What Can Be Done for My Painful Pilonidal Cyst?

doctor and woman

It’s not uncommon to get a painful pimple on your buttocks. But if you have a tender lump that forms at the very top of your buttock crease, it might not be a zit — it could be an infected pilonidal cyst.

At our practice in Coral Springs, Florida, Michael H. Tarlowe, MD, uses effective techniques to treat pilonidal cysts, relieving painful symptoms and preventing them from coming back. If you think you have a pilonidal cyst, here’s how we can help you.

Pilonidal cysts: the basics

Cysts are small sacs that contain a combination of fluid, tissue, and biological debris. They can form anywhere in your body, including on or near organs and just below your skin’s surface.

Cysts that form at the base of your tailbone are called pilonidal cysts, and they usually contain skin debris and hair. When a pilonidal cyst becomes infected, it forms a painful, pus-filled abscess. Without medical treatment, the infection can spread and become very serious.

A pilonidal cyst starts when a hair grows into the skin, triggering an immune response that causes a cyst to form around the hair. 

These cysts are more common among people who:

Some people have chronic or recurrent pilonidal cyst infections. This condition is called pilonidal disease, and it affects about 70,000 Americans every year.

Relieving painful pilonidal cysts

Cysts don’t respond to antibiotics. Instead, cysts need to be drained of the debris they contain so the area can heal. 

Dr. Tarlowe offers a couple of options for treating infected pilonidal cysts.

Incision and drainage

After numbing the cyst and surrounding area with a local anesthetic, Dr. Tarlowe uses a scalpel to open the cyst and remove the debris it contains, including hair and hair follicles. After the cyst is cleaned, he leaves the wound open, packing the area with sterile gauze to keep it clean. The wound remains open for a few weeks while it heals.

Incision and drainage followed by excision

In some cases, Dr. Tarlowe may choose to excise the cyst a number of weeks after draining it. Most of the time, the wound will need to be left open. It requires daily dressing changes with gauze multiple times a day and can take 2-3 months to heal. However, in a few cases Dr. Tarlowe can close the wound. You won’t need to worry about changing the gauze during healing, but there is a higher risk that the cyst will return.

Don’t ignore a pilonidal cyst

Treating an infected pilonidal cyst as soon as possible reduces the risk of dangerous infections. To learn more about pilonidal cyst treatment at our Coral Springs practice, book an appointment online or over the phone with Dr. Tarlowe today.

You Might Also Enjoy...

What Is This Pimple-Like Bump Near My Tailbone?

We’re used to pimples forming on the face — but what if one forms near your tailbone? It may not be a pimple at all. Pilonidal cysts are pimple-like lesions that form near your buttocks. Here’s why they shouldn’t be ignored.

Will a Hemorrhoid Go Away on Its Own?

Hemorrhoids might not seem like a big deal, but without proper care, some hemorrhoids can become serious health problems. Here’s when it’s OK to treat a hemorrhoid at home and when a medical visit is necessary.

5 Ways to Lower Your Risk for Colon Cancer

Colorectal cancer is common among both women and men, causing thousands of deaths each year. The good news: There are some simple things you can do to significantly decrease your risk. Here are five steps to take starting today.
8 Ways to Keep Your Anus Healthy

8 Ways to Keep Your Anus Healthy

Your anus plays an important role in your health and wellness, yet — perhaps because of embarrassment — it often gets overlooked. Here, learn some simple steps you can take to make sure your anus stays healthy.

The Link Between HIV and Anal Fissures

Anal fissures are common and uncomfortable, and if you have HIV, your risk of fissures increases. Here’s how these two medical problems are related and what we can do to relieve your discomfort.
What Causes Pilonidal Cysts?

What Causes Pilonidal Cysts?

Pilonidal cysts are relatively common, and they can cause a lot of pain. The good news: treatment can help. Here’s why these cysts occur and how we can help you find relief.