Do Pilonidal Cysts Go Away on Their Own?

Do Pilonidal Cysts Go Away on Their Own?

Do pilonidal cysts go away on their own? With a little bit of time and at-home care, you may be able to resolve the symptoms of an infected pilonidal cyst. Getting rid of the cyst itself is another story, however.

If you're suffering from pilonidal disease, understanding the facts about home treatment can help you determine whether it's time to seek medical care for your condition.

Understanding the Nature of Pilonidal Cysts

A pilonidal cyst is a tract that forms beneath the skin near the top of the buttocks. It's actually more aptly described as a pilonidal sinus.

By whichever name you call it, though, the trouble begins when an infection develops within the channel. A cavity at the base may fill with pus, blood and fluid.

An infected pilonidal sinus can be quite painful. There may be a swollen lump at the cleft of the buttocks. The lump might be red or tender. It's common for blood and pus to ooze from the site. Because of the infection, you might even run a fever.

Treating Pilonidal Cysts at Home

You might be able to soothe a mildly infected pilonidal cyst at home without a doctor's intervention.

Good hygiene should be one of your first steps. During your daily shower, you should clean the area gently with mild soap. Afterward, carefully but thoroughly dry the spot before getting dressed. Keep the area dry throughout the day, and wash up and change clothes if you get sweaty.

Drawing out the infection is the best way to find relief. Soaking your buttocks in a sitz bath or a shallow tub of warm water a few times a day may encourage the pus and fluid to drain naturally. Applying warm compresses can help achieve this as well.

To learn from a medical professional about how to set up and use a sitz bath, watch this video:

(As anxious as you might be for the cyst to drain, don't try piercing it with a needle or popping it by hand, which can lead to complications.)

Although you might not be setting up a doctor's appointment to be seen right away, it can still be helpful to call your provider's office for treatment advice. Your doctor may suggest applying alcohol or another topical product to the area, but it's not something to try without a professional's input.

While waiting for your pilonidal cyst to become less inflamed, over-the-counter pain medication may provide some relief.

Limitations of At-home Pilonidal Care

After some time and tender care, your pilonidal sinus may start to feel much better. It may get to the point that you don't even notice it anymore. When that happens, you might think that your problem is completely solved.

Unfortunately, that's not entirely true. Even after the pus is gone, the sinus tract will remain as part of your body. In other words, a pilonidal cyst will never truly go away on its own.

As long as the tract is there, it has the potential to become infected again. Pilonidal disease can turn into a recurring problem with infections that crop up again and again.

When to Seek Medical Treatment for Pilonidal Cysts

While home care sometimes provides the key to helping a rear end feel better, it's not the solution for everybody.

Situations in which you should schedule an appointment to discuss your pilonidal cyst symptoms with the doctor include:

  • An infection that's accompanied by a fever
  • A cyst that's draining pus
  • Increasing pain and tenderness
  • Symptoms that don't resolve after several days
  • Repeated pilonidal infections

There are several different options that your doctor might employ to address your pilonidal cyst problem.

As an initial in-office treatment, your doctor may perform a drainage procedure. A small incision will be made to allow the pus and fluid to freely drain. This can provide quick relief for the pain and pressure that's been plaguing you.

The doctor may also prescribe antibiotics. Medication alone isn't usually enough to clear up a pilonidal infection, but it may be used in conjunction with a drainage procedure.

If your pilonidal cyst is complicated or you've been dealing with repeated flare-ups, it may be time for surgery. Some doctors perform traditional excisions, but others use minimally invasive procedures, such as laser ablation. Surgical treatment is the only way to truly get rid of a pilonidal cyst.

Effective Treatment for Pilonidal Cysts

Do pilonidal cysts go away on their own? If your case is mild, the symptoms may clear up at home, but the sinus itself will not go away. The only way to get rid of your pilonidal cyst for good is to see a doctor about surgical treatment.

To find a doctor who can help you find long-term pilonidal cyst relief through laser ablation of the sinus tract, use the Adler MicroMed provider finder.

As with all medical issues, your physician is the ultimate source as to what procedure best fits your needs. Discuss all options and get a second opinion if you have any doubts. These articles are intended to be a source of general information only.

Brian Chandler