Friction that happens very often at the cleft situated on the top of your buttocks may cause hair or dirt in the area to get buried in the skin. This may trigger your immune system to spring into action, causing a cavity to form around the embedded foreign object in an attempt to contain it. When infected, what’s known as pilonidal cyst develops.

It’s not all the time that the cyst your body creates around the embedded hair or dirt becomes infected. When it does, problems such as pain, inflammation and even fever may arise. Blood, pus as well as foul odor may emanate from the site of infection. Pilonidal cyst, when diagnosed very early on, may be treated with a course of antibiotics. Otherwise, the abscess may have to be surgically removed.

This condition is common in people who spend a lot of time sitting, such as taxi drivers and office workers. Experts say that it also develops more frequently in men as well as young adults. Depending on the severity of the infection and the effectiveness of the treatment, pilonidal cyst usually heals anywhere from 4 to 10 weeks.

Causes

Spending a long time sitting and friction that occurs frequently in the area of the buttocks may cause hair or sometimes dirt at the cleft of your buttocks to end up embedded in the skin. Your body forms a cavity around it, thinking that it’s an invader and can leave you with a health problem. The said cavity may be attacked by bacteria, ending up infected.

Experts also blame the hormones for the development of this condition. This is exactly the reason why pilonidal cyst is very common in young adults as hormonal changes are going on in their bodies.

Risk Factors

Just like what’s mentioned earlier, pilonidal cyst is a common problem in people who need to sit for long periods of time. It also usually happens to males because they are naturally hairier than women. Young adults are also at high risk of developing the condition because of their hormones.

Wearing undergarments that are too tight or simply cause a lot of friction to take place in the buttocks may also increase your chances of ending up with this usually painful problem.

Symptoms

Initially, you may notice a depression or dimple at the cleft on the top of your buttocks. This means that your body has already formed a cavity around the embedded hair or dirt.

Once bacteria invades the area and causes an infection, a cyst that is filled with pus forms. You will definitely feel pain in the area whether you are standing or sitting. It’s not unlikely for both pus and blood to drain from the infection, causing fouls smell to come from the area. Since your body is battling an infection, you may end up with fever. The development of several holes in the skin is also possible.

Treatment

When diagnosed early on, a doctor may recommend broad-spectrum antibiotics. This means that the antibiotics you have to take are capable of killing off an assortment of bacteria. Despite of this, it’s still important to have a follow-up exam.

There are instances when a doctor may inject the site with an antiseptic called phenol in order to eliminate bacteria and promote the healing of the infection. There are a few downsides to this mode of treatment for pilonidal cyst. For instance, it has to be performed several times and there’s a possibility that the problem may recur.

Surgery may be warranted for severe cases of pilonidal cyst. In the said procedure, your doctor will open the abscess to remove pus and blood present. The site will be then closed and dressed.

Prevention

Keeping the site where pilonidal cyst commonly develops clean is very important. You have to wash the area regularly, making sure that you rinse off all the soap completely. You may also dodge having pilonidal cyst by avoiding sitting for long periods of time.

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