Does Jock Itch Smell Bad? Everything You Need To Know About Jock Itch

Research Based
Medically reviewed by - Dr Rabia Akram, MD Written by - Dr. Shaheen Shah


Jock Itch

Jock itch is a fungal infection that people usually get in the body’s private parts: buttocks, thighs, genitals. The body’s affected part becomes unbearably itchy with redness and a characteristic odor. Around twenty percent of people globally have episodes of jock itch at various periods of their lifetime. Though most people get jock itch, many are unaware of the infection or what causes the smell. The article will describe jock itch, its causes, how to identify it, and some tips to get rid of it if one gets it. Moreover, it will also answer some popular questions that people would like to know about jock itch infection 1 Overview| Researched based study from National Institutes of Health.

Jock itch is a fungal infection that people usually get in the body's private parts: buttocks, thighs, genitals. The body's affected part becomes unbearably itchy with redness and a characteristic odor.

What is jock itch?

  • Jock itch (Tinea cruris) is a dermal infection caused by yeast or fungus.
  • The infection is frequent in people with excessive sweating viz; athletes, and is regularly seen in body parts such as buttocks, thighs, or genital areas. The fungus easily and rapidly multiplies at damp and warm temperatures.
  • The body-affected parts become crusty and ruptured with pimples. 1 Overview| Researched based study from National Institutes of Health


Does Jock Itch Smell Bad?

  • Jock itch causes a moldy stinking smell in rigorous cases. The scent also sometimes has a tart character. The individuals might also get other symptoms such as painful, distended, red, itchy skin eruptions.
  • Physicians usually identify jock itch by its manifestations at the affected part, i.e., the genital areas. Moreover, individuals must try to get treatment for jock itch from the physician before the odor gets too intense 2 Understanding Jock Itch| Researched based study from National Institutes of Health .

Causes of jock itch odor:

  • The reason for the jock itch is the fungi that cause it. The fungi release specific substances that have a moldy odor. The fungus multiplies in severe cases, so the smell intensifies over time.
  • In individuals with extensive sweating in afflicted parts, the bacteria living in the region also contribute to the jock itch odor to some extent 3 Understanding Jock Itch| Researched based study from National Institutes of Health .

Treating jock itch smell:

One can treat jock itch by adopting specific measures. Some of them are listed below-

  • Keep the affected area dirt-free and dry
  • Change the sweated clothing after any physical activity as early as possible.
  • Wear properly washed clothes
  • Avoid wearing skin-tight clotting
  • Soak the body entirely after showering with a clean towel before wearing clothes.
  • Always wear slippers while using public bathrooms to avert fungal infections.
  • Use over-the-counter antifungal ointments containing clotrimazole and terbinafine to the affected area after proper washing and drying or as the physician recommends.
  • If the skin condition does not improve with over-the-counter medication, the individual must immediately visit a dermatologist for the appropriate treatments.
  • Always follow the medication course as the doctor advises; stopping the drug too early might cause the fungal infection to recur 4 Understanding Jock Itch| Researched based study from National Institutes of Health.

How can I get rid of jock itch quickly?

  • Jock itch has a moldy odor due to fungus excessive growth in the affected area.
  • Individuals can relieve the jock itch smell by maintaining good hygiene, such as cleaning and keeping the area dry.
  • Over-the-counter topical creams, like clotrimazole and miconazole over the affected area, can check the fungal growth and decrease the smell.


Causes of Jock Itch

The fungus responsible for jock itch thrives well in hot and humid conditions. Individuals who prefer wearing skinny clothing and undergarments sweat more, which causes easy attack by the fungus. Moreover, young men are more prone to get the jock itch infection.

Some other aspects of jock itch infection are listed below-

  • High sugar (diabetes)
  • People with weakened immune system
  • Enormous sweating
  • People involved in regular sports
  • People with a lack of cleanliness
  • Familial history 5 Causes| Researched based study from ScienceDirect .

Naturally, our body might have fungi, but people get skin infections only when the fungi multiply enormously in a moist, unclean environment.


Symptoms of Jock Itch

How do you know if you have jock itch?

An individual will know that he is suffering from jock itch if he has one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Continual itching
  • Reddening of the affected part
  • Scorching (burning) sensation
  • Skin peeling in the affected area
  • Pimples at the end of the rash in the affected part
  • Alteration of skin color
  • Skin eruptions that worsen with physical activity
  • Rash that does not get better with anti-itch ointments viz; hydrocortisone

Jock itch is frequent in the inner thighs, folds between the abdomen and legs, and buttocks, but it typically does not occur on the scrotum (testicles) 6 Symptoms| Researched based study from National Institutes of Health .


How to Treat the Jock Itch Smell that Won’t Go Away?

If the over-the-counter medication does not help with the jock itch, one can go for the following treatments-

Antifungal shampoo

  • Selenium sulfide and Ketoconazole medicated shampoos prescribed by the physician is an excellent treatment for jock itch.
  • They don’t have adverse effects and are available at most health stores.

Antifungal drug

The physician might advise the following drugs for rigorous Jock itch infection.

Oral drugs

  • Itraconazole
  • Fluconazole

Topical medication

  • Econazole
  • Oxiconazole 8 Treatment| Researched based study from National Institutes of Health .

How to clear out jock itch quickly?

  • Individuals can rapidly get rid of the jock itch using over-the-counter medication, topical ointments, gels, creams, powder, and sprays.
  • The physician might also advise oral drugs to ward off the infection. Above all, one should keep the infected area dry, cold, and hygienic for a speedy recovery


Jock Itch Healing Stages

There are three healing stages of Jock itch. They are as follows:

i) Initial stage

  • The initial stage needs the proper identification of the condition by a dermatologist (skin specialist)
  • The doctor will initially execute a physical examination and then might take a sample of the affected skin for laboratory examination and to exclude other infections.
  • The doctor will advise appropriate medication or topical ointments based on the diagnosis to stop the infection and reduce discomfort. It also assists in early recovery.

ii) Treatment stage

The doctor advises antifungal ointments or lotions to treat the jock itch infection. Apart from medications, other things that an individual must follow during the treatment stage are listed below-

  • Maintaining an excellent hygiene
  • Keeping the affected area dry after washing with a mild soap to prevent the fungus growth
  • Wearing comfortable loose cotton clothing
  • Changing the undergarments frequently
  • Specific home remedies, such as tea tree oil application on the affected part, might also provide relief.

iii) Recovery stage

At this stage, the affected skin gets better over time. It is essential to carry on with the treatment plan as the doctor advises. One must continue with drugs and specific cleanliness measures to stop the infection. Some of them are as follows-

  • Frequent changing of undergarments,
  • Avoid sharing towels and other personal clothing with others
  • Always use clean sun, dried towels

Even if the symptoms subside, one should not stop continuing the medication and should complete the entire course as the doctor advises, as sudden stoppage of drugs might lead to infection recurrence. Proper self-care and maintaining self-hygiene can efficiently manage the jock itch condition 7 Healing Stages| Researched based study from National Institutes of Health .


Frequently Asked Questions About Jock Itch

Q. What can be mistaken for a jock itch?

The conditions that resemble jock itch are as follows-

Thrush (Yeast infection)

  • Thrush occurs by the candida fungus and thrives well in hot and humid conditions, just like jock itch. It frequently occurs in damaged skin areas.
  • They are common in the groin area, penis, skin pouch that contains the testes, and exterior area of the vagina.
  • Treatments for thrush include Topical ointments or Oral antifungal drugs.

Inverse psoriasis

  • It is an autoimmune condition that impacts the skin cells to grow speedily. It is a kind of psoriasis (skin disease).
  • It appears in areas where the skin folds viz; inner thighs, groin just like jock itch.
  • Treatment for Inverse psoriasis include Oral drugs and Topical medication 9 FAQs| Researched based study from National Institutes of Health .

Q. Is my jock itch an STD?

  • Jock itch is a fungal disease that occurs through skin contact with the fungus.
  • The fungus multiplies and overgrows in the presence of hot and humid conditions.
  • As jock itch occurs due to skin contact, it is not a sexually transmitted ailment.

Q. Does jock itch have a scent?

  • Yes, Jock itch smells moldy due to excessive fungus growth in the affected area.

Q. Can jock itch self-resolve?

Jock itch generally does not resolve on its own. Untreated Jock itch can extend to different neighboring body parts viz;


  • It occurs due to rubbing the infested area with hands and then utilizing the same napkin or bath towel to wipe both areas.


  • The jock itch infection can also extend to the foot, known as athlete’s foot.
  • The fungus can transmit from the groin to the foot through the undergarment or while utilizing the same bath towel for drying.


  • Individuals can get a nail infection by scratching the affected area and not correctly washing their hands 10 FAQs| Researched based study from ScienceDirect.

Q. How serious is jock itch?

With on-time and correct treatment, Jock itch usually resolves within 21 to 28 days. But if left untreated, it might continue for several months. However, fungal infection in the toenails might recur several times and needs time to go off completely. Although Jock itch complications are rare, some individuals might encounter the following things –

  • Spreading of infection from groin to other body parts viz; thigh, genitals, and buttock
  • Scratching of the affected area might sometimes cause cellulitis over the fungal infection.
  • Some people might also encounter momentary alterations in skin color 11 FAQs| Researched based study from National Institutes of Health .

Q. Is it OK to scratch jock itch?

  • No, individuals must avoid scratching the jock itch as scratching might transmit the infection to other body areas, like hands and nails.
  • Sometimes scratching the affected area causes another infection called cellulitis (bacterial infection) above the fungal infection, which makes things worst and more difficult to treat Jock itch 3 FAQs| Researched based study from National Institutes of Health .


Jock Itch: Follow Appropriate Measures

  • Jock itch is a fungal skin infection with a moldy odor due to rapid excessive fungal multiplication in the affected body part.
  • Individuals must keep the affected part hygienic and dry and use over-the-counter ointments to decrease the odor or until the infection subsides.
  • However, if the condition does not improve with topical ointments or recurs, visit a dermatologist immediately for the appropriate treatment to avert unwanted complexities.
Disclaimer: The user acknowledges that this article's information is being offered for informational purposes only. Every attempt has been made to guarantee that the article is informational and correct. If they have any doubts or questions about their health, we firmly advise our readers to visit a doctor or other healthcare professional.

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