Pilonidal disease is a skin infection that invades the buttocks. It normally infects the inside of the buttock rather than the skin outside. It is common among teenagers and rarely found amongst those older than forty. It is also common among men. The infection causes cysts around the tailbone and involves both hair and skin. The cyst is prone to infection leading to symptoms of pain, redness, and pus. An abscess may also form. Treatment is available. The best method of treatment is the drainage and removal of the cyst. You do not want to continue with a pilonidal cyst and be in pain.
Pilonidal disease forms painful cyst along the tail bone. It is found to be most common in teenagers because of puberty. During puberty, the sex hormones affect the glands that cause a pilonidal cyst. The glands are called pilosebaceous glands. These glands are responsible for hair growth on the body as well. We notice hair on our legs, arms, and head, but we have hair all over our body even in the buttock. The hair helps keep away certain bacteria by trapping it and it can help protect against burns and harmful chemicals. Everything on our bodies has a purpose, but they are also susceptible to disease.
Pilonidal Cyst Formation
Pilonidal cyst formation happens in one of three ways: congenital, hair follicle irritation, or the entrapment of loose hair. The congenital pilonidal cyst is there at birth. It is something that develops inside the womb. These type of cyst are pretty much unpreventable. Hair follicles in the buttocks are subject to irritation and stretching. When you are involved in exercises that have a direct effect on your buttocks like cycling and horseback riding, you put yourself at a greater risk. The sweating and rubbing in that area irritate your hair follicles. Sometimes the sweat along with tight clothing blocks the hair follicles and infects the area around it, which tends to cause an abscess. As you continue with your daily exercises, you allow more hair to enter into the abscess or cyst. Hair falls off all the time. Sometimes a strand of hair may end up on the tailbone and poke the skin. Stretching this area opens the hair follicle more allowing the hair to go deeper into the skin. A cyst then forms around this hair and gets infected.
There are several risk factors for pilonidal cysts. Exercise may cause the problem, but a sedentary lifestyle puts you at greater risks of forming a cyst and having an infection. Those who are bedridden typically have a major problem with pilonidal cysts because hair tends to get trapped and embeds itself in the skin. Being sedentary also creates problems because the hair follicle stays blocked. Some families have a history of pilonidal cysts which may be a cause of congenital pilonidal cyst. If pilonidal disease runs in the family, you are at a higher risk. Obesity is another risk factor. Hair gets trapped easier, and hair follicles also get blocked much easier.
Symptoms of the pilonidal disease include the formation of cysts. Once these cyst form, it creates pain and tenderness. You will experience swelling, and the area will be red. Puss will start draining from the cyst. Bleeding is also common, especially when there is an infection. Based on the location of the cyst, you will also have trouble walking and sitting. When walking, the cyst rubs against your clothes. If the cyst is between the buttocks, it will make walking even more painful. Once you start experiencing these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor.
An examination of the buttocks is all that is needed for a diagnosis. The doctor can see the cyst and start treatment. If the cyst is already infected, the doctor will prescribe antibiotics, mainly if the infection has spread. If the infection is only in the location of the cyst, you may not need antibiotics. The doctor will also drain the cyst. Drainage usually works and does not require surgery. Total healing time lasts for about a month when surgery is not involved. If the draining the cyst does not work surgery is the next step. Sometimes surgery is done only after the infection reoccurs or if the cyst has multiple openings. The surgery is fairly quick. It is outpatient surgery as well. Recovery time may be up to 6 weeks. Surgery is pretty much a permanent cure for the problem. Draining is good and heals faster, but there is a chance the problem will return.
Pilonidal cysts are a nuisance. They can develop out of nowhere and leave you in a lot of pain. When suffering from a pilonidal cyst, try to get treatment as soon as possible. The best ways to avoid this cyst is good hygiene. After exercise, shower and try to keep the area dry. Pilonidal disease is not something anybody wants, but it is avoidable and curable.
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