Pilonidal Cyst

gabriel akopian md hemorrhoids colorectal doctor specialist pilonidal cystA Pilonidal Cyst is a fluid-filled abnormal pocket in the skin that usually forms at the bottom of the tailbone at the top of the cleft. It usually consists of hair, debris and dirt.

It is formed when groups of hair and debris get trapped in the pores of the skin. Pilonidal cyst may get infected and ooze out pus.

What causes Pilonidal Cyst?

Pilonidal means “nest of hair”. It is generally believed that ingrown hair causes this condition. It occurs when hair grows inward and punctures the skin and becomes embedded. Friction and pressure lead to Pilonidal Cyst. Tight clothing, bicycling and sitting for long hours that cause the hair to go down into the skin are major causes of this condition.

gabriel akopian md hemorrhoids colorectal doctor specialist pilonidal cystMales are more prone to get this. Moreover, it occurs in young men who are going through hormonal changes. People who lead a sedentary lifestyle and sit for long hours are also at higher risk at developing Pilonidal Cyst. Obesity, excess body hair and even stiff body hair may also cause this disease.

There is another theory that traces back the causes of Pilonidal Cyst to trauma of that region. It had been reported that during World War II around 80,000 soldiers reported to have been suffering from Pilonidal Cyst and people thought that the condition arose due to the irritation caused by sitting for long hours in jumpy jeeps. Therefore, the condition was also known as “Jeep disease”.

A rare type of Pilonidal Cyst occurs in other parts of the body. People belonging to certain professions like barbers and dog groomers often get Pilonidal Cyst between the fingers of their hands.

Symptoms of Pilonidal Cyst

There are many symptoms of Pilonidal Cyst. The most common symptoms are pain, swelling, and redness at the bottom of the spine. If the cyst gets infected it may cause severe pain along with drainage of pus that smells foul. The patient may get fever also.

Treatment Options

In the initial stage, Pilonidal Cyst can be treated by medication. Doctors prescribe broad spectrum antibiotics to treat Pilonidal Cyst that is not associated with severe pain or inflammation.

The antibiotic would only control pain and discomfort. For permanent relief, you have to go for a surgical procedure that would permanently heal the cyst.

In most cases, the doctor performs the procedure in his office by first applying local anesthesia and making a small incision to remove the hair, blood and pus. The doctor may choose to keep the wound open but dress it with gauze so that it heals from inside out. The cyst may take longer time to heal but the chance of recurrence is lower.

Some doctors prefer to stitch the wound and thus it heals quickly. There is no need to change the gauze. Under this method the recurrence rate is high.

In case there is a recurrence, you have to go for a more extensive surgical procedure.

Marsupialization is another technique of treating Pilonidal Cyst. In this procedure, after the incision is made and the hair and pus are removed, the edges of the fibrous tract are sewed to the wound edges to make a pouch. Although this method requires around 6 weeks healing but the size of the wound is minimal and there is no need to pack gauze in it.

It is better to get Pilonidal Cyst diagnosed in the initial stage and treated accordingly to avoid future complications. You should see a specialist if you find any boiling at the crack of the buttock or experience pain or discomfort. Do not medicines on your own but let the doctor decide the future course of action.

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