Jock itch(JI) is a pain in the penis for many men, whether they are jocks or couch potatoes or something in between. But this common penis health condition does seem to be more likely to occur in men who are more physically involved, such as jocks – and including those who are active in the sport (and pastime) of cycling. Let’s take a look at this common (and often vexing) cycling issue.
Basics: Jock itch (JI)
For those who go in for such things, the medical name for JI is tinea cruris. (It is related to – think first cousin – athlete’s foot, also known as tinea pedia.) Every guy has reason at some time to scratch their penis and balls, but when they are visited with jock itch, the need to scratch can be increased dramatically – and embarrassingly.
So what is JI exactly? Well, it’s a fungal infection, just as athlete’s foot is a fungus. JI occurs on the penis, balls, buttocks, thighs, and/or crotch. It presents as a red, ring-like or circular rash, which may occur singly or in groups. The border of the rash tends to be raised, and the skin may be flaky or scaly.
As penis health issues go, JI is not serious, but it can be inconvenient. Some people find the rash can burn or sting a bit, but most cases are marked by the severe itch that gives the condition its nickname.
JI is most often found in a warm, moist environment, which accurately describes the crotch. This kind of environment is heaven for a fungus, and it’s the kind of environment that is very common among athletes – including cyclists. When a cyclist has JI, it can get in the way by creating a distraction, a need to scratch, that keeps the cyclist from keeping focused on his goals.
Biking shorts can contribute to the issue. The shorts tend to provide compression, which is helpful for cycling but which also increases heat and therefore sweat. Finding shorts made of a material that allows the skin to “breathe” can help decrease the chance of developing JI. It’s also extremely important that bikers wash their shorts thoroughly and regularly; allowing the sweat to accumulate can only add to the possibility that the fungus will find it a nice place to put down roots and grow.
If a guy has athlete’s foot, he needs to take special care to prevent JI. The fungus that causes the former also causes the latter. So, don’t go to the shower, wipe down the feet with a towel and then use the same towel to dry off the crotch; using a separate towel for the feet is highly recommended. By the same token, put on socks before putting on bike shorts or underwear, so that the athlete’s foot fungus doesn’t transfer.
It’s also important not to share towels (or certainly underwear, shorts or socks) with another cyclist; if he has JI, sharing towels or clothing increases the chance of it spreading. And if at the gym, wear flip-flops or other appropriate footwear to the shower and sauna. (Needless to say, those who sauna in the nude should put a clean towel down before sitting in the sauna.)
Cycling enthusiasts who do come down with JI have several over-the-counter options to use. A persistent case may require a visit to the doctor.
JI, whether in a cycling enthusiast or a desk jockey, may benefit from the daily use of a superior penis health oil (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil , which is clinically proven mild and safe for skin). JI often feels better when the skin is moisturized, so select an oil with a combination of hydrating agents, like vitamin E and shea butter. The oil ideally should also contain vitamin B5, aka pantothenic acid, a vital nutrient that is required for cell metabolism and the maintenance of healthy tissue.