Skip to content
    Select An Article

    Pilonidal Cyst

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    A pilonidal cyst occurs at the bottom of the tailbone (coccyx) and can become infected and filled with pus. Once infected, the technical term is pilonidal abscess. Pilonidal abscesses look like a large pimple at the bottom of the tailbone, just above the crack of the buttocks. It is more common in men than in women. It usually happens in young people up into the fourth decade of life.

    Pilonidal Cyst Causes

    Most doctors think that ingrown hairs cause pilonidal cysts. Pilonidal means "nest of hair." It is common to find hair follicles inside the cyst.

    Another theory is that pilonidal cysts appear after trauma to that region of the body. During World War II, more than 80,000 soldiers developed pilonidal cysts that required a hospital stay. People thought the cysts were due to irritation from riding in bumpy Jeeps. For a while, the condition was actually called "Jeep disease."

    Pilonidal Cyst Symptoms

    The symptoms of a pilonidal cyst include:

    • Pain at the bottom of the spine
    • Swelling at the bottom of the spine
    • Redness at the bottom of the spine
    • Draining pus
    • Fever

    When to Seek Medical Care for a Pilonidal Cyst

    A pilonidal cyst is an abscess or boil. It needs to be drained, or lanced, to improve. Like other boils, it does not improve with antibiotics. If any of the above symptoms occur, consult a doctor.

    Pilonidal Cyst Exams and Tests

    A doctor can diagnose a pilonidal cyst by taking a history (asking about the patient's history and symptoms regarding the cyst) and performing a physical exam. The doctor may find the following conditions:

    • Tenderness, redness, and swelling between the cheeks of the buttocks just above the anus
    • Fever
    • Increased white blood cells on a blood sample (not always taken)
    • Inflammation of the surrounding skin

    Pilonidal Cyst Home Remedies

    Early in an infection of a pilonidal cyst, the redness, swelling, and pain may be minimal. Sitting in a warm tub may decrease the pain and may decrease the chance that the cyst will develop to the point of requiring incision and drainage.

    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    chafing
    Pictures and symptoms of the red, scaly rash.
    woman with dyed dark hair
    What it says about your health.
     
    woman with cleaning products
    Top causes of the itch that rashes.
    atopic dermatitus
    Identify and treat common skin problems.
     
    itchy skin
    Article
    shingles rash on skin
    Article
     
    woman with skin tag
    Quiz
    Woman washing face
    Video
     
    woman washing her hair in sink
    Video
    close up of womans bare neck
    Tools
     
    Feet
    Slideshow
    woman with face cream
    Quiz