Dec 15,2023

Pilonidal Disease: Symptoms, Causes, and Definition

Pilonidal disease, often unfamiliar to many, can significantly impact one’s quality of life. This condition is characterized by the development of cysts or abscesses near the cleft of the buttocks, causing discomfort and potential complications. In this comprehensive overview, we delve into the symptoms, causes, and definition of pilonidal disease, emphasizing the importance of consulting a specialist for effective management.

Defining Pilonidal Disease

Pilonidal disease is a chronic skin condition that primarily affects the sacrococcygeal region, located at the base of the spine. The term “pilonidal” originates from the Latin words “pilus” (hair) and “nidus” (nest), highlighting the role of hair in the development of this condition. Pilonidal disease commonly manifests as cysts, sinuses, or abscesses, often filled with hair and debris.

Symptoms of Pilonidal Disease

Understanding the symptoms is crucial for early detection and intervention. Individuals with pilonidal disease may experience:


  • Pain and Tenderness: The development of painful lumps or cysts in the affected area is a common symptom.
  • Swelling and Redness: The skin over the pilonidal cyst may become swollen and red, indicating inflammation.
  • Drainage of Pus or Blood: Cysts may rupture, leading to the drainage of pus or blood, accompanied by a foul odor.
  • Fever and Fatigue: In severe cases or when an infection occurs, individuals may experience systemic symptoms such as fever and fatigue.

Causes of Pilonidal Disease

The exact cause of pilonidal disease remains under investigation, but certain factors contribute to its development:


  • Hair Follicle Irritation: The presence of excess hair in the sacrococcygeal region can lead to irritation of the hair follicles, triggering the formation of cysts.
  • Friction and Trauma: Prolonged sitting, repetitive trauma, or friction in the buttock cleft can contribute to the development of pilonidal disease.
  • Genetic Predisposition: Some individuals may have a genetic predisposition to pilonidal disease, making them more susceptible to its occurrence.

Consulting a Pilonidal Disease Specialist

Given the potential complications and chronic nature of pilonidal disease, seeking professional medical advice is crucial. A pilonidal disease specialist, often a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, possesses the expertise to diagnose and provide targeted treatment options.


  • Accurate Diagnosis: Specialists can accurately diagnose pilonidal disease through physical examination and, if necessary, imaging studies.
  • Tailored Treatment Plans: A specialist can develop a personalized treatment plan based on the severity of the condition, which may include drainage, antibiotics, or surgical intervention.
  • Preventive Measures: Specialists can also guide individuals on preventive measures, such as proper hygiene and lifestyle modifications, to reduce the risk of recurrence.


Empower yourself with knowledge about pilonidal disease to take control of your well-being. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms, don’t hesitate to seek expert guidance. Dr. Som, a seasoned pilonidal disease specialist, is here to offer personalized care and support. Take the first step towards a healthier, pain-free future by scheduling a consultation with Dr. Som today. Your journey to relief begins with informed decisions and expert care.