Pilonidal Sinus

Pilonidal sinus is a condition in which a small pouch containing infected fluid (like pus) occurs near the tailbone region of the lower back (just above the cleft that separates the buttocks).

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Pilonidal Sinus

Pilonidal sinus is a condition in which a small pouch containing infected fluid (like pus) occurs near the tailbone region of the lower back (just above the cleft that separates the buttocks).

As the infection progresses, it may develop into a cyst or an abscess. These are seen quite often in those who have jobs that are more sedentary in nature.

Causes of Pilonidal Sinus

The specific cause of a pilonidal sinus is not known. It is believed to arise due to a mixture of different factors like abnormal and excessive hair growth, hormonal imbalance, and external factors like constant sitting habits. 

A person who has a sedentary lifestyle and job (like clerks and taxi drivers that sit for long periods of time) are more likely to develop this because of the constant friction due to chaffing or contact of clothes to the skin in the tailbone region. 

This stimulates new hair to grow. The hair might abnormally penetrate the skin and trigger the immune system to fight against it, causing the development of a sinus or cyst.

Risk factors that contribute to development of Pilonidal Sinus

The following are a few risk factors for developing a pilonidal sinus /cyst:

  • ​Sedentary lifestyle. 
  • Obesity
  • Younger age (those who are in their 20s) 
  • Those who have more body hair and excessive hair growth in the region of the tailbone.
  • It has been seen to be more common in males than in females.

Symptoms of Pilonidal Sinus

The pilonidal sinus may appear like a small dent initially at the tail bone region of the lower back above the cleft separating the buttocks.

On stimulus by either hormonal imbalance or external triggers, the region may become infected to develop further into a cyst or an abscess. This may appear as:

  • ​Pain and swelling with red inflamed skin around the sinus.
  • A foul-smelling discharge may be seen from the hole or opening in the region (blood or pus).
  • In rare cases, the patient may also experience a fever.

Complications of leaving Pilonidal Sinus untreated

Untreated pilonidal cysts, in the long run, are prone to develop into a type of cancerous growth of the skin, called squamous cell carcinoma.

You must visit a doctor noticing the following signs and symptoms:

  • ​High fever.
  • Extreme pain and an increase in the size of the swelling.
  • Discharge from the sinus opening (blood or pus).
  • Multiple sinus openings.
  • Foul smell coming from the area of the sinus.

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