Pilonidal sinuses

Pilonidal sinuses

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.

Activities that cause friction, like sitting, can force the hair growing in the area to burrow back under the skin. The body considers this hair foreign and launches an immune response against it, similar to how it would react when dealing with a splinter. This immune response forms the cyst around your hair. Sometimes a person may have multiple sinuses that connect under the skin.

Identifying a pilonidal sinus and recognizing signs of infection

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.

Surgery

If you have a recurring PNS or if you have more than one sinus tract, your doctor will recommend a surgical procedure.

You will first be given a local anesthetic. Then, the surgeon will open the lesions, removing all of the pus and debris. Once this process is complete, the surgeon will stitch the wounds closed.

After surgery, your doctor will explain how to change the dressings and will recommend shaving the site to prevent hair from growing into the wound.

What complications are associated with pilonidal sinus disease?

There are a number of complications that may arise from PNS. These include wound infection and a recurrence of the PNS even after surgery.

Signs that the wound is infected include:

  • severe pain.
  • inflamed, swollen skin.
  • a temperature of 38 Celcuis or higher.
  • blood and pus seeping from the wound site.
  • a foul odor coming from the wound.

How are pilonidal sinuses treated?

If you have a recurring PNS or if you have more than one sinus tract, your doctor will recommend a surgical procedure.

You will first be given a local anesthetic. Then, the surgeon will open the lesions, removing all of the pus and debris. Once this process is complete, the surgeon will stitch the wounds closed.

After surgery, your doctor will explain how to change the dressings and will recommend shaving the site to prevent hair from growing into the wound.

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