Pilonidal cysts are tiny pockets of pus that grow around the base of the spine. Itchy ingrown hairs grow through the inside of the skin and cause pus to grow.
Pus growths like this get infected very often. These infections can cause hard painful lumps to form that cause:
- Nausea and sickness
- Itchiness and swelling around the spine
- Pain while sitting or lying down
If your pilonidal cyst is left untreated. Crucially, if symptoms do not improve and even worsen, these cysts can increase your chance of developing:
- Multiple Cysts – Cysts left untreated can spread to other parts of the skin nearby and causing more cysts to grow
- Skin Cancer – While only slight, a reoccurring untreated cyst can cause squamous cell carcinoma. While rare, recording cysts can cause also cause inflammation which generally increases the risk of skin cancer
- Fistula – If the cysts start to spread and infect the anal cavity they can to veins in the internal organs which may cause sepsis and even death if left wholly untreated
How are pilonidal cysts treated?
The good news is that the treatment of a Pilonidal cyst is quite simple: cut the cyst open and drain it. Depending on the severity and length of the cyst you may explore these three options:
- Incision, drainage – for cysts with a low chance of reoccurrence and reinfection, great for fairly young patients who are getting their first pilonidal cyst
- Pros – quick, usually effective, and won’t put you out for too long
- Cons – won’t completely remove the chance of it coming back
- Surgical cyst removal – for cysts that keep reoccurring, these can lead to less reoccurrence but will put the patient out of commission for longer
- Pros – Much more effective at stopping it from coming back
- Cons – Will need stitches and can cause pain for a week or two
How to avoid getting pilonidal cysts?
That’s all well and good but how do you avoid getting these painful irritants in the forest place, or finally stop getting them back? Here are a few tips:
- Keep your butt clean and dry as much as you can – this one should be self-explanatory!
- Shaving hair around the buttocks – Doing this at least once a week can reduce the chance of ingrown hairs, a usual cause of cysts
- Practice squatting and sitting with good form – if you have an office job and have to sit focus on :
- Lose weight – the sad fact is that ingrown hairs and infections drop when your dietary habits and exercise habits become healthier. So I know it’s getting cold but get on that treadmill and get some fiber in you!
Pilonidal cysts can be a huge nuisance but there are easy solutions for prevention and treatment.
If you or a loved one are suffering from a pilonidal cyst today, speak to a medical professional as soon as you can.