Can you pop a pilonidal cyst? (An Overview)

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Page last updated: 23/09/2022

In this blog post, we are going to answer the question, “Can you pop a pilonidal cyst?”. Pilonidal cysts are large, pus filled cysts which contain a whole lot of other debris in them. 

They can get pretty uncomfortable and may tempt some people to be popped. However, it can have complications of its own. This blog will cover how you should treat your pilonidal cyst and why popping it yourself is a bad option. 

Can you pop a pilonidal cyst? 

No, you should not pop a pilonidal cyst. It is not a pimple or a boil, but an entire cyst which can grow incredibly large and uncomfortable. If you pop your cyst at home, it not only can get pretty nasty, but it can also get infected. 

The location of the cyst also makes it difficult for you to manage it yourself. If you have a cyst or you think you have one, just reach out to your healthcare provider as soon as you can. Handling it on your own can make your condition worse. 

You don’t know at which stage the growth of the cyst is and what complications could arise from it. Pilonidal cysts usually contain hair and skin debris in them and once they burst or start to drain, a bunch of stuff keeps coming out of them. 

You may not be able to empty the cyst on your own and some hair and debris may remain in it. This can give rise to an infection and can create an awkward situation at home. You need to be at a doctor’s office if you wish to get your cyst drained properly and effectively. 

What actually is a pilonidal cyst? 

A pilonidal cyst is an outgrowth of the skin, like a pocket, which contains hair and dead skin cells. It is usually on the top of your buttocks or your tailbone and can grow pretty large in size. The large cyst can make sitting and lying down a bit uncomfortable for you. 

The cyst is usually not infected, but it can get infected. It worsens the situation because the infected cyst is extremely painful and filled with pus. That cyst is removed through surgery and you have to complete an antibiotic treatment to remove the residue of bacteria. 

Make sure you go to your healthcare provider as soon as you begin to suspect you have a cyst. It can get worse on its own. Make sure you have it checked out. 

What are the symptoms associated with a pilonidal cyst? 

A pilonidal cyst usually feels uncomfortable and doesn’t have any other symptoms really, but if the cyst gets infected, that is when the trouble begins. The signs and symptoms associated with an infected cyst include:

  • Pain 
  • Swelling around the cyst
  • Redness
  • Smelly pus/discharge 
  • Burning sensation 

Smelly discharge from a broken part of the cyst is one of the main signs of an infection. Make sure you reach out to your healthcare provider right away. 

Can you pop a pilonidal cyst? (An Overview)

What people are at risk of developing a pilonidal cyst? 

Experts have not figured out the actual cause of pilonidal cyst yet, but it can be affected by a number of factors. People who have ingrown hair are more susceptible to developing this problem. Wearing tight clothing, especially jeans can also put pressure on your skin and trap the sweat. 

This can give rise to a pilonidal cyst. Experts believe that people who are into bicycling usually get this cyst because of the prolonged position of their body. It can also be caused if you keep sitting for longer periods of time or you have a sedentary and unhygienic lifestyle. 

If the cyst develops, there is nothing you can do but manage it properly and keep it clean. However, there might be some way to prevent it by reducing the risk factors, which include:

  • Obesity
  • Sedentary lifestyle 
  • Not keeping track of your hygiene 
  • More body hair than usual 
  • Prolonged sitting period 
  • Stiff hair
  • Male gender
  • People in their 20s

What are the treatment options for pilonidal cysts? 

Pilonidal cyst which is not infected may just be left as it is to go away with time. This too is decided according to the size of thd cyst. Infected cysts, however, are more difficult to deal with because of the entire colony of bacteria living in it. 

The procedure does not require much and can be a quick one. Your doctor may inject you with a local anaesthetic to numb the area. Then a small incision is usually made and the cyst is carefully drained. You’re then allowed to leave with a proper antibiotic regimen. 

However, this method may cause recurrence of your pilonidal cyst and may require a proper and detailed surgical procedure to remove the entire cyst. After this procedure, your doctor may go for two options. The first is to leave the surgical wound open by not stitching it up. 

This may take longer to heal, but it does somehow ensure that the cyst will not recur. However, several surveys have revealed that the closed wound or the stitched wound can cause the recurrence of development of the cyst, which may require another procedure in order to be drained and cured. 

This indicates that an unstitched wound is a better option, which is usually covered by antiseptic dressing. However, this open wound needs much more care. It should be kept away from any dirt or pressure or any activity that may delay the process of healing. 

Your doctor may explain properly the exact method of keeping your wound safe and clean. He or she may also give you some insight into the wound healing process that should be expected and what is considered abnormal. 

You will be asked to keep your wound area shaved so that no hair will enter the open wound. Make sure you follow these instructions properly if you wish your wound to heal faster. 

How to prevent a pilonidal cyst? 

You can try to eliminate some of the risk factors to avoid the occurrence of pilonidal cyst. Obesity and sedentary lifestyle are the most common causes of making you suffer in not one, but numerous ways. Staying active is the best way to fight against obesity and sedentarism. 

Make sure you workout at least 3 to 4 times a week. Exercise releases happy chemicals in your brain. It not only makes you feel good, but also spikes your energy levels. 

Morning workout is considered most efficient for burning calories. Go for a walk or do 10 minutes of high intensity interval training (HITT). It not only helps you to overcome sleepiness caused by gabapentin, but it also makes your body healthy, like actually healthy. 

Some of the best exercises to increase energy levels include:

  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Tai Chi
  • Resistance strength training

Drink plenty of water. Water clears out toxins from your body. Try making a detox water by adding your favourite fruits in it. You can add lemon, cucumber, kiwi, oranges, berries, ginger etc, to make drinking water less boring. 

This will not only add taste, but also makes your water nutritious and full of antioxidants. It is also extremely important to take care of your hygiene and do not wear clothing that is too tight or too uncomfortable. 

Make sure you keep moving even if you have a sedentary desk job. Take some time to take a brief walk or stretch your muscles. Just do not remain in one position for a long time. 

Conclusion

In this blog post, we have discussed the complications of popping your pilonidal cyst on your own. A pilonidal cyst is an outgrowth of the skin, like a pocket, which contains hair and dead skin cells. It is usually on the top of your buttocks or your tailbone and can grow pretty large in size. 

If you have a cyst or you think you have one, just reach out to your healthcare provider as soon as you can. Make sure you go to your healthcare provider as soon as you begin to suspect you have a cyst. It can get worse on its own. 

Make sure you have it checked out. You can try eliminate some of the risk factors to avoid the occurrence of pilonidal cyst. Make sure you opt for a healthy diet and lifestyle and keep moving. 

FAQs: popping a pilonidal cyst 

Is it okay to pop a pilonidal cyst at home?

No, you should not pop a pilonidal cyst. It is not a pimple or a boil, but an entire cyst which can grow incredibly large and uncomfortable. If you pop your cyst at home, it not only can get pretty nasty, but it can also get infected. The location of the cyst also makes it difficult for you to manage it yourself. If you have a cyst or you think you have one, just reach out to your healthcare provider as soon as you can. 

Can I drain a pilonidal cyst myself?

No. You don’t know at which stage the growth of the cyst is and what complications could arise from it. Pilonidal cysts usually contain hair and skin debris in them and once they burst or start to drain, a bunch of stuff keeps coming out of them. You may not be able to empty the cyst on your own and some hair and debris may remain in it. This can give rise to an infection and can create an awkward situation at home. 

Can you squeeze a pilonidal cyst? 

It is not recommended to squeeze your pilonidal cyst. If you have a cyst or you think you have one, just reach out to your healthcare provider as soon as you can. Make sure you go to your healthcare provider as soon as you begin to suspect you have a cyst. It can get worse on its own. 

What happens if a pilonidal cyst bursts?

Pilonidal cysts usually contain hair and skin debris in them and once they burst or start to drain, a bunch of stuff keeps coming out of them. You may not be able to empty the cyst on your own and some hair and debris may remain in it. This can give rise to an infection and can create an awkward situation at home. You need to be at a doctor’s office if you wish to get your cyst drained properly and effectively. 

Should I go to the ER for a pilonidal cyst?

Yes, you should definitely go to the ER if you think your pilonidal cyst has become infected. Your doctor may inject you with a local anaesthetic to numb the area. Then a small incision is usually made and the cyst is carefully drained. You’re then allowed to leave with a proper antibiotic regimen. However, this method may cause recurrence of your pilonidal cyst and may require a proper and detailed surgical procedure to remove the entire cyst.

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