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What is pilonidal disease?

Pilonidal disease is a chronic skin problem found most often in the sacrococcygeal region. This is the cleft between the buttocks just below the base of the spine. It is characterised by one or more sinus tracts; these are cavities with a narrow opening on the skin surface (pilonidal sinus). In most cases, the cavity is filled with nests of hair, hence the name pilonidal (pilus meaning hair and nidal meaning nest). A non-inflamed lump is known as a pilonidal cyst. If the sinus becomes infected a pilonidal abscess may form.

Pilonidal disease usually occurs in young, hairy white men but can also occur in women. A pilonidal sinus can cause pain and swelling. To distinguish pilonidal disease from other infections, a doctor looks for pits-tiny holes in or next to the infected area. Generally, a pilonidal abscess must be cut and drained by a doctor. Usually, a pilonidal sinus must be removed surgically.

More information on pilonidal disease

What is pilonidal disease? - Pilonidal disease is a chronic skin problem found most often in the sacrococcygeal region. Pilonidal disease usually occurs in young, hairy white men.
What causes pilonidal disease? - Pilonidal disease results from infection around hairs embedded in the skin, commonly occurring in the cleft between the buttocks.
What are the symptoms of pilonidal disease? - Symptoms of pilonidal disease vary from a small dimple to a large painful mass. Often the area will drain fluid that may be clear, cloudy or bloody.
How is pilonidal disease diagnosed? - Pilonidal disease is diagnosed by your health professional after visually examining the area around the crease in the buttocks.
What's the treatment for pilonidal disease? - Treatment for pilonidal disease can include keeping the area around the crease of the buttocks clean, draining the cyst. 
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All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005,, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005