What is pilonidal disease?
Pilonidal (say "py-luh-NY-dul") disease is a chronic skin infection in the crease between the buttocks. People with this condition have one or more cysts in that area that tend to get inflamed and infected. A pilonidal cyst may look like a small dimple (called a "pit" or "sinus"). Hair may stick out from it.
See a picture of a pilonidal cyst.
What causes a pilonidal cyst?
Experts think pilonidal cysts may form in one of three ways:
What are the symptoms?
Pilonidal disease often has no symptoms. If a cyst gets infected (called an abscess), you may have:
How is pilonidal disease diagnosed?
A physical exam of the buttocks is usually all doctors need to diagnose pilonidal disease. You probably won't need any other tests unless the area doesn't heal or your doctor thinks there may be another problem.
How it is treated?
Mild cases may be managed by keeping the area free of hair, such as shaving the area once a month.
If the cyst gets infected or is a problem, your doctor may need to open and drain the cyst. This procedure can be done in your doctor's office. You may get antibiotics if the infection is severe. The cyst may take a month or more to heal.
You may need to have surgery (excision) to remove the cyst. Surgery may need to be done if:
Surgery may be done at an outpatient surgical center or hospital. It may take 6 weeks or longer to heal.
Cysts can come back after being drained. Surgery works better as a permanent cure.
What can you do at home for a pilonidal cyst?
While you are being treated for an infected cyst:
For cysts that are not causing symptoms or after you have had surgery to remove a cyst:
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2012 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Find out what women really need.
Most Popular Topics
Pill Identifier on RxList
- quick, easy,
Find a Local Pharmacy
- including 24 hour, pharmacies