If you have a painful pimple or bump in the crease of your buttocks near your tailbone, it’s likely a pilonidal cyst. These are common problems, especially among men. Unfortunately, if they’re not treated, this can lead to abscesses, pain, and chronic issues.
Scott A. deVilleneuve, MD, of Surgical Associates of North Texas in McKinney, Texas, offers the most advanced treatment options available for these cysts. As a leading surgeon in the area, you can rely on him for the best treatment available.
In this blog, Dr. deVilleneuve explains what’s behind pilonidal cysts, how they’re treated, and how to keep them from coming back.
The basics of pilonidal cysts
A “cyst” describes a pocket of tissue somewhere on your body that contains air, fluid, or other material. In the case of pilonidal cysts, this bump forms at the bottom of your tailbone, and it’s filled with skin debris and hair.
Pilonidal cysts aren’t contagious, and they can have numerous causes. However, in most cases, ingrown hairs are usually the culprit behind this problem. As the hair gets embedded in your skin, your body reacts to the foreign material by causing tissue to thicken and infection to set in, triggering symptoms that include:
- Swelling, redness, tenderness, or pain in the area
- Draining blood or pus
- A foul-smelling odor from the fluid
- Fever or chills
Without treatment, a pilonidal cyst can become a chronic problem. Further, they can also increase your chances of developing squamous cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer.
Risk factors for developing pilonidal cysts
Technically speaking, anyone can get a pilonidal cyst. However, since they often start because of hair penetrating the skin, certain things can increase your chances of having this problem.
Common factors that can make you more susceptible to developing pilonidal cysts include:
- Being male or in your 20s or 30s
- Having excess, stiff, or coarse body hair
- Living a sedentary lifestyle
- Having a job with a lot of sitting
- Being overweight or obese
- Wearing tight clothing that forces hair down into the skin
Your chances of having pilonidal cysts also increase if you’ve had them in the past.
Treating and preventing pilonidal cysts from recurring
If you have a pilonidal cyst, the most important step you can take to avoid ongoing problems is to work with a medical expert, such as Dr. deVilleneuve.
Dr. deVilleneuve takes several approaches to treating pilonidal cysts. When caught early, sometimes soaking in a warm tub is all you need to relieve inflammation in the area. However, some cysts can require more advanced treatment to ensure drainage so the site can heal properly.
When surgically draining a pilonidal cyst, Dr. deVilleneuve injects local anesthetic in the area and makes a tiny incision to release trapped fluids. He also removes infected hair follicles and skin debris and cleans the site.
Depending on your cyst and history, Dr. deVilleneuve will either close the wound with stitches or leave it open and packed with dressing, which allows the surgical wound to heal from the inside out. Leaving the wound open takes longer to heal, but it usually reduces the chances of having a chronic problem.
Getting expert treatment for your pilonidal cyst is just the first step to preventing recurring problems. Dr. deVilleneuve could also recommend:
- Losing weight, if needed
- Avoiding long periods of sitting
- Keeping the area cleansed and dry
You can also reduce your chances of developing chronic pilonidal cysts by removing hair from the area with shaving, waxing, or other products.
Do you have a pilonidal cyst? Get expert treatment by calling 972-947-2264 or booking an appointment online with Surgical Associates of North Texas today.