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Pilonidal Cyst or Abscess

Pilonidal (meaning nest of hair) cysts or abscesses occur around the coccyx, just above the crack of the buttocks. 

Common Signs & Symptoms

  • Pain, tenderness, redness, heat and inflammation around the coccyx/tailbone
  • Usually stems from sitting for long periods of time, especially in the presence of friction eg rowing, riding a bike
  • The cyst may produce puss
  • In some cases, you may have pain in the lower back 

Description

Pilonidal (meaning nest of hair) cysts or abscesses occur around the coccyx, just above the crack of the buttocks. They are usually caused by repetitive friction on the area but may begin with too much sitting, trauma or excessive sweating. Under these conditions, a hair follicle can become infected causing an abscess or boil, leading to a tract or small channel from the source of infection to the surface of the skin.

Advice & Treatment

Self Care at Home

These cysts usually begin gradually and it's best to begin self care as early as possible. Although heat may reduce your pain, it's important to keep clean and dry and remove any stray hairs around the area to reduce the risk of infection. If a pilonidal sinus becomes infected, it should be treated as soon as possible as it's likely to get worse.

Medical Help

Your Doctor will usually prescribe you antibiotics but depending on the degree of infection, you may also need to have the pus drained from the abscess during a minor operation called incision and drainage. It is common for the sinus to keep becoming infected and if this happens it may need to be removed surgically.

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