In the big scheme of things, an itch barely registers on our annoyance scales. Then again, the location and cause of that itch directly impact just how annoying it is. For example, a hungry mosquito on your forearm at dusk? Slap! Life goes blissfully on. But a persistent, relentless, ready-to-tear-your-skin-off itch in your nether regions? Well, that’s a whole other ball game (so to speak).
Location, Location, Location
Yes, itchiness “below the equator” can be extremely annoying. Unfortunately, that area’s sort of like a perfect storm for all kinds of itch-causing culprits: tight clothes, lots of hair, skin rubbing up against each other. If bacteria could design its perfect breeding ground, the result would look remarkably like your crotch. And public enemy #1 in this breeding ground is sweat.
Sweating the Details
When it comes to sweating, it’s a numbers game. The average person has about 2 million sweat glands; some people have twice that much. And, as it turns out, there’s more than one type of sweat.
Eccrine sweat glands are pretty much all over your body, and that sweat’s mostly made up of water and salt. Your basic funk, if you will. And then there are Apocrine sweat glands, which are located around your armpits and scalp. Where there are lots of hair follicles. Now, what other areas of the human body have a large concentration of hair? Hmmm. Correct, your groin!
However, unlike Eccrine sweat, Apocrine sweat is thick, yellow, and contains much higher concentrations of fatty acids and proteins. And bacteria adore fatty acids and protein. As the bacteria gorge on those acids and proteins, they leave behind a little gift of appreciation for you: that terrible smell we know all too well.
Everybody Does More Than Just Poop
There’s no elegant way to state this, so I’ll say it: you stink! But, so do I—we all do! Sure, some of us smell worse than others (we’re looking at you, members of the 4 million sweat glands club) but, rest assured nobody ends up smelling like roses. And along with that stink, comes the urge to scratch your skin to the point of bleeding. So, what exactly are some of the reasons that cause both men and women to suffer from excessive itchiness south of the border occasionally?
Common in athletes, this treatable skin condition is caused by a fungus that thrives on (you guessed it) warm, moist skin.
Find relief by: Keeping the area dry and applying a non-prescription lotion explicitly designed for Jock Itch.
A majority of women will develop a yeast infection in their lifetime. Wearing tight-fitting, synthetic clothing is a common cause, but there are others as well.
Find relief by: Visiting your gynecologist to confirm that it is indeed a yeast infection. Once confirmed, your doctor can recommend one of several medications to treat it.
This affects men, women, and children. Women seem especially vulnerable because of products such as vaginal douches, feminine hygiene sprays, and scented panty liners.
Find relief by: Avoiding using what you think is causing the reaction. If you can’t figure that out, a visit to an allergist might be in order.
Most people who develop psoriasis on their genitals probably have psoriasis somewhere else on their body. It can appear on the penis, scrotum, vulva, anus, buttocks, and thighs.
Find relief by: Finding the psoriasis treatment best suited for the troubled area. A dermatologist will be able to provide proper guidance.
Also known as crabs, the telltale sign of pubic lice is tiny white or yellowish specks near the roots of your pubic hair. Those are the lice eggs.
Find relief by: Trying shampoo or lotion containing either permethrin or pyrethrins with piperonyl butoxide, which will kill the lice.
A common symptom of the human papillomavirus (HPV), genital warts, is typically soft to the touch and skin-colored. But other than itching, warts don’t feel like much of anything.
Find relief by: Talking to your doctor about medications that contain Imiquimod, Podofilox, or Sinecatechins, which will stimulate your body’s immune system to clear up warts.
Cutting hairs in the pubic region may irritate, especially if a person shaves fast or uses a dull razor. Guys? You might find this piece on manscaping helpful if indeed you’re into that sort of thing.
Find relief by: Shaving with warm water, use a new sharp razor, trim longer hairs before shaving, use hypoallergenic shaving cream or gels, and shave slowly with the grain.
Underwear made of synthetic fabrics don’t do a great job of allowing your skin to breathe, which allows moisture and sweat to accumulate, and you know where that’s going to lead.
Find relief by: Choosing underwear made of natural, breathable fabrics that absorb moisture and allow for much-needed ventilation.
A Note from GR8NESS
An itchy crotch doesn’t rise to the importance of such lofty matters as global warming. Unless, of course, you’re the one suffering from an itchy crotch, in which case it quickly becomes the bane of your existence. But, simply by following the above tips, you’ll be well on your way to keeping your groin area clean, comfy, and dry. And, as we all know, happy crotch, happy life.