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Read by Anne Thestrup Meimbresse

Pharmacist, Varde Pharmacy

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What is a Fungal Groin Infection?

Fungi in the groin is a fungal infection from skin dermatophytes (tinea). Fungal infections on the skin are caused by various types of skin fungi that attack different areas of the body. The three most common skin fungi are dermatophytes, candida and pityriasis versicolor, which attack the body differently and produces different skin symptoms.

Fungal groin infections are also known as Tinea Cruris, which is a fungus that infects the skin on your inner thighs. However, the skin fungus can also spread to the genitals and buttocks. Fungi in the groin are similar to other fungal types in the tinea family, such as foot fungus and scalp fungus.

Causes of Fungal Groin Infections

Many fungi and microorganisms live naturally on the body. The fungi live off dead skin cells, keeping the skin clean and dry will help keep the fungi in check. The natural bacterial balance of the skin is maintained so that the fungi cannot multiply. If allowed to multiply, the fungi will create an imbalance and develop into a fungal infection. With the infection comes annoying, uncomfortable skin conditions.

If the skin is kept clean and dry, it will naturally shield itself from the excess of harmless fungi. But as soon as the skin is out of balance, the fungi seize the chance to take over. They do so in the skin’s top layer, known as the epidermis. When the fungi take over, they form sufficient amounts of enzymes that break down the epidermis – from there, they have free reign to spread.

Humid Conditions

Fungi thrive in hot and moist conditions, and therefore there are several skin areas on the body that are particularly vulnerable to fungal infection. One of the areas is the groin.

In the groin, skin is often moister and warmer than elsewhere on the body and is therefore a paradise for fungi. In the hot and moist skin folds of the groin, natural fungal spores are given the optimum conditions to multiply, thus becoming a groin fungal infection.

Poor Hygiene

A fungal infection in the groin is typically due to the moist environment around the crotch. However, poor personal hygiene is also an important factor in the development of a fungal infection. If you forget to wash after sporting activities, and you are not sufficiently careful about your personal hygiene in the groin area, you provide good growth conditions for the fungi. When you have poor personal hygiene, a lot of bacteria and moisture form in the groin, including fungi that can develop into an infection.

Weakened Immune Systems and Medical Treatments

It is not only bad personal hygiene and humid conditions that can cause fungi to grow in the groin. Often a groin fungal infection is associated with a weakened immune system. It gives the fungi better conditions for growth.

This is the case for diseases that attack the white blood cells, which otherwise would fight off foreign microorganisms that penetrate the body. Also, being overweight and feeling mental stress can contribute to weakening your immune system, so the skin fungi are free to multiply in your groin.

If you are already on a penicillin or antibiotic treatment, you are also at a greater risk of having a fungal infection in the groin. Antibiotics attack the naturally occurring microorganisms on your skin – and when the natural bacteria in the groin area is inhibited, the fungus have good growth conditions to multiple and infect.

Who Has an Increased Risk of Getting A Fungal Infection?

Foot fungus is the most common form of all body fungi, but the close fungi family that affect the groin area are also very common. Fungal groin infections can affect everyone but are especially prevalent in people who lead an active lifestyle, and therefore sweat heavily. This is why male athletes are particularly prone to the infection. But fungal infections in the groin can also occur in people with less active lifestyles. For example, in obese people who don’t necessarily lead an active lifestyle, but nevertheless sweat a lot.

Although fungal infections occur in both men and women, the groin fungi disorder is most common in men. This is usually due to tight-fitting underwear that create a damp environment, and working out in the same clothes, without washing between workouts.

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Natural Transmission of Infections

Fungal groin infections can be transmitted to others, although it’s not very contagious. However, you should be aware that in rare cases, it can be transmitted indirectly.

If you share clothes or a towel with a person who has a fungal groin infection, the infection can then be transmitted to you through the fabric. The fungus can also be transmitted via direct physical contact – for example, during intercourse with a partner who has a fungal infection in the groin.

Therefore, if you suspect that you have a fungal infection, it is very important to be treated so that you do not infect your partner or others.

Symptoms of Fungi in The Groin

How do you know if you have a fungal groin infection? There are often some obvious symptoms of a fungal infection – both in men and women. If you notice any of the following symptoms in the skin on or around the groin, there is a high chance that you have a fungal groin infection.

  • Intense redness. One of the most obvious symptoms of a fungal infection is itchy, irritated and red skin. The rash will be a reddish-brown colour and clearly defined against healthy skin. The rash often extends over a relatively large area that starts on the inside of the thighs and goes all the way up to the male or female genitals, it can also lead up to the rectum. This symptom can lead to anxiety.
  • Flaking and peeling skin in the groin. The skin that is infected with fungi will become extremely irritated. As a result, the skin can form small cracks and start to peel off. You may have large or small flakes.
  • Itching and burning sensations. A fungal infection in the groin can cause a burning or sore sensation, that may be accompanied by itching. The burning sensation can be very uncomfortable, and in bad cases may cause pain.

Relieve Itching and Irritation

If you recognise the symptoms described, or have had problems with groin infections before, it is important to relieve the problem. This will help you avoid the discomfort, but also so that you don’t accidentally infect others.

Femigel from Australian Bodycare is formulated from natural ingredients that effectively relieve, cool and soothe the irritated skin – completely relieving the symptoms. Femigel contains Australian Tea Tree Oil, which is known for its antiseptic and antibacterial properties, you can alleviate problems including itching and irritation. The natural and active substances in the Femigel counteract bacteria and keep the skin clean and healthy.

The symptoms of a fungal groin infection are typically relieved within a week.

If you have even the slightest doubt about what the symptoms are, or if they have not disappeared after two weeks of using the Femigel, consult your doctor. He or she can further examine you by taking a painless skin sample and examining the skin under the microscope. In some cases, a gel is not enough and therefore a tablet treatment must be supplemented too. However, in most cases, the symptoms of itching and irritation will disappear once you start using a Femigel.

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How to Prevent Fungal Groin Infections

If you have had a fungal groin infection and would like to prevent it from coming back, or if you want to completely avoid getting the infection in the first place, there are some precautions you can take. With few good measures, you can effectively prevent fungal infections in the groin.

  • Wash daily – remember to wash regularly, particularly after you’ve been training or spend time doing physical exercise. Use an antiseptic soap.
  • Use a clean and dry towel to keep your skin dry and free of perspiration. Also, make sure to dry the groin area thoroughly after washing, so the area is not excessively moist.
  • Wear fresh underwear daily. If you sweat a lot, you should change your underwear more often so that you avoid walking around with damp underwear. Damp underwear keeps the groin moist and enclosed creating the perfect conditions for fungal growth.
  • Avoid tight underwear or pants. If your clothes are too tight around the groin, your skin will not be able to breathe. This keeps the skin humid and warm, so the fungi can freely multiply.

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