Have you ever wondered, how does a pilonidal cyst form?

A pilonidal cyst is a small sac filled with debris and hair that commonly forms near the tailbone, often causing discomfort and pain. While the exact cause of these cysts isn’t always clear, understanding their formation can shed light on why they occur and how they can be managed.

What is a Pilonidal Cyst?

In the cleft near the tailbone at the top of the buttocks, a pilonidal cyst forms. It looks like a tiny hole or tunnel and, especially when infected, can produce pain ranging from moderate irritation to excruciating agony. Men are more likely than women to develop these cysts in their early adult years.

Formation Process: Hair Follicle Irritation:

The formation of a pilonidal cyst often begins with hair irritation. Loose hairs can pierce the skin due to friction or pressure, especially in people with stiff or coarse hair. These hairs have the potential to become trapped in the skin, which can cause inflammation and start the cyst formation process.

Follicle Blockage:

As hair penetrates the skin, it can cause a foreign body reaction, triggering the body’s immune response. Because the body views these hairs as foreign objects, it becomes inflamed and causes debris, dead skin cells, and hair to build up inside the hair follicle. This accumulation may obstruct the follicle and result in a cyst.

Cyst Development:

The hair and debris trapped inside the clogged follicle eventually turn into a cyst. A mixture of hair, dead skin, and other fluids slowly fills this cyst. The cyst may be small and asymptomatic at first, but as it gets bigger, it can hurt and sometimes become infected.

Infection and Abscess Formation:

Pilonidal cysts can become infected due to bacterial colonization, especially when the area is continually irritated or there’s poor hygiene. An abscess, which causes increasing discomfort, swelling, redness, and occasionally pus discharge, can develop from an infected cyst.

Contributing Factors:

Several factors may increase the likelihood of developing a pilonidal cyst:

  • Hair Growth: The likelihood of hair penetrating the skin can be heightened by coarse or stiff hair in the afflicted area.
  • Sedentary Lifestyle: Due to increased pressure and friction in the area, those who sit for lengthy periods of time—such as truck drivers or people who have sedentary lifestyles—may be more susceptible to developing these cysts.
  • Genetics: Genetic factors may predispose some persons to develop pilonidal cysts.
  • Obesity: Being overweight might lead to more friction and pressure in the area around the tailbone.

How do I Treat a Pilonidal Cyst?

A pilonidal cyst’s course of therapy is determined by a number of variables, including the cyst’s size, infection status, and degree of discomfort. Antibiotic therapy, pilonidal cyst removal, and various management techniques are among the potential therapeutic options.

1. Pilonidal Cyst Excision:

When a cyst is larger, more persistent, or infectious, surgical excision of the cyst is frequently advised. The sinus tracts and any contaminated tissue are removed together with the entire cyst by the surgeon during this surgery. The goals of this surgical method are to encourage healing and avoid recurrence. Following the post-operative care instructions given by the healthcare provider is crucial, as healing times following surgery can differ.

2. Pilonidal Cyst Antibiotic Treatment:

In cases where the pilonidal cyst is infected, antibiotics may be prescribed. Antibiotics lessen inflammation, help contain the infection, and stop it from spreading. Antibiotics by themselves, however, might not be enough to totally clear the cyst; surgery might still be required, particularly in situations that are severe or recurrent.

3. Other Treatment Options:

Incision and Drainage: If the cyst forms an abscess or becomes acutely infected, a healthcare professional might perform an incision and drainage procedure. This relieves pressure and pain right away by creating an incision to remove pus and fluid from the cyst. But this treatment might not get rid of the cyst entirely, and it might come back.

Pilonidal Cyst Hair Removal:

Keeping the area free from hair might help prevent recurrence. The likelihood of hair penetration and subsequent cyst formation can be decreased by techniques like laser hair removal or consistent shaving.

Self-care and Preventive Actions:

Adopting Good Hygiene Practices: It’s important to keep the region dry and clean. Using a mild soap and routine cleaning can help prevent the growth of bacteria in the area.

Avoid Prolonged Sitting:

Taking breaks during prolonged periods of sitting can help reduce pressure and friction on the tailbone area, potentially decreasing the risk of cyst formation.

Healthy Lifestyle:

Reducing the risk of pilonidal cyst development may be possible by maintaining a healthy weight and engaging in regular physical activity.

How do you know if you have Pilonidal Sinus? 

Recognizing particular symptoms and indicators linked to a pilonidal sinus is necessary to determine whether the ailment is present. Even though each person’s symptoms may differ, there are some universal signs to be aware of:

1. Pain and Discomfort:

People who have a pilonidal sinus frequently have pain and discomfort in the lower back, specifically in the sacrum, or tailbone. Pain may be anywhere from a slight annoyance to excruciating agony, particularly when moving or sitting.

2. Presence of a Pit, Pimple, or Hole:

A distinct characteristic of a pilonidal sinus is the presence of a small pit, pimple-like swelling, or hole in the skin, typically located between the buttocks near the tailbone. Sometimes pus or fluid may flow from this hole.

3. Redness and Swelling:

There may be redness, swelling, or inflammation in the vicinity of the pilonidal sinus. The affected area may be warm to the touch, and the skin may feel sensitive. The swelling might also vary in severity.

4. Pus or Drainage:

Some people may observe blood or pus dripping from the sinus aperture. Whenever there is an infection or inflammation, the drainage may get worse and smell worse.

5. Hair Around the Sinus Opening:

Hair might be visible around the sinus opening or within the drainage. Pilonidal sinuses grow and survive in part because of the presence of imbedded hairs in the sinus.

6. Recurrent Symptoms:

Over time, the symptoms of pilonidal sinuses may wax and wane. Pain, drainage, and inflammatory episodes may pass for a while before returning, frequently with greater severity.

When to Seek Medical Attention:

If you suspect you have a pilonidal sinus or experience any of the aforementioned symptoms, it’s advisable to seek medical attention. Through a physical examination, a healthcare practitioner can accurately diagnose the disease and offer suitable treatment alternatives.

Diagnostic Procedures: Physical Examination:

To look for indications of a pilonidal sinus, such as the distinctive pit, swelling, or drainage, a medical professional will visually examine the affected area.

Imaging Studies: To determine the width and depth of the sinus tracts, imaging tests such as MRIs and ultrasounds may occasionally be prescribed.

Experience Relief with Dr. Kamrava’s Expertise in Pilonidal Cyst Treatment!

If you are still wondering, “How does a pilonidal cyst form,” Dr. Kamrava offers comprehensive insights and expert guidance on this complex condition. 

Take the First Step Towards Relief!

Don’t let a pilonidal cyst disrupt your life any longer. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Kamrava today to explore personalized treatment options and embark on the path to recovery.