Sometimes, what you think is a classic case of jock itch, is actually a problem with jock itch’s old school buddy…ringworm.
This might raise some immediate concern as you probably expect to find only one ‘worm’ in your pants (see what we did there!)! Nevertheless, ringworm is no cause for alarm because it can usually be treated at home without a trip to the clinic.
What is Ringworm?
Despite the name, ringworm is not caused by some slimy, tubular creature crawling around in your trousers. Rather, ringworm is considered a fungal infection. Doctors and scientists call it tinea, which somehow works out to mean “growing worm” in Latin. When talking about ringworm in the groin, that translation opens up a whole can of worms (no pun intended, ok… maybe a little) for jokes, but we’ll leave that for another time.
In most cases, ringworm presents itself as one or several small, crusty lesions on the skin’s surface. These rough patches of skin are usually circular in shape and reddish in color. At first glance, it is easy to confuse ringworm with a patch of blisters. Nonetheless, you’ll always recognize ringworm by its circle-like shape.
If you are one of the guys who has the unfortunate experience of finding ringworm below your boxer shorts, you’re probably trying to figure out where it came from. The most likely answer is that you contracted it from some other poor soul. The fungus that causes ringworm is highly contagious. It is commonly picked up from the germ farms found in public bathrooms, locker rooms and community showers. Any surface that has come into contact with infected skin could harbor the fungus; however it is most likely to grow in warm, moist environments.
You can also get ringworm from direct contact with an infected person or animal. Thus, it’s possible to get ringworm from a hot lovemaking session, borrowing your buddy’s basketball shorts, or simply by sticky an unwashed hand down your pants for some impromptu scratching.
To your dismay, once ringworm is introduced to your crotch, it tends to find a nice place to set up camp. The warm folds of the skin, along with daily perspiration, give it enough gusto to catch your attention with a flare up. You’ll probably get the message pretty quick because ringworm infected skin will feel warm, itchy, and slightly painful to the touch.
How is Ringworm Similar to Jock Itch?
The first obvious similarity is that these two skin conditions share an affection for the crotch area. However, the commonalities don’t just end there. Both are also caused by the same type of fungus, and they can both induce itchiness and discoloration of the skin. Furthermore, you can bring either of these home as an uninvited guest following a visit to the gym, or the employee shower stall at work.
In the bigger scheme of things, jock itch is actually considered a type of ringworm. You can think of ringworm as jock itch’s cruel older brother. Due to the close relation, there are also similarities in how to treat ringworm jock itch.
How Is Ringworm Different From Jock Itch
These two unpleasant groin invaders mainly differ in appearance. Jock itch is a red (or pink) rash that sets up shop in the fold of skin between the upper leg and pubic area. From there it can spread further down the leg, or even to the buttocks. It is also not uncommon for a person with jock itch to spread the fungus to the feet, thus causing athlete’s foot.
Ringworm shows up as a circular rash of rough, red-colored skin. It may also have a bumpy texture around the circumference. Ringworm likes to travel and can move to areas outside of the groin, such as the thighs, legs, or arms. It is also possible to have ringworm on other parts of the body without it ever showing up in the groin.
How to Treat Ringworm?
Ringworm sounds tough, but its bark is louder than its bite. It’s not hard to learn how to treat ringworm jock itch. The typical treatment involves applying an anti-fungal ointment or cream (see our top cream performers here) for a week or two. There are many over the counter products that can get the job done, but creams with Terbinafine are usually the best bet. In more severe cases, you may want to head to your local doc to get a prescription for anti-fungal pills.
How to Stop Ringworm from Reappearing
Once you finally beat the worm, you’ll want to make sure it doesn’t visit again. All you’ll need to do to stay ringworm free is use a little common sense. Make sure to keep your skin clean and dry. Change your clothes regularly, and make a special effort to get out of sweaty clothes as soon as possible. You should also avoid putting on clothing right after a shower to allow your skin to completely dry out. For more tips look at our “How to get rid of Jock Itch” article here!
You’ll also want to remember to keep your hands and belongings to yourself. Don’t share items like clothes, towels, or any sports equipment that touches the skin. Also make sure to take a thorough shower after hitting the gym or participating in sports. Moreover, make sure you always wear sandals when you shower at public locations, and clean yourself with anti-bacterial soap.
This point about soap is a big one, because as Confucius say “prevention is the best cure”.
If you wash every day with jock itch preventative soaps even when you don’t have jock itch then you’ll definitely be substantially lowering your chances of getting it. We have listed the BEST soaps on the market here – “What is the best soap for jock itch?“.
Now that you have read this article, get out there and send your ringworm packing! Good luck (not that you’ll need it now!)!