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Pilonidal Disease

Pilonidal disease is a skin infection in the natal cleft between the base of the spine and the anus.

The condition develops due to a reaction of hairs embedded in the skin of the natal cleft. There are three common forms of Pilonidal disease.

Pilonidal Sinus

Pilonidal sinus is a sinus tract that commonly contains hairs. It occurs under the skin between the buttocks (the natal cleft) a short distance above the anus. The sinus track can become infected with pus and develop a small open cavity containing hair.

Pilonidal Abscess

Pilonidal abscess is an acute infection containing hair and a collection of pus in a closed cavity. The area becomes red and painful.

Pilonidal Cyst

A pilonidal cyst is a closed cavity containing hair. The cysts are not acutely infected but may be inflamed, persistent and irritating.

Factors that may contribute to the risk of pilonidal disease include:

  • thick, coarse body hair
  • long periods of sitting
  • gender (the condition is more common in males)
  • obesity