Doctors and providers who treat this condition


Infected Pilonidal Cyst, Antibiotic Treatment

A pilonidal cyst is an enlarged hair follicle on the sacrum near the tail bone. It is present at birth and may look like a small dimple. It can fill with skin oils, hair, and dead skin cells. Because it often has an opening to the surface, it may become infected with normal skin bacteria (staph).

If the infection is limited, it can be treated with antibiotics alone. If the infection is more severe, it will need to be drained with a small incision under local anesthesia.

Home care

The following guidelines will help you care for your wound at home:

  • Sit in a tub filled with about 6 inches of very warm water. Allow the water to run in order to keep it hot for a total of 10 to 15 minutes. Repeat this three times a day until pain is relieved.

  • Apply topical antibiotic cream or ointment. Some antibiotic ointments contain a pain reliever that will be helpful.

  • Take oral antibiotics as prescribed, until finished.

  • You may use acetaminophen or ibuprofen to control pain, unless another medicine was prescribed. If you have chronic liver or kidney disease or ever had a stomach ulcer or GI bleeding, talk with your doctor before using these medicines.

Preventing future infections

Once this infection has healed, observe the following to reduce the risk of future infections:

  • Keep the area of the cyst clean by bathing or showering daily.

  • Avoid tight-fitting clothing to minimize perspiration and irritation of the skin.

  • Recurrent pilonidal cysts may be completely removed by surgery, but this can only be done at a time when there is no infection. Ask your doctor for more information.

  • Be alert for signs of infection listed below so that treatment may be started early.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your doctor as advised by our staff. Check your wound every day for the signs listed below.

When to seek medical advice

Call your health care provider right away if any of these occur:

  • Pus coming from the cyst

  • Increasing local pain, redness or swelling

  • Fever over 100.4°F (38.0°C) for more than two days


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