A pilonidal cyst is an abnormal pocket in the skin that usually contains hair and skin debris. A pilonidal cyst is almost always located near the tailbone at the top of the cleft of the buttocks. Pilonidal cysts usually occur when hair punctures the skin and then becomes embedded. If a pilonidal cyst becomes infected, the resulting abscess is often extremely painful.
Pilonidal cysts most commonly occur in young men, and the problem has a tendency to recur. People who sit for prolonged periods of time, such as truck drivers, are at higher risk of developing a pilonidal cyst.
Symptoms of Pilonidal cysts
You may not have any noticeable symptoms at first other than a small, dimple-like depression on the surface of your skin. However, once the depression becomes infected, it will quickly develop into a cyst (a closed sac filled with fluid) or an abscess (a swollen and inflamed tissue where pus collects). The signs of an infection include:
- pain when sitting or standing
- swelling of the cyst
- reddened, sore skin around the area
- pus or blood draining from the abscess, causing a foul odor
- hair protruding from the lesion
- formation of more than one sinus tract, or holes in the skin
- Warmth of the skin
- You may also experience a low-grade fever, but this is much less common.
If you notice any signs or symptoms of a pilonidal cyst, see your doctor. He or she can diagnose the condition by examining the lesion.