What is pilonidal disease and what to do if you have it

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A?pilonidal cyst is a painful cyst that’s almost always found near the tailbone, or the top of the buttocks. The cyst is caused by skin that’s gotten hair or debris stuck inside, and leads to an infection. The condition is often very painful, and often occurs in people who sit for long periods of time, or people who do activities that require a lot of sitting and stress on the butt – like biking.

It’s important to understand how these cysts form, the symptoms, and what you can do to to treat them. If you recognize any of these symptoms and you are in a lot of pain, you should make an appointment with your doctor so they can determine whether or not the cyst needs to be treated.


Doctors have three theories as to how pilonidal cysts form:

1. A hair follicle becomes stretched, or irritated during exercise that puts pressure on the but area – like horseback riding, or cycling.

2. ?Loose hair might get trapped in the crease of the buttocks, and poke the skin causing an opening that leads to an infection.

3. The cyst could be congenital, or present at birth.


If the cyst becomes infected, the Mayo Clinic explains that it will become swollen, and that you should look for:

– Reddening of the skin

– Pus, or blood leaking from an opening in the skin

– A bad smell coming from the pus

– Pain


When the cyst has gotten infected or is a problem, your WebMD says the doctor will probably need to drain the cyst. This can be done right in the office, and you’ll also probably be prescribed antibiotics if the infection was severe.

In the worst cases of?pilonidal cysts you’ll need surgery to remove it. This might be done as an outpatient procedure, or in the hospital – and this procedure usually takes more than a month to heal.

If you have a cyst that is not causing symptoms, or if you’ve had a procedure to get rid of it, it’s important to keep the area dry and clean and not sit on hard surfaces for long periods.

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