Pilonidal disease is a subcutaneous skin infection that occurs in the upper half of the gluteal cleft (the tailbone area, and/or between the buttocks).
The term “Pilonidal” means nest of hairs. Interestingly, in 50% of reported cases, there was not any hair found within the pilonidal abscess. This is routinely the case for females. Although hair can contribute, the most common cause of pilonidal disease is an exploded follicle called a pit, which is located in the gluteal cleft, or midline region (between the buttocks).
Who is at risk for Pilonidal disease?
Pilonidal disease is only slightly more common in men than women, and is most likely to occur between the ages of 16 – 26, correlating with puberty. It should be noted that pilonidal disease can develop in younger and older age groups. Pilonidal disease occurs less in Asian and black populations. Other risk factors of pilonidal disease include:
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Individuals with more body hair
- Occupations with prolonged sitting
Diagnosing Pilonidal Disease
Pilonidal disease, similar to a large pimple, can burst through the skin by itself or may need to be lanced or drained to let the infected fluid escape. Pilonidal disease is classified into three stages: