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.