If you’re reading this post, I assume that you’re aware of a pilonidal cyst, it’s symptoms, treatment options etc. If you don’t yet fully understand a pilonidal cyst, I would recommend you to go through www.pilonidal.org. Please ensure that you get a doctor to diagnose you with a pilonidal cyst. In this post I am strictly going to discuss my experience with a pilonidal cyst and how I cured it without surgery. I have not had a recurrence in 5 years and counting.
I can’t remember exactly when I got a pilonidal cyst, but I believe it was sometime in 2007. I ignored the symptoms initially thinking that it was just a pimple that was taking forever to heal. Surprisingly, it took me forever to realize that ‘the pimple’ was occurring in the same spot over and over again. It wasn’t until late 2010 that I finally went to see a doctor about it who diagnosed me with a pilonidal cyst and referred me to a surgeon to get it removed. When I returned from the doctor’s office, I thought to myself, ‘Well, that was easy!’
But very soon my sigh of relief turned into worry. As I did more research on pilonidal surgery, I realized that there are many different techniques and procedures, and that the rate of recurrence is fairly high. Some techniques were better than others with higher success rates, but long story short, no technique or procedure had a 100% success rate. The success rate also depended, of course, on the surgeon’s skill and experience. Another reason for my worry was the long recovery time and the issues people can have with wound healing in this area. I couldn’t afford to take the time off so I decided to look for an alternative. And I am so glad I did.
I tried various alternative treatments and it took me a while to figure out a treatment that worked for me. The last time I had an active pilonidal cyst was October 2011.
Firstly, I want to mention some of the treatments that I tried but failed.
1) Sitz Baths: These are definitely good when you have an actively infected pilonidal cyst but in my opinion this is not a cure by any means.
2) Castor Oil packs: These are good as well to help heal the infected pilonidal cyst but this is also not a cure.
3) Tea Tree Oil: This helps to calm down an active pilonidal cyst but yet again, not a cure.
A treatment that finally worked
It took me a while to figure this out, about a year. In order to understand the treatment I had to break it down and understand the disease first. The disease results from small pits in your natal cleft which allows dirt, dead skin cells, hair, or just ‘crap’ in general to collect in these pits and eventually the bacteria gets pushed under your skin which results in an abscess. Call it biology, or just the nature of the natal cleft, which allows to hold the ‘crap’ in there for prolonged periods, along with sweat and bacteria to create a perfect environment for infection. The pits in your natal cleft could be a result of slouching, pressure etc. on the skin. Moreover, the abscess/cyst below the skin can form a sinus (or multiple sinuses) that connects the abscess to the outer skin and as a result helps drain the abscess. I had a sinus as well which stayed dormant when there was no active infection but it would drain every time an abscess would form, which was quite frequent, at least once in 2-3 months. And it was easy to sense an infection/abscess coming because it would start hurting in the tailbone area.
I believe that is it absolutely essential to understand why you got a pilonidal cyst in order to successfully treat it. So please definitely read this before you decide if you can treat it without surgery. For me, I believe the reason why I got one is because – 1) A few months before I got a pilonidal cyst I started sitting on the floor (no cushioning) and I used to slouch, basically sitting on my tailbone, 2) I am a hairy individual, and 3) I am a sweaty.
So I came up with a theory. I thought to myself that my first step should be to let the skin under the pits heal completely and the only way to do that was to prevent the abscess from recurring. And the only way to stop the abscess from recurring was to keep the natal cleft clean and relieve pressure off the area. To understand this better, I would like to use the analogy of escape velocity. If you keep throwing a ball towards the sky, it will keep falling back to the surface of the earth because it can’t escape earth’s gravity. But if you throw this ball towards the sky with the earth’s escape velocity of ~11 km/s, you will never see that ball again. So in this analogy, the ball is the abscess, gravity is the pits, dirt, sweat, and bacteria and the escape velocity is healing.
So in order to prevent recurrence and give the area time to heal, I used Oxyclean salicylic acid acne pads to wipe the natal cleft after I shower. You can find these pads at any grocery store like Walmart or simply order it online on amazon. Here is a link to this product. I showered twice a day everyday for a year, once in the morning and once in the evening and wiped the natal cleft with Oxyclean after the shower. The second shower wasn’t a full body shower but it was just to wash the natal cleft. On hot sweaty days I would wipe with Oxyclean a third time during mid-day at around noon. Why did I use salicylic acid? Because I had tried tea tree oil and castor oil before and they seemed to attract and trap more ‘crap’ and cause a recurrence even quicker. But salicylic acid kept the area dry which reduced the amount of ‘crap’ in the area. At night, before going to bed, I applied a homeopathic remedy called Calendula Officianalis tincture which wasn’t really homeopathic because the main ingredient in it wasn’t diluted like other homeopathic remedies. You can buy the tincture at any homeopathic store. The tincture I used had alcohol as a base which also helps to keep the area clean and dry. After a year, of following the above mentioned routine, now I only wipe with Oxyclean pads twice a day and that is it. nd of course shower at least once a day. Pretty easy!
I would highly recommend you to avoid using any remedy that is cream or oil based since it attracts more crap. Along with everything mentioned above I would recommend a generally healthy lifestyle – eat right, sufficient sleep, moderate physical activity etc.