There is a nagging pain at the bottom of your spine. You remove your clothing to check what is causing your tailbone pain. You find your tailbone area red and swollen. This is the classic case of Pilonidal Cyst.
The term ‘Pilonidal’ means ‘nest of hair’ and comes from the combination of two Latin words ‘Pilus’ meaning ‘hair’ and ‘nidus’ signifying ‘nest’. A Pilonidal Cyst is an abnormal sac that develops along the tailbone or end of the spinal column near the splits of the buttocks. Such sacs or cysts contain destroyed skin and hair parts. They are usually harmless but can cause pain if infected. Pilonidal Cyst Infection can lead to Pilonidal abscesses. In this condition, the sac becomes swollen and filled with pus. These swollen cysts can drain discharge, cause pain and lead to fever.
Pilonidal Cysts are generally found just above the coccyx or tailbone. In rare cases, they can be found in the armpits, navel or penis.
A number of factors are believed to cause Pilonidal Cyst. Most doctors think that the disorder is caused by ingrown hair. Ingrown hairs are the loose hair strands that grow into the skin. When hairs penetrate the skin, the skin produces a natural reaction. There is an inflammation in the skin area and a cyst is formed.
Excessive pressure or repeated stress near the coccyx is also thought to be a reason behind the formation of a Pilonidal Cyst. This has been in consideration since the Second World War when over 80,000 soldiers were hospitalized after developing Pilonidal Cysts. The reason for this was attributed to the fact that the soldiers rode bumpy jeeps for long periods which put constant pressure on their tailbone. That is why the disorder is also known by the name ‘Jeep Disease’.
The disorder gives rise to a number of symptoms like :
There is normally no pain in the affected region. Pain occurs only if there is an infection in the cyst. In advanced cases of Pilonidal Cyst tailbone pain is common.
An infected cyst will cause inflammation in the area. The swelling occurs at the bottom of the spinal column, just above the split of the buttocks.
The affected part feels very hot. Touching it with cold objects can provide comfort.
The affected area becomes red following an infection.
The cyst becomes filled with pus and drains from time to time. The underwear and trousers of the sufferer often get soiled due to this.
The pain often leads to fever in the sufferers.
The treatment of Pilonidal Cyst depends on the nature of the cyst and the symptoms that come with it. Minor cysts that do not produce any symptom need no treatment. Care is required for infected cysts that cause pain and inflammation. In the early stages of infection, the cyst can be treated at home. In severe cases, expert medical attention is required.
In the initial stages of infection, the patient may sit on a warm tub. Bathing the area in warm water can also ease the pain and reduce the swelling. In many cases, it lowers the chance of the worsening of the cyst infection.
Expert treatment of Pilonidal Cysts consists of making a small incision in the skin with local anesthesia. This makes the discharge of pus easier and reduces the pain. Antibiotics are used to help the surgical treatment of the cyst. Unfortunately, the process is not full-proof. 40% of sufferers experience a relapse of the cyst. This is seen in chronic cases. In such cases, the top of the cyst is generally removed and it is left exposed to heal. The wound is daily dressed and packed to keep it clean. When operated like this, the Pilonidal Cyst surgery recovery takes up to two months. In a few cases, the healing can occur in less time.
In very severe cases, the cyst has to be completely removed. This is known as Pilonidal Cyst Excision. In certain cases, complete healing takes almost a year. In some cases, surgeons can remove the sinus using a general anesthetic. This Pilonidal Cyst removal is only done in complicated cases.
Men are generally found to suffer more from this condition than women. The disease is also seen more in younger people, especially those between 15 and 25, than in middle aged or old people. People in their forties are less prone to this disorder. People who keep sitting for longer periods of time are also considered more susceptible to this disease. Many Caucasians are seen to suffer from Pilonidal Cysts.
These are also found more in obese people or those who have a high perspiration rate. Wearing tight clothes can also be a factor. People who have to sit for longer hours at workplace are also at greater risk. People with thick, firm body hair are also more prone to the disorder.
Here are some Pilonidal Cyst Pictures that will help you understand the disease better. Go through these Pilonidal Cyst photos to know how the disease looks like.
Pilonidal Cyst is not lethal, nor is it a very serious disorder. In minor cases, it does not even produce any symptom. However, in severe cases it needs immediate medical attention and surgery. It is best if you consult a good doctor in such conditions. An early treatment can help you avoid a lot of future complications.