Pilonidal Cyst or Sinus
Pilonidal means a 'nest of hair'. A pilonidal cyst is found near the tailbone or top of the buttocks crease. It may look like a pit or small depression. In some cases, it may have a hollow tunnel (sinus tract) that connects it to the surface of the skin. Normally, a pilonidal cyst does not cause symptoms. But if it becomes infected, it can cause pain and swelling.
The cause of these cysts is not clear. They may form when a hair is forced under the skin or when a hair follicle ruptures. Or, a person may be born with the cyst.
These cysts are often diagnosed in people between the ages of 16 and 26. But people of any age can have a pilonidal cyst. And they affect both men and women, although more common in persons having excessive hair in the gluteal folds.
How it is formed
It is commonly seen in hairy men. When a person sits, buttocks takes maximum pressure. As they rub against the clothing etc, hair breaks off which gets collected in the cleft between the buttocks. These gradually penetrate the skin or enter the opening of the sweat gland forming sinus. Gradually more hairs are sucked into the sinus forming a tuft of hair.Nearly all patients have an episode of an acute infection (the area is swollen, tender and may drain pus). After the infection settles, many patients develop a sinus, which is a cavity below the skin surface . The sinus extends into the subcutaneous planes as an infected track. There may be branching side channels that connects to the surface through one or more small openings.
A Pilonidal cyst does not cause symptoms unless it becomes infected. Infection may cause the following symptoms:
- Symptoms vary from a small dimple to a large painful mass
- One or more Pits are formed in the skin of gluteal fold
- Pits may be plugged with hair
- Abscess forms when drainage of pit is blocked.
- Pain, redness, and swelling of the cyst and area around it
- There may be a discharge that is clear, cloudy or bloody.
- Foul-smelling drainage from the cyst
A Pilonidal cyst can be diagnosed by how it looks and by its location. Your doctor will examine the suspected cyst to confirm a diagnosis. You will be told if any tests are needed.
Most pilonidal cysts are left alone, if not causing any problem. But, If a cyst becomes infected, treatment is required. It may include the following:•
- Antibiotic medications for the infection. You should know that medications do not make the cyst go away, medicines can only give temporary relief. They also won't keep a cyst from becoming infected again.
- Hot water soaks to help draw out the infection and relieve pain and itching.
- Incision and drainage, if needed. The cyst is cut open and pus and other infected material is allowed to drain.
- Kshar Sutra Therapy : It is an Ayurvedic Surgical technique and is very effective and convenient for the patients. Kshar Sutra is placed in the whole infected tract. It helps in eliminating all the infection, hair and infected tissue. Kshar Sutra is changed at regular interval. Number of seatings and Duration of treatment depends upon the extent of infection. This is the Best treatment availbale for Pilonidal Sinus. It is safe , effective and chances of recurrence is almost nil.
- Surgery : Excision or removal of the cyst for infection that is severe, does not respond to medications, or keeps coming back. A surgeon cuts and removes the cyst and the tissue around it. There are always chances of recurrence after surgeries. Many patients failed to get cure even after multiple surgeries. Thus Kshar Sutra Therapy is a better treatment option in patients who does not responds to the medicines and other measures.
A pilonidal cyst can easily become infected. Do the following to help prevent infections:
- Keep the cyst and surrounding skin area clean.
- Remove hair from the area of the cyst regularly
- Ask your doctor about safe hair removal products or procedures.
- Avoid sitting in one position for long periods of time. This helps to reduce weight and pressure on your tailbone area.
- Sitting on a special cushion to relieve pressure on the tailbone may also help.
- Avoid tight-fitting clothing to reduce skin irritation around the cyst.
- If discharge is present, keep a cotton pad over the opening to avoid soiling of clothes.