Pilonidal Sinus: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

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  • Overview of Pilonidal Sinus
  • Quick Facts on Pilonidal Sinus 
  • Causes of Pilonidal Sinus 
  • Signs and Symptoms of Pilonidal Sinus
  • Diagnosis of Pilonidal Sinus
  • Treatment of Pilonidal Sinus
  • Diet for Pilonidal Sinus

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Overview of Pilonidal Sinus

Pilonidal sinus is a cyst or small hole formed near the tailbone (just above the natal cleft). The other terms for pilonidal sinus are cyst and abscess The cyst gets filled with pus and becomes inflamed. Along with the pus, the cyst also contains hair, debris, dirt, and some blood. Usually, it also leads to malodorous discharge. It causes itching and excruciating pain. In mild cases, the sinus tends to heal on its own, but mostly, minor surgery is needed. The common reason for pilonidal sinus is unhygienic conditions and long hours of sitting. Shopkeepers and cab drivers who require to sit for long hours at a stretch are more prone to developing a pilonidal sinus.

Quick Facts on Pilonidal Sinus 

  • When Pilonidal sinus is left untreated, it may lead to multiple cysts and tracts of the sinus.

  • In severe and rare cases, the chances of developing skin cancer in the cyst are higher.

  • People with excessive, coarse body hair and who sweat a lot are more likely to develop a pilonidal sinus.

  • Males are more likely to develop a pilonidal sinus.

  • Deep natal cleft makes a person more prone to the pilonidal cyst.

Causes of Pilonidal Sinus 

  • Wearing tight clothes leading excess sweat and dirt deposit in the natal cleft

  • Hair puncture

  • Hormonal changes in the body

  • Sitting for long hours

  • Rubbing the skin hardly creating an opening for the hair fall area

  • Excess and coarse hair growth on the body

Signs and Symptoms of Pilonidal Sinus

Symptoms tend to differ as the condition keeps getting severe. The symptoms may include:

  • Formation of a small dimple like structure

  • Large painful mass

  • Watery, purulent discharge from the pilonidal sinus 

  • Pain while sitting or a little push due to tight clothing

  • When infected, the skin turns red and delicate

  • Feeling nauseous and weak frequently

Diagnosis of Pilonidal Sinus

The doctor will first thoroughly examine the pilonidal sinus and then ask in detail regarding the symptoms and medications you have ever taken for pilonidal sinus. Physical examination is necessary to understand how severe the condition is.

Treatment of Pilonidal Sinus

Home Remedies for Pilonidal Sinus

Home remedies are quite effective in reducing the symptoms of pilonidal sinus. The best and most effective home remedies are as follows:

Tea tree oil-

Tea tree oil is easily available in the market. This remedy can do wonders in terms of skincare. It is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory in nature and also acts as an antioxidant. Apply only 2-3 drops of tea tree oil with the help of cotton, twice a day and leave it for 2-3 hours and then wash it. It lowers the chances of the infection spreading and soothes the tender skin. Practice it regularly till the time the cyst disappears.

Castor Oil

- Castor oil helps in subsiding the swelling of the pilonidal sinus. It also fastens the healing and prevents the risk of further infection. Apply 2-3 drops of oil on the cyst and leave it for some time. Apply the oil 2-3 times every day.


Get a slice of onion and place it over the cyst with the help of a bandage. Leave it only for a few hours. The antibacterial properties of the onion prevent the infection from increasing and can potentially save you from undergoing surgery. 

Coconut Oil

- Coconut oil has soothing effects on the skin. The antimicrobial properties stop the infection from spreading. Gently apply the organic coconut oil on the cyst affected area twice a day for effective results.

Black tea-

Black tea acts as an antioxidant. Take a used tea bag and gently place it over the cyst. It will provide instant relief from the pain. You can repeat it 2-3 times in a day.

Hot and Cold Compress-

Hot and cold compress keeps the blood regulation fine and speeds up the healing process. Use any soft towel for the purpose and leave it on the cyst for 10-15 minutes. Do it 2-3 times every day for speedy healing.

Surgical Laser Treatment for Pilonidal Sinus

If the symptoms of pilonidal sinus keep getting severe with time and all the remedies fail, then reach out to your nearest doctor. The modern laser-assisted technique to get rid of pilonidal sinus is more effective than any other remedies. If your condition has reached a stage where surgery is needed, we advise you to immediately reach out to the best pilonidal sinus doctor for the advanced surgical treatment instead of open surgery. Do not delay the treatment, to avoid any complications. The benefits of laser surgery include no diet restrictions, no repeated visits to the hospital. One of the advantages of these surgeries is that they can be done in all age groups as the risk is minimal.

Diet for Pilonidal Sinus


Garlic is one of the very popular and easily available home remedies for pilonidal cysts. It has both antibiotic and antifungal effects. You can use garlic in your regular diet and have raw slices or crushed cloves. It lowers the chances of infections.


Turmeric has curcumin. Curcumin contains powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It effectively helps in healthy digestion process. Adding a teaspoon of turmeric in a cup of warm milk or water and drinking it can have wonderful healing effects.

Apple cider vinegar

It improves the digestion process and also aids in reducing the pain and inflammation of the cyst. You can have a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, mix it in a glass of warm water and drink it twice a day.


The seeds of fenugreek are widely acknowledged for their medicinal properties like anticarcinogenic, antioxidant and immunological qualities. Fenugreek prevents any kind of inflammation in the body. Just boil the seeds with water, strain and consume the cooled water 3-4 times a day.


Honey is a natural antiseptic and anti-inflammatory substance. Its antibacterial properties impart healing effects on the cyst and it strongly fights the infection. Have a teaspoon of honey in warm water and drink it every day.

Frequently asked Questions

How do I know I have Pilonidal Sinus?

Some of the symptoms to look out for Pilonidal Sinus are:

  • Formation of a small dimple like structure
  • Large painful mass
  • Watery, purulent discharge from the pilonidal sinus
  • Pain while sitting or a little push due to tight clothing

Where does Pilonidal Sinus develop?

Pilonidal sinus is a cyst or a small hole that can appear near the tailbone (just above the natal cleft). The cyst contains pus and is inflamed. Along with the pus, the cyst also contains hair, debris, dirt, and some blood. It often causes the malodorous discharge. The sinus causes itching and excruciating pain.


Can a pilonidal sinus heal on its own?

In some cases, a pilonidal sinus can heal on its own. But then it can recur and cause other infections also. Hence, it is recommended to undergo laser surgeries that provide permanent relief and it is completely painless.


Is Pilonidal Sinus preventive?

Yes, it is absolutely preventive. It can be prevented by keeping the area clean, losing weight if needed or not sitting long without any break. But once developed, it can be treated with surgeries, especially laser-based.


Can the drainage of pus out from the cyst be done at home?

You should not try to drain the cyst on your own because it increases the chances of infection. Due to the lack of sterile materials, bacteria can enter the wound and cause an infection. Hence, it is better if you get the treatment from a specialist only.


How pilonidal sinus is diagnosed?

Pilonidal sinus can be diagnosed with the physical examination of the affected area. There are other tests that can be done if there are complications or if the doctor finds that there are some other causes.


Is it safe to undergo surgery for Pilonidal Sinus?

Yes, it is completely safe to undergo the modern laser-based treatment for Pilonidal Sinus. There are no big cuts or incisions involved and the patient heals faster with minimal pain after the surgery. Within 24-48 hours the person is discharged.


What is the recovery time of laser surgery for the Pilonidal Sinus?

Recovery time depends upon the patient's condition and it usually varies between 12- 25 days.


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