If you’re a frequent reader of this site, there’s a high chance that you know excessive sitting can cause a wide array of negative effects on your overall health. Some of these directly affect your internal health and your physical health. One of these conditions is pilonidal sinus or pilonidal disease, a relatively common condition in Caucasian men.
A pilonidal cyst, or a sacrococcygeal fistula, may be described by other people as a big pimple on top of the butt crack.1 But while this condition and acne have specific similarities, a pilonidal cyst is actually a depression under the skin that fills up with skin debris, pus and hair instead of a blocked hair follicle. Technically, a pilonidal cyst is closer to a boil than to a pimple, with pimples being smaller and easier to deal with than boils.2
A pilonidal cyst is generally harmless and may not even be apparent in the early stages. The only problem is that there is always the risk of it getting infected. Once it becomes infected, it may become intensely painful. To know more about the risk factors, possible causes, symptoms and treatment techniques for a pilonidal cyst, read these articles.
Progression of a Pilonidal Cyst
If you suspect that you’re developing a pilonidal cyst, the first thing you should know is how this condition progresses. Pilonidal cysts develop from a pilonidal sinus into a pilonidal abscess.
A pilonidal cyst, also called a pilonidal sinus, is a small hole under the skin near the butt cleft. There is no clear reason as to why these cysts develop, but one of the theories point at stray hairs piercing the skin in that area and triggering an immune response. These function as the starting point for the development of pilonidal cysts. Multiple holes may develop and may be connected by small “estuaries.”3
Once these pilonidal sinuses become infected, fluid starts to fill the sinuses, which then forms the pilonidal abscess. If the infection becomes worse, the abscess may start leaking a foul-smelling liquid and cause the patient moderate to extreme pain in the area. The most common cause of an infection is normal skin bacteria entering the opening on the surface of the cyst.4
The good news for pilonidal cyst patients is that there are now numerous treatment options they can choose from. Some choose to get them surgically removed or drained, and some choose to let them heal on their own.
Are Pilonidal Cysts Dangerous?
Pilonidal cysts are not dangerous and do not pose any serious threats on a patient’s life. However, if they become infected, they can cause debilitating pain. If the abscess is not properly taken care of, there is also the risk of developing a systemic infection, where the infection spreads throughout the patient’s body.5 Recurrent pilonidal cysts are a problem as well, with about 10 percent of patients suffering from this condition again at some point in their lives.6