Getting an unusual growth in an unusual part of one’s body is always a bit unnerving. For the most part, we can assume that something isn’t completely right about it. When pilonidal cysts first appear you may not experience any pain, but you can be sure that it will grow to become painful and uncomfortable — especially if most of your day is spent sitting down.
Pilonidal cysts require medical treatment in order to remove them, which usually consists of cutting and draining the cyst. If you have a pilonidal cyst you are hoping to get treatment for, you want to make sure that the specialist you pick has experience treating pilonidal cysts. If not done correctly, a pilonidal cyst may come back and even lead to serious complications.
Want to learn more? Here’s everything you need to know about pilonidal cysts.
Pilonidal cysts are a type of cyst (fluid-filled pocket of skin) that typically grows at the end of one’s tailbone, right above the cleft of the buttocks. There is no clear reason why pilonidal cysts occur, but they are thought to be caused by blunt trauma to the region or by a combination of ingrown hairs and collected skin debris. In order to diagnose pilonidal cysts a colorectal specialist will have to conduct a full medical exam; be sure to let your specialist know what medications you are currently taking as well as what your symptoms are.
Pilonidal cysts are believed to be the result of long sitting periods where the loose hair in the area is forced back into the hair follicles and down into the skin. As a response to the foreign hairs, the body reacts by creating a cyst to expel the hairs. If the pilonidal cyst becomes infected, it turns into an abscess that results in swollenness, tenderness, and pain.
Pilonidal cysts are typically tender and uncomfortable, but if they become infected their symptoms can become even more severe. Here are some of the symptoms of pilonidal cysts that you may experience:
Pain and redness at the base of your spine
Pus or blood draining from the cysts
Tenderness to the touch
Foul smelling pus
If you notice any of these symptoms, be sure to see a specialist right away. A colorectal specialist will be able to diagnose and treat the cyst and even avoid any complications. At the Colorectal Clinic of Tampa Bay, our colorectal specialists focus on three different treatment techniques:
Incision and drainage: This method removes the hair follicles trapped under the skin, which are causing the cyst. By freeing them, the wound is left open to drain on its own.
Marsupialization: This procedure consists of an incision, drainage, and removal of any hair follicles. Once the cyst has been drained, your doctor will sew the edges of the cut to the wound edges to create a small pouch. Marsupialization reduces the size and depth of the cyst without having to use gauze on it.
Incision, drainage, and closing wound: Much like the first method, this procedure cuts and drains the pilonidal cyst but also sews it closed afterward. Your doctor should decide whether this procedure is right for you or not since sometimes sewing a pilonidal cyst shut can result in its regrowth later.