Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Dec 2, 2022.
What is a pilonidal cyst?
A pilonidal cyst is a small sac under the skin. Pilonidal cysts may become infected and cause an abscess (collection of pus). Pilonidal cysts may be caused by an ingrown hair. A hair may become ingrown if it rubs against your skin. The friction can cause hair to dig into the skin and get trapped.
What are the signs and symptoms of a pilonidal cyst?
- A small hole or dimple in the center of your lower back, usually right above the buttocks
- Tender or painful area after you do physical activities or sit for a long period of time
- Hot, red, swollen area that may drain pus if the cyst becomes infected
How is a pilonidal cyst diagnosed and treated?
Your healthcare provider will examine you and ask about your symptoms. You may not need any treatment. A pilonidal cyst may go away on its own. If the cyst becomes infected, you may need any of the following:
- A procedure may be used to drain the pus. Your healthcare provider may make a small incision to drain the pus. Then he or she will pack the area with gauze. He or she may put a scope into the incision. The cyst is drained through the scope.
- Surgery may be needed to remove the cyst if it becomes infected often.
How can I help prevent an infection?
- Shave around the cyst. This will prevent hairs from entering the cyst. Your healthcare provider may recommend laser hair removal.
- Clean the cyst area as directed. Your provider may recommend you use a mild soap and rinse the area well.
- Do not sit for long periods of time. This may cause the cyst to get irritated.
When should I call my doctor?
- You have a fever.
- Your cyst is red and swollen.
- Your cyst has pus draining from it.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
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