Pilonidal Cyst

  • Medical Author:
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

  • Medical Editor: Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP
    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.

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What are pilonidal cyst symptoms and signs?

If a pilonidal cyst is not infected, there may be no symptoms. When a cyst is infected, signs and symptoms include

  • fever,
  • pain,
  • swelling,
  • redness,
  • discharge of blood or pus (if abscess ruptures or "pops"),
  • foul odor.

What are risk factors for a pilonidal cyst?

Risk factors for pilonidal cysts include the following:

  • Male predominance (four times more often than in women)
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Thick body hair
  • Family history
  • Local shaving or damage to the skin from friction
  • Overweight or obese
  • Previous pilonidal cyst

How do doctors diagnose a pilonidal cyst?

A doctor will diagnose a pilonidal cyst by first doing a physical examination. A lump, swelling, or abscess at the cleft of the buttock with or without a draining area (sinus) is characteristic of a pilonidal cyst.

If infection is severe, blood tests may be performed. There is usually no need for imaging tests in cases of pilonidal cysts.

Are there any home remedies for a pilonidal cyst?

Home remedies are aimed at relieving pain and swelling. These home treatments include the following:

  • Sitz baths: Sitting in a tub of warm water up to the hips can relieve pain and may reduce the chances the cyst will worsen.
  • Vitamin C and zinc supplements can help in the healing process. Vitamin A also helps with tissue repair. Consult a doctor for the right dose of these supplements.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/2/2015
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