When you have a pilonidal cyst, an abscess forms near your tailbone in the upper crease of your buttocks. More than 70,000 people suffer from this problem each year in the United States, but it’s most common in men ages 20-35.

The good news is that pilonidal cysts are fairly straightforward to diagnose and treat. At Wound Evolution - Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine, our experienced team sees this problem on a regular basis. If you think you have a pilonidal cyst, we can usually treat it during a quick office visit.

Recognizing pilonidal cysts

As we mentioned above, these abscesses are fairly easy to diagnose because of their location and appearance. 

They develop when hair punctures skin and gets embedded in your lower back. This causes your body’s natural defense system to kick into action, and it forms a cyst around the hair in an effort to protect you.

Anyone can get a pilonidal cyst, but they’re usually associated with friction and pressure near your tailbone. Because of this, several factors can increase your risk of the condition, including:

  • Having thick, rough, or excessive body hair
  • Wearing tightly fitting clothing
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Having a profession that requires long periods of sitting, like drivers and pilots

You’re also more likely to develop pilonidal cysts if you have a sedentary or inactive lifestyle.

Spotting the signs of a pilonidal cyst

A pilonidal cyst usually starts out small and painless, like a tiny dimple, bump, or pimple at the base of your tailbone. But it’s also susceptible to infection, which can trigger a wide range of uncomfortable symptoms, such as:

  • Pain
  • Warm, irritated, or red skin
  • Foul-smelling fluid, puss, or bloody drainage
  • Nausea, fatigue, or fever

Most of our patients with a pilonidal cyst also find these symptoms worsen from pressure on the area or sitting. Depending on the extent of your condition, you might find it difficult to sit, stand, or move around.

Many people suffer in silence from this condition because they feel too embarrassed to talk about it. Unfortunately, trying to ignore a pilonidal cyst increases your chances of recurrence. It also slightly increases your chance of developing a form of skin cancer known as squamous cell carcinoma

Getting help for pilonidal cysts

We can usually treat pilonidal cysts during a simple office visit after making a visual diagnosis. If we suspect the presence of infection, we might also order blood tests to check your white blood cell count.

Most pilonidal cysts require drainage. This process involves numbing the area so you don’t feel a thing and then making a small incision so we can drain the cyst. But if you have recurring problems with pilonidal cysts, we could recommend surgery.

Whether you undergo drainage or a more extensive surgical procedure, we also provide expert wound care treatment, like hyperbaric oxygen therapy or topical treatments with bioengineered skin grafts, to ensure the best results.

Don’t wait to get help for your pilonidal cyst. Contact us today at Wound Evolution to schedule an appointment. We have several convenient locations in Dallas, Fort Worth, and San Antonio, Texas, as well as Overland Park, Kansas.

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