What is groin rash?

Rashes are changes in the skin that can involve bumps, color changes, itching, discomfort, and skin sores. Rashes that affect the groin may be limited to the groin or may involve other areas of the body. So-called childhood diseases, such as chickenpox, fifth disease, measles, roseola, and rubella, can cause generalized rashes that may spread to the groin, as can meningococcal meningitis (infection or inflammation of the sac around the brain and spinal cord). Allergic reactions and contact dermatitis are also causes of local or generalized rashes that can involve the groin.

Skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and seborrheic dermatitis can cause red or silver scaly rashes in a variety of areas including the groin. The groin area is a warm, shaded, moist area – a perfect environment for germs to grow. Fungal skin infections can thrive there.

Red or brownish scaly rashes affecting the groin can also occur with infections such as tinea cruris (jock itch) and erythrasma (bacterial infection found in skin folds), or with inflammatory conditions such as intertrigo (inflammation of skin at skin folds). Tinea cruris, a fungal infection sometimes referred to as “jock itch” or “ringworm of the groin,” can also cause a groin rash. People who have tinea cruris may also have athlete’s foot or ringworm.

Other inflammatory conditions that can cause groin rashes include Kawasaki disease (condition that causes blood vessel inflammation in children) and erythema nodosum (inflammatory disease causing red nodules on the skin).

Some infections that can be transmitted sexually result in groin rashes, including HIV, syphilis, scabies, Phthirus pubis (pubic lice), and molluscum contagiosum (viral infection). Rashes due to HIV infection and syphilis tend to be reddish or brownish bumps and may involve pustules (pus-filled blisters). Rashes related to scabies and pubic lice tend to form scabs from scratching. The rash associated with molluscum contagiosum consists of small, painless, flesh-colored bumps that often have a central plug of white, waxy material. When these causes of groin rash are identified, sexual partners should be notified and treated as appropriate. Shingles, which is a reactivation of the virus that causes chicken pox, involves a painful blistering rash that generally occurs on one side of the body in a limited area. It can occur in the groin.

There are several compelling reasons to seek prompt medical care if you develop a groin rash, including the possibility of spreading the rash to others or developing significant complications. Prompt medical care is also advisable to ensure that the underlying condition can be evaluated and treated. In some cases groin rashes can be caused by conditions that can have serious or even life-threatening complications. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you have a high fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit) or change in level of consciousness or alertness along with a groin rash.


What other symptoms might occur with a groin rash?

Groin rashes may accompany other symptoms, which will vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Symptoms that frequently affect the skin of the groin may also involve other body systems.

Infection symptoms that may occur along with a groin rash

Groin rashes may accompany other symptoms of infection including:


What causes groin rashes?

You may develop a groin rash as a result of a variety of infections, inflammatory conditions, allergic reactions, contact dermatitis, and skin conditions.

Infectious causes of groin rashes

Groin rashes may be caused by infections or infestations including:

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 23, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Infections and Contagious Diseases

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