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How to Avoid Pilonidal Cysts

How to Avoid Pilonidal Cysts

Pilonidal cysts are common, with more than 70,000 cases reported every year in the United States. These abnormal pockets in the skin usually develop near your tailbone, at the top of your buttocks.

The pilonidal cysts are vulnerable to infection, causing a painful abscess. Our team here at Lakeland Surgical Clinic, PLLC, can drain the cyst or remove it surgically — but why go through that hassle if you don’t have to?

Here are some tips from our team in Jackson, Mississippi, that help you avoid these painful cysts.

How do pilonidal cysts form?

A pilonidal cyst forms when hair becomes ingrown, poking through the skin and causing fluid to form. Friction from skin rubbing against skin, tight clothing, or long periods of sitting can make the hair push into your skin.

When the cyst becomes infected, it becomes swollen and painful. The skin around the cyst may redden, and pus or blood can drain from the cyst. 

Who is most at risk of developing a pilonidal cyst?

If you sit for long periods, such as when driving a truck or cycling for long miles, you’re at greater risk of developing a pilonidal cyst. Men, especially those between 20 and 35, are at particular risk. 

Being overweight or wearing tight clothing also increases your chances of developing this painful cyst. 

Pilonidal cysts aren’t contagious, but they may be influenced by family traits. For example, if rough hair runs in your family, you’re at risk. 

How do I prevent pilonidal cysts?

You can’t change some risk factors, like your gender or your hair type. You do have power over other risks. Keep the area above the cleft of your buttocks clean and, if you’re overweight, lose weight. 

If your job forces you to sit for long periods, stand up on occasion to give the area a break and reduce friction. That isn’t always an option, but it is worth exploring.

For people who have had pilonidal cysts in the past, we recommend that you regularly shave the area at the base of your tailbone to reduce the risk of recurrence. Do this at least once a week, or try using a hair removal product. Less hair means a reduced chance of them becoming ingrown.

How do you treat a pilonidal cyst?

While waiting for our treatment, manage pain by applying a warm compress to the affected area. If you must continue to sit for long periods, try an inflatable seat for support.

We may drain the cyst to relieve the pressure caused by the fluid inside. You’ll receive a prescription for antibiotics to prevent or treat infection and prevent its spread to other systems of your body. Stubborn or severe cysts may require surgical removal. 

You may benefit from laser hair removal in the area to reduce hair growth and prevent ingrowns from developing. 

The team at Lakeland Surgical Clinic, PLLC, is ready to help if you have a pilonidal cyst. Call the office or use this website to set up an appointment today.

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