It starts out as a little itch in the groin. Then it's itching all the time. Once the soreness and redness set in, it's all-hands-on-deck to find out what is causing this discomfort. Could it be as simple as a breakout of jock itch, or is it something worse? This article will help men sort out the big differences between jock itch and herpes when dealing with a penis rash. It will also provide treatment options and some penis hygiene tips that can keep penis rashes and irritations away in the future.
Signs and Symptoms: Jock Itch
Jock itch, also known by its fancy Latin name, tinea cruris, is a highly contagious skin infection caused by numerous types of fungus like those that cause athlete's foot. It infects the genitals, buttocks, and inner thighs. It is often demarked by a ring-shaped rash, which is no surprise, since it is a form of ringworm. Jock itch loves to live in warm, moist places. People who sweat a lot, are overweight or have eczema have higher chances of contracting it. Those who wear tight clothes or have been in contact with someone else with jock itch also have a higher instance of contracting the infection.
If a man has one of the symptoms below, it's likely he has jock itch:
– A red, circular rash that has raised edges and can be a bit scaly
– Cracking, flaking, or peeling skin
– Itching and burning at the rash site
Signs and Symptoms: Herpes
Herpes is caused by the simplex virus and is a sexually transmitted disease. According to the CDC, more than one out of every six people aged 14-49 has genital herpes. It is transmitted by oral, vaginal, and anal sex or coming into contact with secretions from a sore.
Symptoms can be very mild, so it can be easy to dismiss a herpes sore as a pimple or ingrown hair. However, if a man has one of the symptoms below, he may have herpes:
– Small sores appear first which then form skin ulcers and scabs
– Flu-like symptoms such as fever, swollen glands, or body aches
Men experiencing these symptoms should see a doctor immediately for diagnosis. Herpes can go dormant for years before another outbreak but still lives in the body.
Still Confused? Look for These Major Differences
There are a few major differences to distinguish if a rash is jock itch or herpes. First, is the location. Jock itch will rarely appear on the penis, and instead prefers the inner legs or other moist crevices. Herpes will appear on the shaft and glans of the penis.
Jock itch also looks more like a red rash with ridges; whereas, herpes looks more like fluid-filled blisters that turn crusty when popped.
Treatment: Jock Itch
If you just try to ignore jock itch, it may outlast as it can hang on for months. Thankfully, it's pretty easy to treat. Over-the-counter antifungals can clear it up in a few short weeks. Also, keep the area clean and dry at all times to speed up healing.
Herpes cannot be cured but can be treated. Medications can shorten or prevent frequent outbreaks. There is a daily medication which can be taken to reduce the risk of passing the infection to a partner.
In addition to practicing the safest sex possible, good hygiene can keep unwanted penis rashes at bay. Practice exemplary grooming habits by washing the groin area daily with a gentle cleanser and warm water, being sure to clean around the foreskin, testicles, and inner thigh area. After washing, thoroughly dry the groin area to decrease moisture that attracts bacteria.
Once cleaned and dried, apply a specially formulated penis health creme (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil, which has been clinically proven safe and mild for skin) to the penis and surrounding area. Find a product that uses natural emollients like Shea butter and vitamin E that seal in moisture and keep this tender skin hydrated. Also look for lotions with nutrients like vitamin A which is an antibacterial agent and works to combat disagreeable penile odors caused by bacteria that flourish in warm, dark areas, such as the groin. This combination used daily will keep the penis supple, smooth, and healthy.