Jock itch - how do deal with itchy private parts

Last updated: 22/2/2023

Many men and women are familiar with the irritating feeling of an itchy groin or crotch. It's a frustrating situation to be in, and often occurs at the worst possible times. There can be many reasons behind your problem - some of which you can read about in this guide. This way you will better how to treat it, as well as knowing what habits and good quality products can help you in preventing it from happening in the future. 


Read by Anne Thestrup Meimbresse

Anne, Varde Pharmacy
Anne has a MSc in Pharmacy from the University of Southern Denmark and has worked as a pharmacist at the Varde pharmacy for several years. Here she advises both costumers and doctors about the correct use of medical products.

What is ”Jock itch” ?

Jock itch, or tinea cruris is an uncomfortable problem, which gives a strong sensation of skin irritation in the intimate area. For women, it can be itchiness in and around the vaginal opening and on the outer genital lips. For men, the itch often occurs on the head of the penis, on the balls and around the penis.

An itchy crotch can mean itch in one or more areas of your private parts.

What causes Jock itch?

There can be many causes behind an itchy crotch. It can be a harmless case, or it can prove to be a sign of underlying symptoms. Here are some of the more common causes.

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Vainal Itch for women

Most women recognize the problem of vaginal itch and/or dryness. Women are very likely to experience this at some point during their life.

Vaginal Thrush

One of the more common causes of vaginal itching is a yeast infection, or as its more commonly called: vaginal thrush. All over our skin, there naturally resides fungus – especially the yeast fungus Candida Albicans. They can also be found in the mucous membrane inside the vagina and is usually harmless. However, when the balance and environment in the vagina changes, it can cause an infection of the fungus, which leads to discomfort.

The yeast fungus loves warm and moist areas, which makes the vagina a perfect place for growth. When the natural balance of the environment in the vagina is disturbed, this leads to an increased growth of the fungus.

Besides causing itch and discomfort, vaginal thrush often leads to changes in vaginal discharge, this could be both color and consistency. From being clear or milky white, it can become very white and lumpy, with a texture similar to cottage cheese. The changes can also lead to a change in smell.

Thrush in the groin

Just like vaginal thrush, thrush in the groin occurs due to an overgrowth of yeast fungus. On our skin we have different types of fungus, which at times can attack different places on the body. Another normal skin fungus are dermatophytes, this is exactly the type of fungus that can cause thrush in the groin.

Just like the candida-fungus, dermatophytes thrive in moist, warm areas – an environment that often can be found in the groin. When the area in the groin becomes a bit too warm and moist, an overgrowth of dermatophytes can occur, something that leads to a fungus infection.  

This will typically lead to a red, flaky rash, which both itches and feels burning and uncomfortable. The rash has a map like outline, which clearly separates it from the “healthy” skin.

Vaginal irritation

Vaginal itch is often caused by a simple vaginal irritation. This is completely harmless, but that doesn’t take away from the irritation and frustration that the product can cause. Vaginal irritation often occurs because of vaginal dryness. Exactly like anywhere else on the body with dry skin, it tends to be itchier and more irritated.

The vagina can dry up when the ovaries isn’t producing enough estrogen. Vaginal discharge helps keeping the mucous membrane moist, but especially after menopause the estrogen production decreases, which therefore can lead to vaginal dryness.

Also birth control pills and other medicine can contribute to drying up the mucous membrane, which can lead to dryness, irritation, and vaginal itch.

READ MORE:  Products against vaginal itch

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Itchy crotch for men

Women are not the only ones who experience itchy private parts. For many men it’s a frustrating problem, which leads to a lot of discomfort and awkward situations.

Penis thrush

Just like women, men can also suffer thrush on their private parts – even though vaginal thrush is more common than thrush on the head of the penis. Naturally, it stems from the same candida-albicans-fungus, which leads to a yeast infection on the mans penis. If the fungus is given the right circumstances to grow, you might see an overgrowth of fungus which can then be called a yeast infection, or more commonly: thrush.

You will not be able to get rid of the thrush, as long as it has good conditions for growth. The warm, dark and moist areas are great for fungus growth, which means that men who are not circumcised have a higher risk of developing thrush.

In many cases thrush on penis, can come from the man being infected by a female partner during sex. When you have vaginal thrush, you can infect others, but if you are a man with thrush you can not contaminate a female partner. This is why Thrush is not considered an STI.

Thrush in the groin

Thrush in the groin, that often is referred to as trush in the crotch, is a normal problem amongst men. Even though women also can experience thrush in the groins, it is way more common for men.

When the skin is kept dry and clean, the skin maintains a healthy and protective skin barrier, which maintains the balance amongst microorganisms on the skin. However, the groin is an area which easily becomes moist and warm. When this happens, the protective barrier is broken, and dermatophytes have great circumstances to grow. The fungus sits in the top layer of the skin, but when the barrier and healthy balance is broken, the fungus breaks down the layer of skin using enzymes, so that they have good odds of getting the upper hand and creating a fungus infection.

Young sportsmen struggle a lot with thrush in the groin. The sweat and heat caused from many hours of exercise leads to wet clothes and a moist, warm groin. This makes them especially exposed to thrush in the groin area.

READ MORE: Products for jock itch

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How to stop your private parts from itching?

Whether or not you have thrush in your groin, your penis, or if you’re suffering from vaginal irritation, there is help to be found. If you’ve been infected with fungus, the treatment is quick and simple, by using a cream or ointment, which you can pick up at the pharmacy. If you have thrush, it’s important to treat it.

It will not disappear by itself. And not only is it uncomfortable, but you can also risk infecting others.

Do you struggle with itch and irritation, you can minimize it by using a Tea Tree Oil gel, with a formula based on natural ingredients which relieve and calm itchy and irritated skin, which occurs due to thrush.

The gel counter acts bacteria and helps keep the skin healthy and clean. As the name suggests – the gel contains Australian Tea Tree Oil, which over the years, has proven its unique antibacterial and anticeptic qualities.

Tea Tree Oil can be a good way to soothe and calm skin irritations, and can be useful when you experience thrush.

If you’re in doubt about whether your itch and discomfort stems from thrush, you should always talk to a doctor. He or she could help you find the correct treatment.

What can you do to prevent an itchy crotch?

Another effective way of dealing with an itchy crotch is quite simply to avoid that it occurs in the first place. Here are some ways you can keep unwanted fungus growth at bay:

  • Make sure you properly dry your crotch after a bath or shower
  • Regularly dry your crotch after physical activity that causes sweating.
  • Regularly change underwear and gym clothes.
  • Avoid using pads and panty liners if you’re a woman. This can create a moist area, attractive for the fungus.
  • Use underwear made from cotton, rather than synthetic materials. Synthetic materials aren’t as breathable as cotton, which again can lead to a warmer, more moist area for the fungus to grow.

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