Is it Chafing or Jock Itch? Solving the Mystery in Your Lady Bits
Time to distinguish one from the other.
The northern half of the world suffered from heatwaves this year; naturally, people sweat more than usual as temperatures rise. The same goes in tropical countries like the Philippines. With the heat, women of all sizes find themselves chafing between their inner thighs due to sweating and rubbing.
But when the unbearable discomfort seems to worsen despite powders, lotions, and barrier creams, could chafing be a symptom of an underlying condition? How can you tell if it’s just chafing, or are you having a fungal infection brewing between your thighs?
In this article, we talk about chafing in women and the possibility of getting jock itch in your lady parts. We also discuss ways to reduce discomfort in the areas and bid goodbye to the things that make it worse.
What is chafing?
Chafing can be caused by skin rubbing against skin or against clothing—the continuous rubbing results in a raw, red rash that feels hot to the touch.
Physical activity and sweating can worsen chafing, so many athletic ladies suffer from it. Ladies of all weights and sizes can experience chafing. Women experiencing weight fluctuations and changes in muscle mass may have chafing because of the frequent skin-to-skin friction.
Chafing can happen in different body parts- between the thighs, under the breasts, inner thighs, and even in the buttocks and groin. It can be painful. Chafed skin will look scaly and peel eventually. If not addressed immediately, chafing may lead to skin darkening or result in a bacterial or fungal infection.
Chafing due to vaginal discharge
Sometimes, it’s harder to keep your lady parts dry when you’re having lots of discharge-either you’re on your period or having lots of white discharge before and during ovulation.
Add it to the sweat your skin in the nether areas produces, and bam! Perfect breeding ground for bacteria and infection. If this is what you’re currently experiencing, you should take extra steps to ensure your inner thigh and groin area remain dry and clean.
Read on to know if it’s chafing or jock itch.
Could I possibly have jock itch?
Jock itch is often confused with chafing because both conditions irritate the inner thigh and groin area. However, if you have jock itch, your symptoms will be more severe and last longer than chafing.
Like chafing, jock itch burns and turns red, but the rashes are ring-shaped and have small blisters bordering the rash. It is caused by a tiny fungus called Trichophyton rubrum (the same type of fungi that causes athlete’s foot), which lives on dead skin cells and thrives in hot, humid environments.
Your inner thighs and groin area are the perfect places for these fungi to grow, leaving you with raw, itchy, raised rashes that may spread to other body parts. In time, these rashes will become more painful.
Here’s how to distinguish chafing from jock itch in women:
Red, scaly, weeping patches
Red, raised, often with a half-moon or ringed shape
It improves when the area is kept dry and with less friction
Lasts for weeks or months, untreated
Spreads to other body parts
What causes jock itch in women?
While sweating and chafing are good conditions for jock itch, it only happens when you get infected with the fungi. These fungi are often spread by using infected towels or clothing. They can also be transmitted through sexual contact with a partner who has untreated jock itch.
How to Prevent Chafing and Jock Itch
These two conditions are very similar, so preventing one will essentially prevent the other from happening. Here’s what we recommend:
Change underwear often.
It may mean more underwear to wash, but wearing soaked underwear all day puts you at risk for urinary tract infection, genital irritation, and even acne. Change your underwear daily to avoid sweat and dirt buildup from clogging your skin and inviting fungi to grow.
Wash your underwear with mild detergent.
Heavily-scented detergents may irritate your nether regions, render your skin more sensitive, and make it prone to chafing.
Try boyleg underwear.
Boyleg panties or boy shorts are close fitting and don’t let your inner thighs rub together. Consider getting one in polyester fabric, as it quickly wicks sweat away from your skin.
Don’t share towels and clothes with anyone else.
This step is necessary to prevent infection from spreading from person to person. According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, ringworm (jock itch is ringworm in the groin area) can quickly spread to others through towels and other personal items. More reasons to stop sharing a towel even with your partner!
Keep the area clean and dry.
At the first signs of chafing, clean the area gently and thoroughly dry with a clean towel. Apply a barrier cream or petroleum jelly to reduce friction. Chafing powders also absorb moisture in the region and help skin glide smoothly with less irritation.
Consult your doctor if your jock itch worsens.
You can try over-the-counter treatments if you have jock itch instead of ordinary chafing. However, see a doctor if these treatments fail to improve your condition in two weeks.
Chafing and jock itch are preventable.
While chafing is not contagious, neglecting your chafed skin may make you prone to infections, like jock itch. Nevertheless, with the steps outlined above, you can prevent chafing and jock itch from happening to you (or help your skin heal if you have it already).
Have you experienced chafing or jock itch? What did you do with it? Please share it with us in the comments.