Pilonidal disease is a painful, chronic skin condition in which an individual suffers from frequent pilonidal cysts. These cysts form in the natal cleft near the tailbone. Pilonidal cysts are filled with pus and hair follicles. They can grow to be very large, and have the possibility of becoming debilitating.
Who Typically Gets Pilonidal Disease?
A Family history of pilonidal cysts may be risk factor for developing the disease. Obesity, a sedentary lifestyle and poor personal hygiene are all thought to predispose an individual to develop cysts. Caucasians tend to develop pilonidal cysts more than other groups, and Pilonidal disease mostly affects men from the onset of puberty until they reach their thirties.
How is Pilonidal Disease Treated?
If a cyst becomes infected, a minor surgical procedure may be necessary. In a minor surgery, a cysts is drained by a healthcare professional. Afterwards, dirt and hair is removed from the cyst and the wound is packed. If your doctor is concerned about possible infection, he or she may prescribe antibiotics for you to take for at least two weeks.
More chronic cases of palonidal cysts are deemed palonidal disease. These cases are best treated with a pilonidal cystectomy. During this procedure, a surgeon will excise a large amount of skin and the tissue beneath. The area will then be packed with gauze, and a drainage tube may placed. Because the cyst is hard to remove entirely, it may still come back after surgery. A patient who undergoes a pilonidal cystectomy will most likely need to stay in the hospital for an extended time.
Natural Ways to Prevent and Treat Cysts
There are a few natural remedies to prevent these painful cysts from forming, and these cures may help ease the pain of cysts that have already become inflamed.
The best way to prevent a pilonidal cyst from forming is to regularly shave off the hair in the natal cleft. Because damaged hair follicles are thought to be one of the causes of the disease, hair removal is thought to prevent occurrence. In an 2011 article in the Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery, doctors Wagih Mommtaz Ghnnam1 and Dhafer Mohmmed Hafez advocate for laser hair removal after the cystectomy.
Prevent the formation of new cysts by keeping the area clean. Use a mild cleanser on the cyst-prone area at least twice a day. Avoid using harsh cleaners that could aggravate the area, and keep the area dry after washing. Wet skin can easily move a localized infection to other areas of the body.
Castor Oil Packs
A castor oil pack is another way to treat a cyst. Dr. Eli Camp, a licensed naturopathic doctor, recommends wetting a small piece of clean cotton cloth with castor oil and placing it over the affected area for 10-15 minutes. Dr. Camp reports that completing this treatment twice a day can draw out the impurities from the cyst.
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