I have recurring jock itch. My doctor told me I should wear cotton boxer brief or briefs. Neither helped. Should I go back to boxers?

Jock itch is the general name for a common fungal infection (tinea cruris) that usually affects the groin and inner things. The fungi that infect the skin thrive in conditions that are wet and humid. Unfortunately, many people with active lifestyles such as athletes often sweat a lot, creating a perfect condition for jock itch.

In other people, tight clothes can cause friction that creates tiny tears on the skin, encouraging the infection. Sometimes, wearing tight briefs in hot and humid weather is also a risk factor. The reason your doctor has advised you to wear cotton briefs is that these are usually more comfortable and airy. Cotton “breathes” much better than most artificial fibers, reducing the chances of sweat accumulation. You should probably follow this advice for a few months. One reason that the condition keeps recurring is probably because you stopped treatment once the initial symptoms reduced. Unfortunately, the fungi can remain active for some time, and you should continue the treatment for the whole recommended duration. You can prevent future infections by using an over the counter antifungal powder. This helps to absorb extra sweat and moisture while also destroying any fungi that may be left. To further prevent jock itch, keep your groin area clean and dry, as much as it is practically possible. If you are into sports or any activity requiring physical exertion, take a shower as soon as possible, and dry completely before putting on a fresh and clean underwear. It is also advisable to keep a separate towel and replace it frequently, since the infection can recur from contaminated clothes. Avoid any harsh chemical soap and use a mild, medicated one.

Jock itch can often cause severe itching. However, scratching the affected region can damage the skin, worsening the condition and increasing the risk of secondary infections. At home, you can apply some aloe vera gel or lotion. Aloe vera also has excellent antiseptic properties and can prevent bacterial infections in the inflamed skin. Another natural remedy is tea tree oil, which is an excellent antifungal agent. You can add a few drops in your daily bath for greater protection. This will help to sooth the irritated skin and reduce the itchiness. If the condition still recurs after these precautions, consult with your doctor about stronger prescription medications, such as oral antifungal pills, that are used for stubborn cases of jock itch.

answered by M W

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