Pilonidal Sinus: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

A pilonidal sinus is a small hole or tunnel in the skin at the top of the buttocks, where they divide (the cleft). It does not always cause symptoms and only needs to be treated if it becomes infected.

Overview of Pilonidal Sinus

Pilonidal sinus is a cyst or small hole formed near the tailbone (just above the natal cleft). The other terms for pilonidal sinus are cyst and abscess The cyst gets filled with pus and becomes inflamed. Along with the pus, the cyst also contains hair, debris, dirt, and some blood. Usually, it also leads to malodorous discharge. It causes itching and excruciating pain. In mild cases, the sinus tends to heal on its own, but mostly, minor surgery is needed. The common reason for pilonidal sinus is unhygienic conditions and long hours of sitting. Shopkeepers and cab drivers who require to sit for long hours at a stretch are more prone to developing a pilonidal sinus.

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Facts on Pilonidal Sinus

While waiting for your treatment, you can try to manage any pain you may feel by using a warm compress on the affected area to soothe your skin. You might also feel less pain when using an inflatable seat or mattress.


Some of the common facts of pilonidal sinus are:

  • When Pilonidal sinus is left untreated, it may lead to multiple cysts and tracts of the sinus.
  • In severe and rare cases, the chances of developing skin cancer in the cyst are higher.
  • People with excessive, coarse body hair and who sweat a lot are more likely to develop a pilonidal sinus.
  • Males are more likely to develop a pilonidal sinus.
  • Deep natal cleft makes a person more prone to the pilonidal cyst.

Causes of Pilonidal Sinus

The exact cause of this condition isn’t known, but its cause is believed to be a combination of changing hormones (because it occurs after puberty), hair growth, and friction from clothes or from spending a long time sitting.

Wearing tight clothes
Hair puncture
Hair puncture
Hormonal changes in the body
Hormonal changes in the body
Sitting for long hours
Sitting for long hours
Rubbing the skin hardly
Rubbing the skin hardly
Excess and coarse hair growth
Excess and coarse hair growth

Signs and Symptoms

You may not have any noticeable symptoms at first other than a small, dimple-like depression on the surface of your skin. However, once the depression becomes infected, it will quickly develop into a cyst (a closed sac filled with fluid) or an abscess (a swollen and inflamed tissue where pus collects).

The signs of an infection include:

  • pain when sitting or standing
  • swelling of the cyst
  • reddened, sore skin around the area
  • pus or blood draining from the abscess, causing a foul odor
    hair protruding from the lesion
  • formation of more than one sinus tract, or holes in the skin

You may also experience a low-grade fever, but this is much less common.

Formation of a small dimple like structure
Formation of a small dimple like structure
Large painful mass
Large painful
Watery, purulent discharge from the pilonidal sinus
Watery, purulent discharge
Pain while sitting or a little push due to tight clothing
Pain while sitting or a little push
When infected, the skin turns red and delicate
When infected, the skin turns red
Feeling nauseous and weak frequently

Treatments of Pilonidal Sinus

The doctor will first thoroughly examine the pilonidal sinus and then ask in detail regarding the symptoms and medications you have ever taken for pilonidal sinus. Physical examination is necessary to understand how severe the condition is.

Home Remedies

Home Remedies for Pilonidal Sinus

Home remedies are quite effective in reducing the symptoms of pilonidal sinus. The best and most effective home remedies are as follows:

  • Tea tree oil: It is easily available in the market. This remedy can do wonders in terms of skincare. It is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory in nature and also acts as an antioxidant. Apply only 2-3 drops of tea tree oil with the help of cotton, twice a day and leave it for 2-3 hours and then wash it. It lowers the chances of the infection spreading and soothes the tender skin. Practice it regularly till the time the cyst disappears.
  • Castor oil: It helps in subsiding the swelling of the pilonidal sinus. It also fastens the healing and prevents the risk of further infection. Apply 2-3 drops of oil on the cyst and leave it for some time. Apply the oil 2-3 times every day.
  • Onions: Get a slice of onion and place it over the cyst with the help of a bandage. Leave it only for a few hours. The antibacterial properties of the onion prevent the infection from increasing and can potentially save you from undergoing surgery.
  • Coconut oil: It has soothing effects on the skin. The antimicrobial properties stop the infection from spreading. Gently apply the organic coconut oil on the cyst affected area twice a day for effective results.
  • Black tea: It acts as an antioxidant. Take a used tea bag and gently place it over the cyst. It will provide instant relief from the pain. You can repeat it 2-3 times in a day.
  • Hot and Cold Compress: Hot and cold compress keeps the blood regulation fine and speeds up the healing process. Use any soft towel for the purpose and leave it on the cyst for 10-15 minutes. Do it 2-3 times every day for speedy healing.

Surgical Laser Treatment

If the symptoms of pilonidal sinus keep getting severe with time and all the remedies fail, then reach out to your nearest doctor. The modern laser-assisted technique to get rid of pilonidal sinus is more effective than any other remedies. If your condition has reached a stage where surgery is needed, we advise you to immediately reach out to the best pilonidal sinus doctor for the advanced surgical treatment instead of open surgery. Do not delay the treatment, to avoid any complications. The benefits of laser surgery include no diet restrictions, no repeated visits to the hospital. One of the advantages of these surgeries is that they can be done in all age groups as the risk is minimal.

Diet for Pilonidal Sinus

Avoid having spicy, deep-fried and processed foods as they may lead to constipation. Having a diet rich in fibers and fluids is highly recommended to improve the symptoms of fistula. Fiber-rich diet makes the stools soft and bulky, thereby reducing the strain while bowel movements.


Fiber and fluid rich diet options are:

  • Garlic is one of the very popular and easily available home remedies for pilonidal cysts. It has both antibiotic and antifungal effects. You can use garlic in your regular diet and have raw slices or crushed cloves. It lowers the chances of infections.
  • Turmeric has curcumin. Curcumin contains powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It effectively helps in healthy digestion process. Adding a teaspoon of turmeric in a cup of warm milk or water and drinking it can have wonderful healing effects.
  • Apple cider vinegar improves the digestion process and also aids in reducing the pain and inflammation of the cyst. You can have a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, mix it in a glass of warm water and drink it twice a day.
  • Fenugreek Seeds are widely acknowledged for their medicinal properties like anticarcinogenic, antioxidant and immunological qualities. Fenugreek prevents any kind of inflammation in the body. Just boil the seeds with water, strain and consume the cooled water 3-4 times a day.
  • Honey is a natural antiseptic and anti-inflammatory substance. Its antibacterial properties impart healing effects on the cyst and it strongly fights the infection. Have a teaspoon of honey in warm water and drink it every day.

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If hemorrhoid symptoms persist after 1 week or complications occur, a person may need medical treatment. A person should call a doctor if certain symptoms appear, particularly heavy bleeding, severe pain, or fever. You can visit us at the following cities:


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