Welcome to the OutUK series looking at gay men and their health brought to you in association with the NHS website.
Each week we'll tackle a different topic in our A to Z of Gay Health. We'll have features and advice on everything from relationships, sexual health, mental and physical conditions and how to stay fit. You can follow any of links provided below for more information direct from the NHS website, or view any of our Previous A to Z Features.
You should also know that OutUK has produced a special report about: Coronavirus Covid-19.

[Previous Feature]

This Week - J : Jock Itch

Itchy skin is not usually a sign of anything serious. You can often treat it yourself and it will usually go away after a few weeks.

How to treat itchy skin yourself

Sometimes itching is caused by dry, cracked or irritated skin. There are simple things you can do to help ease the itching.

These things may also help stop itchy skin returning and avoid skin damage from scratching.

Do

  • pat or tap your skin instead of scratching it

  • hold something cool on your skin, like a damp towel

  • have cool or lukewarm baths or showers

  • use an unperfumed moisturiser or emollient regularly

  • keep your nails clean, short and smooth

  • wear loose cotton or silk clothing

  • use a laundry liquid or powder that's for sensitive skin

Don't

  • do not wear tight clothes, or clothes made from wool or synthetic fabrics

  • do not spend a long time in the bath or shower

  • do not use perfumed soaps, deodorants or moisturisers

A pharmacist can help with itchy skin

A pharmacist can tell you what the best products are for itchy skin. For example, medicines called antihistamines may help with some causes of itching.

They can also recommend lotions and creams, such as menthol creams that help by cooling the skin.

Tell the pharmacist where your skin is itchy and if you have any other symptoms.

A pharmacist might also be able to tell you:

  • what you can do to treat it yourself
  • if you need to see a GP

Find a pharmacy

See a GP if itchy skin:

  • is affecting your daily life
  • does not get better with self care or keeps coming back
  • is caused by a new rash, lump or swelling that you're worried about
  • is all over your body
  • is severe
  • happens during pregnancy

Treatment from a GP

A GP might prescribe creams, lotions or tablets, depending on what's causing the itching.

They will look at your skin and ask about your symptoms.

They might arrange a blood test, which may help find the cause of your itchy skin.

The GP may also refer you to see a doctor who specialises in skin problems (dermatologist).

Causes of itchy skin

Itchy skin has many possible causes. If you have other symptoms (such as a rash or swelling) this might help to find the cause.

But do not try to diagnose yourself. See a GP if you're worried.

Itchy skin is common during pregnancy.

It's usually nothing to worry about but it's important to check with a GP or midwife because it can sometimes be caused by a liver condition called intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP).

Itchy skin is also common after the menopause. It usually gets better over time.

Less commonly, itchy skin can be a sign of a more serious condition, such as thyroid, liver or kidney problems.



[Previous Feature]
We'll have more information and advice next week on another topic in our A to Z of Gay Health. We have covered many subjects in this series and you can catch up with all of our Previous A to Z Features.

If you want to find out more about this week's subject you can visit the Original article on the NHS website. If you are worried by any aspect of your health make sure you go and see your doctor or book an appointment at your local clinic.

Photos: LightFieldStudios and one of VladOrlov, Stockcube, darak77, ajr_images or rawpixel.com.

 

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