Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

Causes of groin irritation and infection in men include sweat build-up and poor hygiene.

Causes of groin irritation and infection in men include sweat build-up and poor hygiene.
beginning of content

Male groin - irritation and infection

3-minute read

Irritation in the groin is painful and annoying. It can be caused by many different things, including:

  • getting sand in your swimming costumes or board shorts
  • a build-up of sweat after exercise
  • excess rubbing to the area such as through exercise or sex
  • lubricants and spermicides
  • latex products, such as condoms
  • soaps, shower gels, shampoos, deodorants or hygiene sprays
  • disinfectants, antiseptics and ointments
  • washing powders or liquids
  • new underwear, especially if it is not made from cotton

Irritation can also be due to:

You can ease some of the irritation by using a cool compress or an ice pack — ice packs should never be placed directly on the skin, but should be wrapped in something soft like a tea towel.

If you have broken skin or sores, don’t put on any cream or lotion until you have checked with your doctor.

If you are in pain, get advice on medicines you can take. A pharmacist can advise on soothing creams and lotions.

Don’t use any cream or lotion you already have at home until you have discussed your problem with a doctor or pharmacist.

Groin infections

Groin infections can be caused by a fungus (known as tinea or ‘jock itch’), by sexually transmitted infections like herpes, or by other types of infections.

Some skin infections will clear up by themselves if you keep the area clean and dry. But if you have a groin infection that you have not had before, it would be wise to see a doctor or go to a sexual health clinic.

A mild case should clear up quickly with an over the counter ointment from a pharmacy. However, if it is hard to treat you may need a prescription medicine.

If you have a sexually transmitted infection, you may need antibiotics or other medicine. If you have been told you have a sexually transmitted infection, tell any sexual partner so they can also be examined and treated as necessary. Avoid sexual contact until your doctor says it is OK.

Other causes of groin irritation such as pubic and body lice or scabies need to be treated with medicated creams or washes. Talk to your doctor.

If the cause of the irritation is an allergy, antihistamines can help but you will need to try to avoid the trigger in future. You can ease some of the discomfort of an infection by keeping the area clean and dry.

Clean the area in lukewarm water at least twice a day. Dry carefully and then apply any cream you have been given by your doctor or pharmacist according to their instructions. Wash your hands before and after cleaning.

Do not share towels.

If you are in pain, get advice on pain relief medicines you can take.

Not sure what to do next?

If you are still concerned about your groin irritation and infection, check your symptoms with healthdirect’s online Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.

The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether it’s self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero (000).

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: November 2019

Back To Top

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Tinea | National Centre for Farmer Health

Tinea is a highly-contagious fungal skin infection that affects the feet (athletes foot), groin (jock itch), scalp, skin underneath the breasts, fingernails and toenails. Read more...

Read more on National Centre for Farmer Health website

Fungal skin infections -

Areas commonly affected by fungal infections include the skin, scalp, feet, fingernails and toenails, mouth and vagina. Find out what products are available for fungal skin infections.

Read more on myDr website

Tinea - Better Health Channel

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Fungal Tests - Pathology Tests Explained

Fungal tests are used to help detect and diagnose a fungal infection and guide treatment

Read more on Pathology Tests Explained website

Ringworm treatment & symptoms: children | Raising Children Network

Ringworm is a common fungal skin infection, which children might get from pets, soil or other people. Read about ringworm symptoms and ringworm treatment.

Read more on website

ACD A-Z of Skin - Tinea capitis

Tinea capitis is a fungal infection of the scalp and hair. It most commonly affects children between three to seven years of age but adults can also be affected.

Read more on Australasian College of Dermatologists website

ACD A-Z of Skin - Athlete's Foot

A-Z OF SKIN Athlete’s Foot BACK TO A-Z SEARCH What is it? Also known as Tinea Pedis Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that involves the skin on the feet, usually between the toes

Read more on Australasian College of Dermatologists website

ACD A-Z of Skin - Tinea Onychomycosis

The term tinea generally refers to fungal infection of the skin and its appendages. Onychomycosis is a fungal infection of the nails.

Read more on Australasian College of Dermatologists website

Athlete's Foot -

Athlete's foot is caused by fungal growth due to lack of fresh air and locked in moisture. It is easily treatable with cream.

Read more on myDr website

Australian health system: how it works -

Australia's healthcare system - find out how it works, which health services are funded by the governments and which services are privately funded.

Read more on myDr website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Victorian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo