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Pilonidal Cyst

Q: A few days ago I noticed a large, painful red bump at the end of my tailbone while I was showering. At first, it was slightly tender to the touch, but now it's becoming more painful when I sit. It's too big to be a pimple, and I haven't done anything to cause an injury. Any idea what this could be and how to get rid of it?

Dr. Donnica:
This "bump" may have started out as a pimple or infected hair follicle, but it has now progressed to something called a "pilonidal cyst" or pilonidal abscess. These are more common in men than in women and generally affect young adults under 40. Unfortunately, antibiotics won't help.

Try soaking the area in a warm tub for at least 20 minutes twice a day. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen may help decrease the discomfort, but if the pain is increasing, you will need to see a general surgeon to have the cyst incised and drained. This is a simple procedure done under local anesthesia, although complete healing can take up to three to six weeks. These cysts also have a high rate of recurrence, even when surgically removed.

Created: 5/1/2004  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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