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Scratch and groan

Dr Manish K Shah on keeping groin rashes at bay.

health-and-fitness Updated: Mar 09, 2009 18:25 IST
Hindustan Times

Itching can be divine. As the saying goes, “No amount of treasure and no amount of riches can match the pleasure of scratching where it itches!” But itching in the groins and private parts can be embarrassing, especially in the presence of others.

The most common reason for groin itch is fungal infection. Fungus thrives in conditions of heat and humidity, which are abundant in Mumbai. Tight clothes and under garments definitely predispose.

After bathing, especially when one has to rush to work, the groin area is not sufficiently dried. That is bad. Now to some gory details that are nonetheless important. We Indians prefer to clean up with water rather than tissue paper after defecation. But most toilets do not have facilities to dry the area right after.

Take note
Here are some tips to prevent groin fungus this summer:

Wear loose cotton clothes. Chinos that are regularly washed and ironed are preferable to jeans that are worn for days on end.

Undergarments should be dry and not too tight. Often it so happens that you have worn dry underwear but within no time it becomes damp with sweat. I ask my patients to carry a dry pair to work and change by mid-day if they have provisions to do so. This is better than wearing damp underclothes the whole day.

Make sure to remove underwear at night. Clothes that allow air to circulate should be worn at home. Men should change into lungis, cotton pyjamas or loose cotton Bermudas.

After bathing or ablution, the area that remains moist and is most difficult to dry is the groin region. A great trick is take a hairdryer, adjust the setting to cool and blow dry the groin and thighs. Now we see high-end bathrooms fitted with sleek and expensive gizmos. I wish a smart architect introduces a wall mounted hairdryer next to the jets people use to clean up after passing stool.

Sprinkle antifungal dusting powder or even talcum two to three times a day, especially after bathing and drying.

Make sure the handy cream you routinely apply to groins to soothe the itch does not contain corticosteroids.

Avoid indiscriminate use of antiseptics to groins, especially without diluting them.

In spite of these precautions, if you develop a rash in the groin region that is persistent, get it checked by your doctor or dermatologist. If it is a fungal infection, there are medications for local application or for oral consumption that can rapidly eradicate the fungus.