A pilonidal sinus, also known as PNS, is a small hole or tunnel in the skin. It may fill with pus or fluid that forms an abscess or cyst. It occurs in the cleft at the top of the buttocks and usually contains dirt, debris, and hair. A PNS can get infected and cause pain. It may ooze pus and blood with a foul odour if it becomes infected. This condition mostly affects men, especially young adults. PNS is more prone to happen in people who sit for long durations, have a lot of body hairs at the lower back, or are overweight.
Causes The actual cause of this condition is still unknown. However, it is believed that friction from clothes, hair growth and long-time sitting often cause this problem. Activities like sitting that causes friction can force the hair growing in the area to burrow back under the skin. Our body considers this hair foreign and deploys an immune response against it. This immune response forms the cyst around the hair.
Symptoms A PNS does not always cause symptoms, and you only need pilonidal sinus treatment if it becomes infected. At first, it appears like a slight, dimple-like depression on the surface of the skin. However, this small depression may turn into an abscess or cyst if it gets infected. The common symptoms of infection include:
- Pain when sitting
- Many people with pilonidal sinus also experience pain when standing
- Reddened and sore skin around the area
- Hair protruding from the lesion
- Cyst swelling
- Blood and pus draining from the abscess etc.
Treatment Below are the few methods that can be used for treating pilonidal sinuses:
- Conservative treatment: Your doctor will prescribe a broad spectrum of antibiotics if you don’t experience severe pain or inflammation in your pilonidal sinus. It is essential to understand that broad-spectrum antibiotics don’t heal the sinus tract directly but give you relief from the infection and discomfort.
- Phenol injection: Getting this type of injection is an effective way to treat pilonidal sinus. Your doctor will give you a local anaesthetic first before injecting phenol injection. Phenol is a chemical compound that is used as an antiseptic into the cyst.
- Lancing: This is an excellent method to alleviate the symptoms and collecting pus and blood from the sinus. In this process, your doctor will give you a local anaesthetic first and, after that, use a scalpel to open the abscess. He will clean pus, blood, and hair inside the abscess.
You can also visit me to avail of the highest quality minimal invasive treatment for pilonidal disease. I, Dr Rajarshi Mitra, is a full-time specialist general & laparoscopic surgeon at NMC Specialty Hospital Abu Dhabi. I often recommend pilonidal sinus operation to those who have a recurring PNS and more than one sinus tract. You can always trust me for treating your pilonidal sinus.