Jock Itch or Herpes? Here’s How to Tell the Difference
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A persistent groin itch is enough to make a sane man crazy, as part of the brain is always resisting the urge to scratch. Men with itchy, sore genitals might also be frightened of the cause of the itch, worried that the symptoms they’re experiencing might be due to something chronic, like herpes. While herpes is common, some cases of crotch itching are caused by more benign conditions, including jock itch. This article will outline the difference between herpes and jock itch and provide some penis health care tips that could help keep both conditions from causing aggravation.
Jock Itch: Causes and Symptoms
A tiny fungal spore, tinea cruris, is responsible for jock itch. Most fungus cells thrive in moist, damp conditions where light is sparse. Men who work out or otherwise engage in hot, steamy sports while wearing tight pieces of clothing create the perfect environment for this fungal infection. Symptoms can vary a bit from man to man, but most people with the infection report intense itching and pain centering on the inner thighs, buttocks or the groin.
Herpes: Causes and Symptoms
Herpes is considered a sexually transmitted disease, because contact with infected skin is necessary for the condition to take hold. Herpes can cause flu-like symptoms, including a fever and swollen lymph nodes. Those symptoms tend to appear in the days and weeks following infection, and they’re followed by an outbreak of wet-looking, incredibly itchy sores. The spots tend to stay in place for about 2 weeks, and they resolve on their own in time. An outbreak might recur at a later date, however, causing the same types of sores to reappear.
Jock itch can spread to the penis, but that’s not common. Instead, this rash tends to focus on the legs and the dark crevices of the body. Herpes, on the other hand, can infect the penis itself, and sores on the head of the penis are quite common. The itching symptoms caused by the two conditions can be quite similar, but the areas in which the itching takes place tend to be quite different.
The appearance of the two conditions is also strikingly different. Where jock itch tends to look a lot like a red rash, with a few tiny blisters on the edge, herpes infections look like heat blisters that are filled with fluid. When these blisters pop, they form painful, crusty sores. Jock itch doesn’t behave in this way.
Rashes and sores of any kind should be brought to the attention of a doctor. Medical professionals can use laboratory tests to determine exactly what is causing the itch, and they can prescribe appropriate treatments to keep that problem from spreading. Any man with an itch should put a call to the doctor at the top of his to-do list. With proper diagnosis, these self-care tips can help to speed healing.
Herpes is considered a chronic condition, because there are no specific medications that can completely eradicate the disease from a person’s body. Drugs can keep new outbreaks from taking place, but people who have herpes will need to take extra care to ensure that they don’t infect other people in the future. For men, this means using medications regularly, avoiding sex during breakouts and always wearing a condom. Applying a penis health crème can also help the skin to stay resilient and strong between outbreaks.
Jock itch, on the other hand, is far from hearty, and a few doses of antifungal cream can make the symptoms go away. By staying clean, men can ensure that the condition doesn’t come back. Quick showers after sweaty workouts can wash spores away, and following up that cleaning with a penis health crème (most experts recommend Man 1 Man Oil) can help the skin to stay soft and strong, which might provide a less hospitable environment for future infectious spores.
By John Dugan