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Can a Pilonidal Cyst Cause Constipation?

Picture this: You are casually strolling through life, minding your own business, when out of nowhere, the dreaded pilonidal cyst enters the scene like an uninvited party crasher. But hold on to your seats because, believe it or not, this seemingly harmless nuisance might just be the reason behind the most unexpected side effect ever – constipation! 

Yes, you read that right, and in this article, we’re diving into the peculiar world of pilonidal cysts to uncover if they have the superpower to mess with your digestive system. So, sit tight (pun intended), because things are about to get both informative and, dare we say, cheeky!

So, before wasting any time, let’s answer your question; ‘Can a pilonidal cyst cause constipation?’

Understanding Pilonidal Cysts and Their Potential Effects

Understanding Pilonidal Cysts and Their Potential Effects

Pilonidal cysts, often referred to as pilonidal sinuses or sacrococcygeal fistulas, are a rather unique and often uncomfortable medical condition. They predominantly occur in the sacrococcygeal region, located at the base of the spine, just above the buttocks. While these cysts may seem like an obscure and uncommon ailment, they can have a significant impact on a person’s life.

The primary culprit behind pilonidal sinus cysts and constipation is usually hair. Yes, you read that correctly – hair. These cysts develop when hair follicles become embedded or ingrown in the skin, triggering an inflammatory response from the body. Over time, this leads to the formation of a cyst or abscess beneath the skin’s surface. The result is a small, often painful lump that may contain pus or blood.

Now, here’s where things get interesting (and a tad unexpected): the potential effects of pilonidal cysts can extend beyond the immediate discomfort they cause. While most people associate these cysts with pain, redness, and swelling in the sacrococcygeal area, recent medical observations have raised intriguing questions about their connection to seemingly unrelated health issues, such as constipation.

The Connection between Health Issues and Unexpected Symptoms

The human body is an intricate and interconnected system, and sometimes, health issues can manifest in ways that leave us scratching our heads. Constipation, for instance, is a common gastrointestinal problem characterized by infrequent bowel movements and difficulty passing stool. It’s typically associated with dietary choices, hydration levels, and certain medical conditions. If you have pain in your hips then check out hip misalignment effects on digestion.

However, what if we told you that a pilonidal cyst, nestled seemingly far away from your digestive system, might have a role to play in this discomforting scenario? The intriguing aspect of medicine is that it often uncovers these unexpected connections between seemingly unrelated symptoms and conditions.

Symptoms Associated with Pilonidal Cysts:

Symptoms Associated with Pilonidal Cysts

Pilonidal cysts can bring about a range of symptoms and discomfort, typically centered in the sacrococcygeal area near the base of the spine. These symptoms often include:

  • Pain: Individuals with pilonidal cysts commonly experience localized pain, which can range from mild to severe. This pain may worsen with movement or pressure on the affected area.
  • Redness and Swelling: The skin above the cyst may become red and swollen due to the body’s inflammatory response to the cyst.
  • Formation of a Lump or Abscess: As the cyst progresses, it may develop into a painful lump or even an abscess filled with pus or blood.
  • Discomfort and Limited Mobility: The presence of a pilonidal cyst can lead to discomfort, making sitting or moving around challenging, especially when the cyst becomes inflamed or infected.

Constipation and Its Causes

Constipation is a common gastrointestinal issue characterized by infrequent bowel movements and difficulty passing stool. Various factors can contribute to constipation, including:

  • Dietary Factors: A lack of fiber, inadequate water intake, and excessive consumption of processed foods can lead to constipation.
  • Lifestyle Habits: Sedentary lifestyles, lack of physical activity, and ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement can contribute to constipation.
  • Certain Medications: Some medications, such as opioids and certain antacids, can slow down bowel movements and cause constipation.
  • Medical Conditions: Several medical conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), hypothyroidism, and neurological disorders, can lead to chronic constipation.

Can Pilonidal Cysts Cause Constipation?

Pilonidal cysts typically do not cause constipation directly. However, severe pain or discomfort associated with these cysts may lead to changes in bowel habits or difficulty with bowel movements due to discomfort while sitting or straining. It’s essential to address both issues separately and consult with a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and management of pilonidal cysts and any associated symptoms of constipation.

To understand this potential relationship between pilonidal cyst and constipation, we need to explore the possibility of nerve compression due to a pilonidal cyst, how it might lead to gastrointestinal issues like constipation, and consider any research or expert opinions on this matter. PCOS is a hormonal disorder in females if you want to know does PCOS leads to constipation check this out.

Pilonidal cyst effects on digestive system:

Pilonidal cysts are typically located near the spine and do not directly affect the digestive system. However, discomfort and lifestyle changes due to cysts might indirectly impact bowel habits in some cases.

Lifestyle Factors:

Living with the discomfort of a pilonidal cyst can lead to a series of lifestyle changes. These changes, while aimed at managing the discomfort, can inadvertently contribute to constipation.

  • Reduced Physical Activity: The pain and discomfort associated with pilonidal cysts often lead individuals to limit their physical activity or avoid certain movements that exacerbate the pain. This reduced activity level can slow down bowel motility, potentially contributing to constipation.
  • Altered Sitting Habits: Due to the discomfort in the sacrococcygeal area, individuals with pilonidal cysts may adopt altered sitting postures or avoid sitting for extended periods. These changes can affect the natural alignment of the digestive tract, potentially impacting bowel movements.
  • Dietary Adjustments: Some individuals may make dietary adjustments to minimize discomfort. In doing so, they might inadvertently reduce their fiber intake or alter their eating habits, which can be a contributing factor to constipation.

 Medical Insights:

Given the potential complexities of the relationship between pilonidal cysts and constipation, it’s crucial to seek medical insights for accurate information and guidance.

  • Consulting a Medical Professional: The importance of consulting a healthcare provider cannot be overstated. Medical professionals possess the expertise to evaluate individual cases, consider medical history, and provide personalized advice.
  • Discussing Symptoms and Concerns: It’s essential to openly discuss symptoms and concerns with a doctor. Whether you’re dealing with the discomfort of a pilonidal cyst or experiencing symptoms of constipation, sharing your experiences can help in diagnosing and managing the conditions effectively.

Medical insights are invaluable in understanding the specific dynamics at play in your unique situation. If you suspect a connection between your pilonidal cyst and constipation or are experiencing discomfort or digestive issues, don’t hesitate to reach out to a healthcare professional for a comprehensive assessment and guidance tailored to your needs.

Managing Pilonidal Cysts: Tips for Comfort

Dealing with the discomfort of a pilonidal cyst can be challenging, but there are practical steps you can take to manage the situation and minimize irritation. Here are some tips for maintaining comfort and hygiene:

  • Keep the Area Clean: Regularly clean the affected area with mild soap and water. Gently pat it dry, and avoid scrubbing or harsh cleaning agents.
  • Warm Compresses: Applying warm compresses can help reduce pain and promote drainage of the cyst. Use a clean cloth soaked in warm water, but ensure it’s not too hot to avoid burns.
  • Pain Management: Over-the-counter pain relievers can provide temporary relief from discomfort. However, consult your doctor before taking any medication, especially if you have concerns about potential interactions with other treatments.
  • Avoid Tight Clothing: Loose-fitting, breathable clothing can reduce friction and irritation around the cyst. Tight clothing can exacerbate discomfort.
  • Modify Sitting Habits: If prolonged sitting aggravates your symptoms, consider using a cushion or pillow to relieve pressure on the cyst while sitting.
  • Consult a Healthcare Provider: Always seek medical advice for proper diagnosis and treatment. Your healthcare provider can recommend specific treatments tailored to your situation, which may include drainage or surgical intervention.

Remember that these tips can help alleviate some discomfort associated with pilonidal cysts, but they are not a substitute for professional medical advice and treatment. Consult with your healthcare provider for the most appropriate guidance based on your individual condition.


In conclusion, while there may be a potential link between pilonidal cysts and constipation, the exact nature of this connection is complex and requires individual assessment. Seek professional medical advice if you suspect such a link or experience discomfort associated with pilonidal cysts or digestive issues. Remember that personalized guidance from a healthcare provider is essential for accurate diagnosis and tailored treatment plans. Your health and well-being deserve the attention and expertise that only a medical professional can provide.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a pilonidal cyst press on nerves and affect digestion?

Pilonidal cysts are typically located near the base of the spine, and while they can cause localized discomfort, their direct impact on digestion is not well-documented. Any potential influence on nerves and digestion would require a thorough medical evaluation.

What are some common symptoms of a pilonidal cyst?

Common symptoms include pain, redness, swelling, and the formation of a lump or abscess near the sacrococcygeal area.

Does the location of the cyst influence constipation?

The location of the cyst near the sacrococcygeal area is distinct from the digestive system. However, lifestyle changes made to manage cyst discomfort might indirectly affect bowel movements in some cases.

Can a pilonidal cyst cause other problems?

Yes, pilonidal cysts can lead to pain, infection, and abscess formation if left untreated. Surgical drainage or removal may be necessary for resolution.

How do you poop after pilonidal cyst drainage?

After pilonidal cyst drainage, maintain regular bowel habits, avoid straining, and keep the area clean to promote healing. Use stool softeners if needed and consult a healthcare professional for personalized guidance.

Kelli Maw
Kelli Maw brings over 10 years of clinical research experience to Constipation Cause. As a Senior Medical Director, she has led global clinical trials across numerous therapeutic areas including metabolic, kidney, endocrine, lung, women's health, and neurologic conditions. Her expertise spans from rare genetic diseases to more common conditions like constipation. Kelli is board-certified in family medicine and has over 20 years of hands-on clinical experience.

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