Pilonidal sinus - Symptoms 

Symptoms of a pilonidal sinus 

A pilonidal sinus is a small hole or channel in the skin that most commonly occurs at the top of the cleft between your buttocks. It may not cause any noticeable symptoms unless it becomes infected.

However, not all pilonidal sinuses occur near the buttocks. They have also been recorded in the belly button or between fingers. In many cases, there is more than one channel.

If the sinus becomes infected, an abscess will usually develop. An abscess is a painful collection of pus that causes symptoms such as:

  • pain
  • redness of the skin
  • pus draining from the sinus (the pus usually smells unpleasant)
  • blood draining from the sinus 
  • a high temperature of 38ºC (100.4ºF) or above, although this is uncommon

These symptoms may develop quickly, often over a few days.

The pain caused by a pilonidal sinus can be severe and is likely to get worse without treatment. This can make it difficult to sit or lie down comfortably, which may affect your sleep. The pain may also affect your ability to work and your daily activities.

You should see your GP as soon as possible if you suspect you have the condition. They can examine you and discuss possible treatments.

Read more about treating pilonidal sinus.

Page last reviewed: 20/11/2012

Next review due: 20/11/2014


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The 1 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

Welshlady said on 05 July 2010

The more recurrances that I have , the quicker I recognise the symptoms. A nagging pain, irritable area, redness, then the sore appears. Sometimes with 3 or 4 heads. This just gets worse, and seems to be bigger and more painful with each occurrance. I ahve had 2 ops, and the recurrances are all around the same area. I suffer from headaches, aching limbs, swollen lymph glands in groin, armpits and throat whilst it is coming, being there and healing. 5 or 6 weeks in all.Apart from the pain and discomfort, it is very unpleasant and a nightmare whilst trying to hold down a busy fulltime job at 61 years old

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