What Is a Pilonidal Cyst?

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By brett
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Your coccyx sits at the base of your tailbone. For some people, that specific location is prone to developing a cyst. Cysts, in general, are lumps on the surface of the skin that can be filled with pus, fluid or other debris. They are not cancerous. When one forms on the coccyx, it is referred to as a pilonidal cyst.

Pilonidal cysts resemble a large pimple. They can vary in size, becoming quite large in some individuals. They do have a propensity for becoming infected, which can make them painful. A cyst that is infected is called an abscess.

1. Causes of Pilonidal Cysts

There is uncertainty about why pilonidal cysts form, but there are a couple of prevalent theories. One is that they are the result of an accumulation of hair and debris, or perhaps an ingrown hair, that gets trapped in the pores of the crevice at the upper region of the buttocks. Often, doctors find a cluster of hair within the cysts during treatment.

Another theory is that they are the result of trauma to the area affected. The idea originated during WWII, when a significant number of soldiers were hospitalized due to the presence of pilonidal abscesses. It was believed that they formed because of the long hours spent riding in jeeps over bumpy roads, which also earned the condition the name “jeep disease.”

Pilonidal Cyst

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