A Pilonidal Sinus Disease is a cyst or an abscess that is most frequently located in the cleft at the top of the buttocks, although it can also occur in some rare cases in the bellybutton, armpit and genital area.
A Pilonidal cyst (Latin for pilus=skin, nidus=nest) occurs because of the accumulation of dead skin in the hair follicle, where the accumulated dead skin cells became a source point for bacteria. Dead skin cells accumulate as a result of ingrown hair. The skin debris causes an infection as a result of anaerobic bacteria spread.
The cyst eventually becomes infected, with symptoms such as pain, reddening, itching, bad smell, pus possibly mixed with blood, low-grade fever as a reaction to the infection
This infection may cause severe pain located in the lumbar area, with some patients reporting the pain exceeding to arms and legs, and some patients reported severe back and head pain as well.
A pilonidal cyst mostly affects men from the adolescent period to the middle thirties. Men affected by this disease are commonly over-weight, they have thick body hair, and mostly have a predominately sedentary lifestyle or alternatively work on jobs that include long periods of inactivity (for example, bus drivers, office workers, etc.). Once operated on, there is a great probability percentage that it is going to reoccur later in life.
It is not certain why this infection takes place. But it is proven that the pressure put on this area while sitting for long periods of time definitely makes the condition worse. Also, there are theories that the changes in the hormonal levels, besides having a substantial effect on the growth of hair, are also believed to be the cause of the occurrence of the Pilonidal Sinus Disease in puberty. Clothing fabrics are also thought to play a part in causing the infection – synthetic fabrics and friction create fertile ground for bacteria.
Treatment with home remedies
These are the ways in which you can treat the pilonidal cyst at your home, but only if the infection is not serious. Most of these treatments are ways to keep the designated area clean in order to stop the cyst from becoming more infected.
- Antibiotics – Your doctor should prescribe a broad spectrum antibiotics medicine generally used for any kind of infection that may occur.
If you aren’t in a lot of pain and the inflammation is minimal, this is the usual way your doctor will help by relieving the infection and discomfort. It is advised to pay special attention to the hygiene of this area and to regularly do check-ups.
It is advised to pay special attention to the hygiene of this area and to regularly do check-ups.However, if the cyst became red and started to grow in size, then the abscess must be surgically treated.
- Changes in your diet – Besides maintaining a healthy diet generally, there are ways you can aid the natural defense mechanisms of your body.
Garlic was found to be quite exquisite in its fight against bacterial and fungal infections. Apart from eating it, you can squeeze to get a liquid which you can then apply to the cyst. Make sure to repeat the process, but for no more than 10 minutes at a time
- Take a warm sitz bath – when you soak in warm water, the cyst may soften and open on its own, releasing the pus. Be sure to disinfect and cover the area afterward, and to take any necessary precautions previously mentioned in order to keep the cyst from recurring
- Warm wraps – similar to a warm bath, when you apply warm wraps to the cyst, it helps by softening the cyst membrane, and so possibly starting the healing process. Hopefully, the cyst will burst on its own and release the pus. Apply it for a few minutes, and repeat the process 3 to 4 times a day.
- Apple cider vinegar – By now, everyone and their mother knows that good old apple cider vinegar is the go-to cure for anything and everything, and of course, why not pilonidal cysts as well? Simply dissolve 3 teaspoons of organic and unfiltered apple cider vinegar with ½ cup of warm water. Use the solution to disinfect the area. Repeat the process 3 to 4 times a day.
- Castor Oil – Castor oil is beneficial because of its exquisite anti-inflammatory properties and because it induces faster healing. Soak a cotton ball with castor oil, and then apply it 3 times a day to the infected area.
If the home remedies fail, the pilonidal cyst can be a serious issue, as it can cause a substantial amount of pain. Apart from this, there are scenarios when the cyst can rupture, and if left untreated, the released pus that may be mixed with blood may lead to further complications, even sepsis. In these cases, a doctor’s intervention is the only way to fix the issue. This may be one of the following, depending on the state of the pilonidal sinus disease
- Antiseptic injection – using a local anesthetic, the doctor will afterward administer a phenol injection. This is an antiseptic that will clean the wound and hopefully heal it entirely. Multiple treatments are needed in order to make the wound heal. However, this approach is rarely applied, as the pilonidal cyst has a high chance of recurring.
- Lancing – also involves a local anesthetic, but this approach is more invasive, as the wound is opened with a scalpel by making a small, shallow incision. Then, the doctor disinfects all the skin debris, pus, and blood from the inside. Then the doctor stitches up the wound by making a small ‘pouch’.
The recovery, in this case, is almost always successful, and there is a small rate of possible recurrence of the cyst. However, be careful because, during the recovery period, you must keep the incision and stitches clean. So, be sure to change the bandages and gauze frequently.
- Surgery – takes place in cases when the pilonidal sinus keeps returning, and when no other option is available, for instance, when there are multiple infected follicles.
After these treatments, it is recommended to shave or remove hair with hair removal creams (avoid waxing) from the given area in order to minimize the possibility of ingrown hair from recurring.