpes
Itching down there is no laughing matter. It’s not only uncomfortable, but it’s also frightening. Questions whirl through your mind: What is causing your symptoms? Is it serious? Can you spread it to others?
Don’t panic just yet. By assessing your symptoms and learning more about the most common causes of genital itching and sores, you can seek the best treatments for rapid relief. It’s especially important to understand the difference between jock itch and herpes, the two most common causes of genital outbreaks.
What Is Jock Itch?
Jock itch, officially known as tinea cruris, is a fungal infection that develops around the genitals, buttocks, and inner thighs. It’s extremely uncomfortable, but not threatening to your overall health.
You might recognize jock itch by one of its many other nicknames, including:
- Jock rot
- Crotch rot
- Dhobi itch
- Scrot rot
- Gym itch
- Ringworm of the groin
- Eczema marginatum
What Causes Jock Itch?
Jock itch develops from mold-like fungi known as dermatophytes. Though harmless in small quantities, dermatophytes rapidly reproduce in moist, warm environments and trigger fungal infection on the skin. This is why tinea cruris is most commonly known as jock itch; it’s associated with athletes who are often hot and sweaty.
Symptoms of Jock Itch
Most jock itch infections are bothersome but mild and easy to treat. Symptoms develop around the inner thighs, groin, and buttocks, including:
- Red rashes
- Chronic itching and burning
- Flaking or peeling of the skin
Despite its name, jock itch doesn’t only affect athletes. Adults and adolescents living in hot, humid environments; who sweat excessively, are obese and don't keep themselves dry, are prone to fungal infections. This condition is most common in men but does occur in women as well.
Best Jock Itch Treatments
Jock itch is fairly easy to treat using over-the-counter medications and careful preventative measures. Many different creams, powders, and sprays are formulated to kill the fungal infection that causes jock itch.
In addition to over-the-counter products, it’s also important to properly care for the infected area. The following measures reduce and eliminate the conditions that allow fungi to thrive:
- Wash the affected area with soap and warm water at least twice a day
- Dry the affected area immediately after bathing and exercising
- Change clothes at least once a day
- Choose loose cotton clothing to prevent additional sweating
If your symptoms don’t improve after a few weeks, you may have a more severe case of jock itch that requires medical attention. Your doctor may prescribe a stronger anti-fungal medication that’s applied topically or taken orally to attack your fungal infection.
What Is Herpes?
Herpes is a family of more than 100 known viruses, but only a handful can infect humans. The two most well-known herpes viruses are oral herpes and genital herpes.
Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 (HSV-1)
The herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) is best known for causing oral cold sores, but it’s also responsible for genital herpes in about 42% of women with the virus. Experts estimate that about 66% of the world’s population below the age of 50 has this form of herpes.
HSV-1 spreads through direct contact with the skin and causes cold sores to develop on the face. Once HSV-1 enters your system, this virus spreads easily to trigger cold sores around the lips and mouth. It is highly contagious, especially when oozing blisters are present.
HSV-1 remains dormant in the nerve cells in your skin after your initial outbreak. It may lie inactive for weeks, months, or even years. It’s hard to predict exactly when and how the next outbreak will be triggered in the future, but these external factors are the most common causes of cold sores:
- Hormonal changes
- Another viral infection
- Injury to the skin
- Unusual exposure to sunlight and wind
Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 (HSV-2)
The herpes simplex virus type 2, most commonly known as genital herpes, is a sexually transmitted infection without a known cure. The most common sign of genital herpes is the development of blisters around the genital area. Herpes simplex blisters are often itchy and painful.
Other symptoms may accompany the blisters to indicate early warning signs of a person’s first genital herpes outbreak:
- Difficult or painful urination
- Swollen glands in the pelvic area
- Fever and chills
- A tingly sensation in the affected areas
Most people experience their first outbreak two to 12 days after initial exposure to the virus. After the blisters break, it may take up to four weeks for herpes ulcers to heal.
Following the first outbreak, recurring outbreaks are common but don’t last nearly as long. Sores tend to heal within three to seven days in recurring outbreaks, and the number of outbreak periods may even decrease over time.
Herpes vs. Jock Itch: How Do You Tell the Difference?
Once you identify the difference between jock itch and herpes, it’s fairly simple to determine which condition is causing your symptoms.
Jock itch is a fungal infection, while herpes is a viral infection. This means they present distinct symptoms. If you have jock itch, your symptoms are more likely to resemble an itchy rash spread over a large area and become worse when you exercise or sweat. Herpes, on the other hand, emerges as numerous defined painful blisters over a smaller area.
You can also tell the difference between jock itch and herpes based on how painful your symptoms feel. When herpes lesions develop on the thighs, buttocks, and genital areas, they cause discomfort to the point of pain. Jock itch rarely causes pain, only itching.
Genital herpes, on the other hand, requires a different approach. Head into your doctor’s office, use an online pharmacy, or check your medicine cabinet for these effective genital herpes antiviral medications.
Acyclovir is an antiviral medication that treats infections caused by the herpes simplex virus, including genital herpes. You might recognize Acyclovir by its brand names like Zovirax, Cymex Ultra, and Virasorb.
It’s best to start taking Acyclovir as soon as you notice the first signs of an emerging outbreak. This medication stops the herpes virus from growing and spreading during an outbreak, although it cannot remove the virus from your body completely. Most people experience relief within just a few days of taking Acyclovir for genital herpes.
Valacyclovir, also known as Valtrex, is Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
approved to treat genital herpes. This antiviral drug interferes with the DNA replication of the herpes virus for an even longer duration of time than acyclovir. As a result, you can take Valacyclovir less frequently and still enjoy consistent results.
NSAIDs For Pain Relief
Genital herpes outbreaks can cause days or even weeks of discomfort. Fortunately, you probably already have pain relief options sitting in your medicine cabinet. Aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen are all formulated to reduce the inflammation that causes so much pain during outbreaks.
Use Luminance RED
Luminance RED is a breakthrough genital herpes treatment that harnesses high-powered light treatment to accelerate healing and prevent new herpes outbreaks.
This FDA-registered device nourishes the skin with medically optimized light, which is metabolized to accelerate the body’s healing process and strengthen its defenses against future attacks. Regular use of the Luminance RED may prevent future outbreaks altogether!