How to Prevent Pilonidal Cysts: A Quick Guide

How to Prevent Pilonidal Cysts: A Quick Guide

No one wants to deal with the pain and misery of an inflamed pilonidal cyst. Whether you want to avoid a first occurrence or are trying to ward off a recurrence, prevention is key. To keep your rear end healthy, familiarize yourself with this critical information on how to prevent pilonidal cysts.

Good Hygiene

A pilonidal cyst, also known as a pilonidal sinus, occurs when an unnatural channel forms in the skin at the top of the buttocks. Dirt, dead cells, oil and bacteria from the surface of the skin may travel down into the tunnel. As this material accumulates at the end of the channel, an infection might start to brew.

By regularly cleaning your buttocks with soap and water, you can keep oil and bacteria in check and rinse away dirt. Plus, gentle scrubbing will exfoliate dead skin cells so they wash down the drain instead of making their way into your pilonidal sinus.

After cleansing, be sure to dry the skin gently but thoroughly. Bacteria flourish in damp places, so getting dressed before you've completely dried off might increase your risk of an infected pilonidal cyst.

Along those same lines, sweat can be particularly problematic. After exercising or spending time outside on a hot day, make showering, drying off and changing into clean clothes a priority.

Regular Activity

What initially causes the unnatural channel of a pilonidal sinus to form? Experts aren't entirely sure of the exact mechanism, but it seems to be linked to hair. One idea is that a stray hair might burrow into the skin and cause inflammation. Another thought is that the hair follicle itself becomes irritated.

Either way, pressure in this region can make things worse. It could inflame a follicle or drive an errant piece of hair under the skin.

The more time you spend sitting, the more opportunity there is for a problem to occur. Resting on hard seats can be particularly rough on your rear end.

Whenever possible, get moving! The less time you spend in a chair, the less you'll have to worry about this issue. Pilonidal cyst prevention is just one of the many ways that regular exercise can benefit your health.

Your job might be a contributing factor in your sedentary lifestyle, but try to take walking breaks as often as possible. While that might be feasible with a desk job, it can be more challenging for people like truck drivers who are on the road for long stretches. In that case, a padded seat cushion could be a good investment.

One word of caution: Although exercise is critical, bicycling might not be the most suitable activity. Bike seats typically apply pressure just where you want to avoid it.

Weight Loss

Excess pounds may place pressure on your tailbone area as well, so some studies indicate that being overweight might increase your pilonidal sinus risk. For example, in one small survey of adolescents with pilonidal disease, over half were considered overweight or obese.

If you want to lower your risk of a pilonidal cyst, take steps toward weight loss. Increased exercise is one key to dropping pounds. Changing your diet may make a significant difference as well.

It's always a good idea to talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine or diet. Your healthcare provider can provide ideas for losing pounds in a safe and healthy fashion.

Hair Removal

Because stray hairs, especially coarse or stiff ones, are thought to be a major culprit in the development of pilonidal sinuses, some people choose to remove body hair from this area. You might find this especially worthwhile if you have a lot of excess hair.

Some people finding shaving the easiest and cheapest method to use. If you choose to shave, you should perform the task at least once a week.

Depilatory creams are another at-home option to try. For a more permanent solution, you could ask your doctor about laser hair removal.

You can learn more about laser hair removal in this video:

Loose Clothing

Sometimes, even the clothing you wear could put excess pressure on your tailbone area. If pilonidal cysts are a serious concern for you, it might be time to take a good look at your wardrobe.

Too-tight clothes can chafe your skin and press on your buttocks. Items to steer clear of include compression shorts, yoga leggings, shapewear and thong underwear. Snug jeans can be problematic as well. Swap these items out for looser garments that don't constrict your hips and buttocks as much.

Although there's no surefire way to prevent all pilonidal disease from occurring, there are important steps you can take to protect your tailbone area. These include staying clean, getting exercise, dropping pounds, removing excess hair and choosing your wardrobe with care.

If you want to know more about how to prevent pilonidal cysts, speak to a colorectal specialist. The Adler MicroMed provider finder can help you locate a doctor in your area.

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