When is a Cyst a Medical Problem?

Cysts can pop up in various places on your body, both externally (such as a facial cyst from an acne-related condition) and internally (such as ovarian cysts that can cause pain and infertility). When does a cyst require medical attention? Typically, if there’s an infection or a high chance of infection, you should take yourself (and your cyst) to the doctor's office.

At Texas Surgical Care in Kingwood, Texas, Dr. Ronald Ambe treats a special type of cyst that usually manifests in the crease of your buttocks near the base of your spine. These pilonidal cysts can be painful, annoying, and infection-prone, which means you should be seen in our office as soon as possible.

Pilonidal cysts: an overview

Pilonidal cysts form at the base of your spine, typically starting as an ingrown hair, then complicated by intense pressure from sitting for long periods. 

Pilodinal cyst facts:

Men are more likely than women to develop pilonidal cysts. If you’re overweight, your risk for a pilonidal cyst increases, since there’s added pressure at the base of your spine when you sit or recline. 

Pilonidal cysts usually appear between puberty and age 40, although occasionally they show up in children or the aged. People in their twenties who sit all day are the most susceptible demographic.

Symptoms of a cyst

Pilonidal cysts are filled with fluid. They may start out looking like a large pimple or a small boil. Over time, the cyst grows, and the area around it may become red and painful. If a pilonidal cyst becomes infected, the fluid turns nasty, causing bloody, foul drainage and pain. 

Even if the fluid doesn’t become infected, an abscess may open, and clear or cloudy fluid comes draining out. Then the skin closes again (this typically takes four weeks or more to happen naturally). When this happens, a small sinus cavity forms under the skin. This area will be prone to new cysts and infection. 

Treating pilonidal cysts

Dr. Ambe recommends shaving hair around the area or waxing it to avoid ingrown hairs. He may need to surgically drain your cyst if it’s infected, or completely excise it and stitch the wound closed before treating you with antibiotics. Your treatment plan will be customized based on whether this is a recurring problem for you or a first time occurence, your age, gender, hairiness, weight, and overall health. 

To schedule a consultation at Texas Surgical Care to discuss treatment options for your pilonidal cyst, get in touch with Dr. Ambe’s team by calling 832-280-8691, or request an appointment online

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