Home > Health Resources > Pilonidal Disease
View Additional Section Content
Pilonidal (say "py-luh-NY-dul") disease is a chronic skin infection in the crease between the buttocks. People with this condition have one or more cysts in that area that tend to get inflamed and infected. A pilonidal cyst may look like a small dimple (called a "pit" or "sinus"). Hair may stick out from it.
See a picture of a pilonidal cyst.
Experts think pilonidal cysts may form in one of three ways:
Pilonidal disease often has no symptoms. If a cyst gets infected (called an abscess), you may have:
A physical exam of the buttocks is usually all doctors need to diagnose pilonidal disease. You probably won't need any other tests unless the area doesn't heal or your doctor thinks there may be another problem.
If the cyst gets infected or is a problem, your doctor may need to open and drain the cyst. This procedure can be done in your doctor's office. You may get antibiotics if the infection is severe. The cyst may take a month or more to heal.
You may need to have surgery (excision) to remove the cyst. Surgery may need to be done if:
Surgery may be done at an outpatient surgical center or hospital. It may take 6 weeks or longer to heal.
Cysts can come back after being drained. Surgery works better as a permanent cure.
While you are being treated for an infected cyst:
For cysts that are not causing symptoms or after you have had surgery to remove a cyst:
Keeping the area free of hair may also help. Talk with your doctor about what he or she recommends.
Other Works Consulted
Marcello PW (2010). Diseases of the anorectum. In M Feldman et al., eds., Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease, 9th ed., vol. 2, pp. 2257–2274. Philadelphia: Saunders.
Current as ofApril 17, 2018
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineMartin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
Current as of:
April 17, 2018
Medical Review:Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2018 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.
2700 Clay Edwards Drive, Ste 240, North Kansas City, MO 64116