CausesBy Mayo Clinic Staff
The exact cause of pilonidal cysts isn't clear. But most pilonidal cysts appear to be caused by loose hairs that penetrate the skin. Friction and pressure — skin rubbing against skin, tight clothing, bicycling, long periods of sitting or similar factors — force the hair down into skin. Responding to the hair as a foreign substance, the body creates a cyst around the hair.
This explanation accounts for rare cases of pilonidal cysts that occur in parts of the body other than near the tailbone. For example, barbers, dog groomers and sheep shearers have developed pilonidal cysts in the skin between fingers.
Sept. 05, 2015
- Cameron JL, et al., eds. The management of pilonidal disease. In: Current Surgical Therapy. 11th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2014. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Aug. 15, 2015.
- Pfenninger JL, et al., eds. Pilonidal cyst and abscess: Current management. In: Pfenninger and Fowler's Procedures for Primary Care. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Aug. 15, 2015.
- Marx JA, et al., eds. Disorders of the anorectum. In: Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2014. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Aug. 15, 2015.
- Sullivan DJ, et al. Intergluteal pilonidal disease: Clinical manifestations and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 14, 2015.
- Pilonidal disease. American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons. https://www.fascrs.org/patients/disease-condition/pilonidal-disease. Accessed Aug. 16, 2015.