The best overall way to enjoy your crotch is to not be able to feel it when you walk. Help me return to that, please?
September 18, 2009 6:59 AM   Subscribe

OMIGOD the chafing. Can you help me make it stop? Please? (Details might be unpleasant.)

Hi. I'm 29, normal weight, normal to slightly above normal activity level (soccer 2-3 nights a week currently.) That said, I am a little overweight, but not in my thighs. I am also hairy. Not wildebeest hairy, but my happy trail circumnavigates my torso (up my front, down my back, through my legs. Not around my waist, that's just weird.)

My problem here is chafing. Every couple months or so, I chafe pretty badly in that zone directly beneath my scrotum and a the tops of the perianal area. In the past I switched from boxers to boxer-briefs, and that seemed to help, right up until it makes it worse. Sometime, a couple years ago, I elected to eliminate the hair in that area. I messed up and didn't just do the area between the scrotum and anus, but I also did the tops of my thighs. Really bad idea. Didn't realize how much that hair prevents chafing. HOWEVER, it's long since grown back, but I STILL get the issue sometimes.

Couple weeks ago it started. It usually starts on a nice hot day where I walk a lot. By the end of the day I'm trying to walk so that my thighs don't pivot against each other. So the next day I gold-bonded up the junk and went about my business. It got worse. So that night I wore nice loose shorts and put some cortizone on the irritation and went to sleep. End of the next day it was WORSE.

So in a fit of itch and frustration and pain, I decided to eliminate the hair from the region again, because it felt like it was stabbing me. I know, bright, right? So I naired it, which is what I had done before, being super careful to only get the scrotum/parts where thighs touch scrotum and taint area, NOT the thighs. I only let it sit for 3 minutes, which worked fine before. Apparently my nair was...uhm...expired...and the skin was already irritated, and let me tell you that it fucked me up with a QUICKNESS.

I then washed it off and applied aloe. Bad, bad, bad, bad idea. I've had icy hot on my junk before, this was 1 million times worse. This was me jumping up and down in front of the sink naked splashing water on my crotch yelping. The bulk of that irritation cleared up in 48 hours, I'm back to pre-nair irritation levels now.

SO. Gold bond in the daytimes, loose shorts at night, cortizone some nights and aloe others. It's like 80% healed.

The problem is I can't make it FINISH healing. I wake up in the middle of the night with a feverish itch and usually wind up probably causing more harm than good by scratching it roughly. As the day goes on, I go more and more frequently into the bathroom to scratch.

SO---yes, I considered that it wasn't chafing. I considered that it was crabs or some other fun STD---but it's not. Doesn't uhm...match. It's just massive irritation.
I also considered that it might be jock itch, and I HAVE had that before, but this is soooo low and it doesn't behave like jock-itch/athletes foot. It's seriously just where my thighs touch and where my scrotum touches my thighs. My penile area is clean and clear.

So tell me, what is your most amazing horrible irritation fixer? So far I've tried generic gold bond (wal-mart brand, which I have considered might be part of the problem), vitamin E hand lotion, 100% aloe gel, maximum strength hydrocortizone cream. Please, for the love of god, someone have a remedy. An awesome steroidal cream? A secret remedy?

The only way I can make it absolutely stop itching is to wear gold bond, briefs, my underarmour spandex soccer shorts, and then shorts. No itch, but holy buhjeesus is that uncomfortable.

Also looking for recommendations to keep it gone. I never, EVER want to go through this again.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (29 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
You might be allergic to your laundry detergent. Can you switch to one that says something like "free and clear" or "unscented" on the bottle?
posted by oinopaponton at 7:04 AM on September 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

Sitz baths, with are soaking the affected areas for 10 minutes in a tub, as hot as you can stand it, 3 or 4 times a day, less often as symptoms improve. I've seen this recommended for cyclists who suffer from saddle sores. The idea is that heat increases blood flow which promotes healing.
posted by hydrophonic at 7:05 AM on September 18, 2009

A pinch or two of corn starch will give instant relief. Reapply a few times a day. Cheap like borscht, and odourless. It also absorbs moisture.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 7:14 AM on September 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

A summer pregnancy made me intimately acquainted with the horrors of chub rub. The easy fix: silicone lube, such as Pjur Original Bodyglide. (There is an anti-chafing product you can buy in the drugstore, in the women's hygiene section, but it's far inferior to just plain silicone lube. I've done extensive testing on myself. ) Put some on affected area after showering and drying off, and no chafing all day. As for how to heal an already chafed area, leave it alone and let it air out until it scabs and heals. If it doesn't, I'd get checked out by a doctor, just to make sure it's not something else.
posted by agent99 at 7:18 AM on September 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

You might like Monistat Soothing Care Chafing Relief Powder-Gel. It's in the girly-products aisle (near yeast-infection cream and things like that), but if you can get past that, I think it would address exactly the problem you're talking about. I use it on my inner thighs if for some reason I'm suffering from what Laurie Notaro refers to as "Chub Rub" (i.e., skin irritation from rubbing together while walking). It can be used either as relief or preventative.
posted by dlugoczaj at 7:19 AM on September 18, 2009 [3 favorites]

Use a hairdryer set to "low" to dry the area off when you get out of the shower or finish a sitz bath. You might also try poking a Vitamin E capsule with a pin and applying the oil directly, rather than using hand lotion (which is frequently scented and therefore, irritating.)

Feel better soon.
posted by corey flood at 7:22 AM on September 18, 2009

This Body Glide (not a "personal lubricant") is made specifically for this problem. I can assure you that it works.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 7:22 AM on September 18, 2009

Were you using Gold Bond out of the yellow or the green container? The green is far more effective for what you're describing according to a male friend. Second the cornstarch. Also, milk of magnesia (I kid you not. And since it's a liquid you can blot it on, and the momentary coolness feels good, lasts as long as cornstarch or longer).

If you think removing the hair permanently would help, think about laser hair removal.

In addition to any of the suggestions you try above, boxer briefs. Try the silk or athletic ones, long cut.
posted by variella at 7:25 AM on September 18, 2009

Compression shorts.
posted by Benjy at 7:33 AM on September 18, 2009

If you didn't have one before you might have one now: a fungal/yeast infection.
Try an anti-fungal powder such as clotrimazole or miconazole. Creams are also available, but with your problem a powder might be best.
posted by SLC Mom at 7:47 AM on September 18, 2009

I'm not chubby at all, but my internal thermostat runs very warm. If I'm running around non-stop and sweating, I can get chaffing, especially when its dry. Starching shorts works if it is really really bad and painful, but does not get the skin back to normal - it just prevents it from hurting.

To stop it from happening I swapped to boxer briefs, and started showering twice a day when it really flared up. If I couldn't get a shower in - baby wipes worked wonders as a preventative/delay tactic. I'd slap a little hyrdrocortizone on the redness if it really got rough.
posted by Nanukthedog at 7:54 AM on September 18, 2009

Dude, this is what dermatologists are for. Seriously.
posted by amtho at 7:55 AM on September 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

I think dlugoczaj is right; sounds like you have a yeast thing going on down there. An overproduction of yeast can be caused by many things; in your case, the moisture from your sweat combined with your tight athletic clothing is probably the major culprit.

Try wearing more breathable fabrics when you do sports. I know the new high tech synthetics are supposed to "wick" away moisture, but some people find that it actually makes things worse. Wear plain old cotton clothing and take everything off as soon as you're done exercising. Don't sit around in your damp clothing. Take a shower ASAP.

Don't use Nair. That, in itself, can cause massive skin irritation, especially if you're already sensitive in that particular area.

Treat your symptoms now with Chafing Relief dlugoczaj recommended.

Wash your workout clothes and underwear (and towels) and dry them in the warmest temperature they can stand without being ruined, then iron everything you wore with the warmest temp they can stand. Pay special attention to the parts that rub against your body.

Watch your diet. Try to eat healthily and cut back on processed foods, sugars, cheeses and anything else that can cause an overproduction of yeast.

Good luck. Hope you're feeling better soon.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 8:06 AM on September 18, 2009

Under-armor or equivalent boxer briefs. Lots of baby powder/corn starch and when you know its going to be bad, body glide.
posted by iamabot at 8:56 AM on September 18, 2009

several people have had good suggestions here; personally I have not found that the corn-based stuff to do much for me for more than about an hour. As SLC mom mentioned, I recommed that Lotrimin powder in the plastic bottle - liberally. Not just a few dots, man, but enough so that area is going to look pretty ghostly white (if it doesn't already) for at least half of your day. Do it after you get out of the shower, every time, and before you go to bed. I've tried the spray and the cream, but a bunch of the powder works the best and irritates the least.

It is pretty damn expensive, but it is the only thing I've found that consistently does the trick. You might have to keep using it for a while (or even regularly, to 'maintain', if this is not something your body is only doing temporarily).
posted by bitterkitten at 9:23 AM on September 18, 2009

Sounds like a yeast infection - aren't they fun!? Go to your doctor and have them verify if it is a yeast infection (which can be ANYWHERE you have skin, awesome right).

Give Lotrimin cream a try. You can purchase it over the counter at the drug store/pharmacy for about $8.00 or $9.00 dollars. You have to use it for at least 2 to 3 weeks to kill all the fu*king yeast spores. Even if it looks like it's clearing up, keep using the cream until it's gone.

Also, keep the affected area unclothed as much as possible. Walking around in hot/warm weather is also not helping at all, can you curtail outside activities during the hottest part of the day? At least for a few weeks.
posted by lootie777 at 10:26 AM on September 18, 2009

And! Wash all your clothes in hot water and use about 1/2 a cup of vinegar (for a full load of laundry). If this is a yeast infection, it's most likely in your clothing and if you wear clothes between washings more than once, your just perpetuating the problem.

You'll have to especially be careful of underwear, but also your shorts/jeans/slacks. Wash them more often.
posted by lootie777 at 10:29 AM on September 18, 2009

To prevent future problems, I'd second compression shorts. They're wicking and keep the skin from rubbing against anything. Change and wash frequently.
posted by Opposite George at 10:38 AM on September 18, 2009

Compression shorts were the only thing that worked for me...
posted by mr_roboto at 10:50 AM on September 18, 2009

Lotrimin makes a spray-on powder in an aerosol can that you put on twice a day. It goes on easy and lasts a while, so you stay comfortable. Don't know about long-term use of it, though, since it is medicated.
posted by bashos_frog at 11:34 AM on September 18, 2009

As someone intimately familiar with chub-rub related chafing, its pretty embarrassing, but the best remedy I've ever found is Desitin. You can get it at the drugstore or supermarket, and its seriously immediate blessed relief.

As for prevention, I'd go with the Body Glide suggested by MC Lo-Carb, over the Monistat Gel, which, imho, is fine but wears off much more quickly. Maybe paired with the compression shorts suggested by others, but I have no experience in that arena.
posted by wuzandfuzz at 11:38 AM on September 18, 2009

Try some of the blue-colored aloe meant for sunburns - the stuff with the lidocane in it. You get aloe + topical anesthetic in one dose.
posted by caution live frogs at 12:05 PM on September 18, 2009

Runners often use vaseline.

Yeah, if it gets worse or doesn't heal go to a doctor. I can't imagine the horrors of a staph infection near your junk...oh god
posted by kathrineg at 12:08 PM on September 18, 2009

Oh yeah and that body glide stuff is AWESOME.
posted by kathrineg at 12:09 PM on September 18, 2009

You should go to a doc to see if you have a yeast infection or fungal infection in your skin. I once had a fungal infection on my earlobe for about 2 years that drove me nuts and all it took to clear it up was some Rx steroid cream.

If you need to moisturize the area, almond oil is the best most gentle moisturizer i have found. You can by it in the beauty section of fancy hippyish supermarkets like Wegmans and Whole Foods.

Try plain talcum powder (unscented baby powder) to absorb sweat. Don't use cornstarch. Cornstarch is a thickener (its used to thicken soups) so if mixed with sweat it makes a thick gooey mess and you need to peel yourself away from yourself in certain areas. Its gross.

Use Desitin (or diaper rash cream) until you can get to the doctor.
posted by WeekendJen at 3:11 PM on September 18, 2009

I second (third? fourth?) the suggestion to try anti-fungal powders. Look in the foot care part of the drug store. Look for the stuff they sell for athlete's foot and jock itch.
I get some weird yeast stuff on my skin, and this helps knock it back.

I recently moved to a part of the country that has nasty humid spells that exacerbated the problem. I found that if I gave the affected areas a quick wipe with isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol every day helped keep the skin yeast under control too.

Generally my routine is now: shower, dry off, wipe with rubbing alcohol, apply talcum powder liberally. If I start to feel like my skin is getting irritated, I follow that with a little bit of medicated powder. Works well and minimizes use of the powder, which is pretty expensive.

Good luck! I hope you find relief soon.
posted by Sublimity at 6:14 PM on September 18, 2009

There's a product called Monkey Butt that a lot of motorcyclists swear by. I haven't tried this personally so YMMV. Last place I saw some was at a Tractor Supply store.

Also, wear NO cotton underwear, and try a few underwear-only loads using 'free and clear' detergent (unscented, no dyes), and no fabric softener.
posted by 2xplor at 9:53 PM on September 18, 2009

Body Glide is great for prevention. For treatment, I love Desitin. Yes it's diaper rash cream, but it works a treat.

I always wanted to say "works a treat."
posted by IndigoRain at 10:17 PM on September 18, 2009

Go to the dermatologist. He/she can prescribe any one of these lotions/potions in a higher concentration thereby making you heal faster. OTC stuff is not as strong as what the doctor can prescribe even if the active ingredient is the same.
posted by vincele at 11:29 AM on September 19, 2009

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