Home Remedies

15 Effective Home Treatments For Pilonidal Cysts

by
ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition
15 Effective Home Treatments For Pilonidal Cysts September 19, 2017

You experience this pain everytime you visit the washroom, but you can’t place a finger on where this pain is originating from. Pilonidal cysts develop at the edge of the tailbone and cause pain and discomfort, especially when you need to defecate. Sounds scary? Don’t worry. This condition, in its initial stages, can be treated at home. To know more, read on.

A pilonidal cyst is a sac-like structure that develops on the edge of the coccyx or the tailbone, near the parting of the buttocks (1). The cysts usually have hair and collect debris from dead skin cells. Pilonidal cysts can be either asymptomatic, i.e., you do not feel any pain or discomfort at all, or show symptoms like inflammation and pain.

But let me assure you this is not an incurable condition. In fact, you can get relief from these symptoms and also get rid of the pilonidal cyst with the use of various home remedies. We have listed the best of them for you in this article. But first, let us understand this condition better before we look at the remedies available to treat this condition.

Symptoms Of Pilonidal Cysts

  • Pain at the bottom of the spine
  • Redness and swelling in this area
  • Tender to touch
  • Pus draining from abscess
  • Bad smell from the pus drainage
  • Fever (2, 3)

Causes Of Pilonidal Cysts

There are several theories surrounding the causes of these cysts, but so far, none of them has been proved to be consistent in any of the pilonidal cysts cases. One of the theories is that loose hair penetrates into the skin’s subcutaneous layer through follicles that have dilated. Due to this ingrown hair, a cyst forms around the hair and increases in volume due to the accumulating skin debris. It is also believed that repeated trauma or excessive pressure makes a person prone to this condition (2, 3).

Who Can Get Pilonidal Cysts?

  • A Family history of pilonidal cysts or occupations involving long hours of sitting is a contributing factor for the development of cysts.
  • Males with a deep natal cleft are more prone to developing pilonidal cysts.
  • Those who have a lot of hair in the cleft area too may develop cysts. If a person has a lot of hair in the cleft area, they can undergo laser hair removal to reduce the chances of cyst development.

Following are the home remedies for pilonidal cysts.

Home Treatment For Pilonidal Cysts

  1. Tea Tree Oil
  2. Baking Soda
  3. Castor Oil
  4. Onions
  5. Honey Cinnamon Paste
  6. Epsom Salt
  7. Coconut Oil
  8. Burdock Root
  9. Bloodroot Powder
  10. Black Tea
  11. Apple Cider Vinegar
  12. Hot/ Cold Compress
  13. Garlic
  14. Aloe Vera
  15. Fenugreek

Pilonidal Cyst Home Remedies

1. Tea Tree Oil And Pilonidal Cysts

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need
  • 2-3 drops tea tree oil
  • A cotton ball
  • A band-aid
What You Have To Do
  1. Put the oil on the cotton ball and place this on the cyst.
  2. Hold the cotton in place with the help of the band-aid.
  3. Leave this on for a few hours.
How Often You Should Do This

Repeat this 2-3 times a day until the cyst heals.

Why This Works

Tea tree oil contains plenty of antioxidants, which reduce inflammation of the pilonidal cysts. With its antifungal and antibacterial properties, tea tree oil quickly dries up the boil and minimizes chances of further infection. It also helps in tissue development around the cyst (4).

[ Read: Yoga Asanas To Treat Ovarian Cysts ]

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2. Baking Soda

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix the two together to get a paste.
  2. Apply this on the pilonidal cyst and let it sit for 15-20 minutes.
  3. Rinse it off with water.
How Often You Should Do This

Apply this every day until the cyst heals.

Why This Works

Baking soda and vinegar both possess antimicrobial properties that will deal with the infection at the cyst area. Also, baking soda will help to reduce the inflammation and soothe the irritated skin (5, 6).

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3. Castor Oil

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need

2-3 drops castor oil

What You Have To Do

Massage the affected site with castor oil and leave the oil on. You can also cover the cyst with a cotton wad soaked in castor oil and wrap it with a bandage.

How Often You Should Do This

Apply castor oil 2-3 times in a day.

Why This Works

Castor oil is also an effective remedy for a pilonidal cyst. It is useful in reducing swelling as it has anti-inflammatory properties. It also accelerates the healing process of the cyst and takes care of any infection that may be present with its antimicrobial components (7, 8).

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4. Onions

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need
  • A thick slice of onion
  • Bandage
What You Have To Do

Place the onion slice on the affected area and hold it in place with the help of a bandage.

How Often You Should Do This

Change the onion slice every 2-3 hours.

Why This Works

Onion has antimicrobial properties because of which it can be effectively used to treat the pilonidal cyst infection (9).

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5. Honey-Cinnamon Paste

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
What You Have To Do
  1. Make a paste by mixing the cinnamon powder with honey.
  2. Smear this paste on the cyst and let it sit for as long as possible.
How Often You Should Do This

Repeat this 1-2 times daily.

Why This Works

When you think of anti-inflammatory substances, honey is the first one that comes to mind. It also has antiseptic properties and can reduce the symptoms of pilonidal cyst very quickly (10). Cinnamon also has antimicrobial properties and tissue regenerative properties that will speed up the healing process (11).

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6. Epsom Salt

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need
  • 4-5 teaspoons Epsom salt
  • A bathtub
  • Warm water
What You Have To Do
  1. Draw a warm water bath and add the Epsom salt to the water.
  2. Soak yourself in this for 15-20 minutes.

You can also use calming bath salts like lavender salt.

How Often You Should Do This

Repeat this every alternate day until the cyst heals.

Why This Works

Epsom salt helps in drawing out the excess liquid that may have been stored in the subcutaneous layer of the skin, like in boils and cysts. It also helps in reducing irritation or inflammation that is usually associated with pilonidal cysts. This warm salt bath will not only calm you after a long, stressful day but also help in healing pilonidal cysts (12).

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7. Coconut Oil

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need

1/2 teaspoon organic coconut oil

What You Have To Do
  1. Melt the oil in between your fingertips and apply generously on the affected skin.
  2. Leave the oil on for a couple of hours.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this twice a day

Why This Works

Coconut oil is antibacterial and antifungal in nature. It also reduces inflammation and nourishes the skin with healthy fatty acids (13, 14).

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8. Burdock Root

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried burdock root powder
  • 1 tablespoon honey
What You Have To Do
  1. Make a paste with the ingredients and apply on the cyst.
  2. Keep the paste on for a few hours.
How Often You Should Do This

Apply this 2-3 times in a day.

Why This Works

Burdock root is often used to treat skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. When employed in the treatment of pilonidal cysts, it helps to draw out the toxins and heal the cyst (15).

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9. Bloodroot Powder

You Will Need
  • 1/8 teaspoon bloodroot powder
  • 2 tablespoons castor oil
  • Q-tip
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix the oil and bloodroot powder and keep it in an air-tight container.
  2. Using a Q-tip, take some of this oil and apply on the cyst.
How Often You Should Do This

Reapply 3-4 times in a day.

Why This Works

Bloodroot powder helps to reduce the inflammation and the infection that is aggravating the cyst (16).

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10. Black Tea

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need

A black tea bag

What You Have To Do
  1. Take a used tea bag while it is still warm and place it on the cyst.
  2. Leave it on for 5-10 minutes.

You can use a green tea bag if you do not have any black tea bags at home.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this 3-4 times in a day.

Why This Works

Placing a black tea bag will reduce the pain and swelling. This is because black tea contains flavonoids (antioxidants) that help to bring down the inflammation. Black tea is also antibacterial in nature (17, 18).

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11. Apple Cider Vinegar

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Cotton ball
  • Band-aid
What You Have To Do
  1. Dilute the vinegar with water and soak the cotton ball in this.
  2. Place this cotton on the cyst and press gently.
  3. Secure the cotton ball in place with the band-aid.
How Often You Should Do This

Repeat this twice a day. Before changing the vinegar-soaked cotton, wash the area clean with a mild soap and water.

Why This Works

The vinegar, being acidic in nature, helps in balancing the pH levels of the skin and exerts an antimicrobial effect at the site of application. It also removes toxins from the pilonidal cyst and reduces the swelling (19, 20).

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12. Hot/Cold Compress

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need
  • A soft towel
  • Hot water or cold water
What You Have To Do
  1. Dip the towel completely in hot water. Remove and wring out the excess water.
  2. Place this hot towel on the cyst for 10-15 minutes.

Follow the same steps for a cold compress.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this 2-3 times in a day.

Why This Works

Both hot and cold compresses help in increasing blood circulation around the cyst and speed up the healing process. The swelling also reduces with this remedy (21).

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13. Garlic

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • Water
What You Have To Do
  1. Grind the garlic with some water to get a thick paste.
  2. Smear this on the affected area and keep it on for 20-30 minutes.
  3. Follow this up with a warm water bath or shower.
How Often You Should Do This

This can be done twice a day for best results.

Why This Works

Garlic is full of antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. It also contains antioxidants that help in fighting against germs that grow in the cyst (22). This remedy works well in the initial stages of the cyst.

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14. Aloe Vera

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need
  • 1 teaspoon fresh aloe vera gel
  • Few drops of castor oil
What You Have To Do
  1. Extract fresh gel from an aloe leaf and mix it with the castor oil.
  2. Dab this on the cyst and leave it on for an hour or so.
  3. Rinse it off with plain water.
How Often You Should Do This

Repeat this 3-4 times in a day.

Why This Works

Aloe vera is used in various skin treatments because it fights bacterial and viral infections. Also, it is soothing for the inflamed skin and alleviates the swelling within a few uses (23).

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15. Fenugreek

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • Half a glass of water
What You Have To Do

Boil the fenugreek seeds, strain, and drink the decoction prepared.

How Often You Should Do This

Drink this once daily

Why This Works

Fenugreek seeds are among the commonly used spices in India. But it is also a vital medicinal herb as it reduces inflammation (24). If you have boils or any inflammation, a bit of fenugreek powder can do wonders.

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Pilonidal cysts are more common than we think, at the same time, they can easily be treated at home with the home remedies mentioned above. Some of these pilonidal cyst home remedies may take a few weeks to show results. Be patient and use them regularly and as recommended to obtain favorable results.

Here are some tips you can follow to prevent pilonidal cysts from aggravating.

Prevention Tips

(a) Exercise

Exercise helps in blood circulation. If the blood flow near the cyst is reduced, infection and inflammation can take severe form. So, exercise regularly to keep pilonidal cyst symptoms at bay. You can take up aerobic exercising to keep your cardiovascular system is in good shape while you also enjoy the energizing workout. Taking up yoga can benefit too, especially for those who do not want to spend too much time in an exhausting workout regime.

(b) Healthy Diet

Healthy eating habits can stop the cyst from becoming aggravated. Pilonidal cysts can spread quickly if your immune system is weak, so it is best to keep your immunity at its best. For this, you need to eat healthily. Have plenty of vegetables, fruits, and healthy protein. Chicken, mushrooms, tomatoes, onion, citric fruits, ginger, and yogurt are all good for your immune system.

(c) Avoid Irritants

Cysts can become aggravated by irritants like creams and powders. So, to clean the area, use a mild soap and water. Pat dry using a clean towel. Its symptoms may go worse on using creams, so avoid them.

(d) Regular Cleaning

It is critical to keep the affected area clean. For this, rinse using water two to three times a day. As I mentioned in the point above, do not use creams or gels to clean the area as they may irritate the inflammation further. If you want, you can use glycerin as a cleanser and clean dirt from the skin. In fact, to avoid cysts altogether, it helps to keep the coccyx area as clean as possible.

[ Read: Home Remedies On How To Get Rid Of Boils On The Inner Thighs ]

Some common questions are answered for you below.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

How Long Do Pilonidal Cysts Last?

It may take a few weeks or last up to 6 months for pilonidal cysts to heal completely.

Pilonidal Cysts: What Are The Risk Factors?

People in their 20s and 30s are more prone to getting pilonidal cysts. The following factors may further increase your chances of developing them:

  • Male gender
  • Obesity
  • Lack of physical activity in the daily routine
  • Excessive body hair
  • Sitting for prolonged hours on a regular basis
  • Poor hygiene
  • Excessive sweating (25, 26)

Why Do Pilonidal Cysts Smell So Bad?

An infection in the cyst may cause pus and/or blood to build up giving it a foul odor.

Can You Get Cancer From A Pilonidal Cyst?

The chances of a pilonidal cyst progressing to cancer are low. The cyst would have to be present for extended period for it to progress to that stage.

When Should I Consult A Medical Practitioner For A Pilonidal Cyst?

If the home remedies are not showing any results even after using them for a few days, consult a doctor. A colorectal specialist is the best medical professional to advice you on the pilonidal cyst.

Pilonidal cysts often recur and depending on the frequency of the occurrence of these cysts, they can be treated at home. Usually, in cases of small and infrequent cysts, they are completely cured by the home treatments we have compiled for you in this article. Otherwise, as recommended, medical intervention might be necessary.

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