My Story So Far


Please allow me to share my experience of my pilonidal abscess thus far. If anyone whom reads this feels they can offer and advice or tips about my description then please feel free to do so.

When I was approximately eleven years old I noticed a painful lump in my natal cleft but like most people avoided doing anything about it through fear and embarrassment. Eventually my Mother noticed the pain I was in and took me to the GP. I honestly cannot recall much more about what happened; I had a surgical procedure performed under general anaesthetic and I have two scars either side of my natal cleft approx 3/4 of an inch long pointing about south east and south west if you assume my spine is north. I'm afraid I do not know what surgery I had.

Anyway skip forward a few years to the present where I am a fit and healthy 25 year old male. Early November time I started to feel the abscess had returned and as anyone with a computer would do I "googled" 'lower back abscess' and pretty much diagnosed myself. The swelling actually died down and I though nothing more of it. Around the 23rd November it swelled up again and became rather uncomfortable. After much research on-line I knew surgery would have to be how this was dealt with. It was a most peculiar pain which I am certain anyone reading this does not need explained to them. I was most frustrated and confused that this had occurred when I had always done all I could to look after myself, but further research concluded I was probably quite prone to this thing:

25 years old male.
I answer 999 calls for a living - lots of time spent sitting.
I am fairly hirsute - although I make an effort to remove bodyhair as it repulses me!
Gym - I thought regular use of the gym would keep me I shape but looking back a lot of my activities there must have contributed to my pilonidal abscess flaring up. I was pushing 500KG on the leg press, squatting with 150KG on my back and performing seated shoulder presses with 40KG dumbbells in each hand! No wonder it flared up!

So, on the 26th November I went to see my GP and was immediately sent to the hospital for day surgery. For whatever reason I did have my procedure performed until 2300hrs and was required to stay in overnight. I should also mention that I am an insulin dependent diabetic so being awoken every hour to have my blood glucose levels tested was most annoying!

I was then sent home after having an incision and drainage of my pilonidal abscess. At this point I was not very optimistic at all, I had heard numerous horror stories on the inter-net about the pain of dressing changes, the recurrence rate and overall nuisance and hassle of dealing with an open wound. I was relieved to hear that an open wound with daily packing would significantly lower the changes of an abscess returning. I decided to tackle this thing head on and do everything I can to stop it from coming back.

I am now writing this at 0037hrs on the 16th December so nearly three weeks have passed since my surgery. My wound has gone from being 2.5 centimetres deep to only 4 millimetres deep which I am rather pleased with. I have been having the wound packed with aqua-cell and then dressed once daily every day since the surgery. This process will continue up until Christmas eve where afterwards I am told I will be having the wound dressed only once every other day until it's fully closed. Since the surgery I have not experienced a single amount of pain or discomfort. The district nurses do not believe me but I can honestly say so far the wound has not even been in the slightest bit uncomfortable. I would love to be able to claim a superhuman pain threshold but the reality is I haven't felt a thing! Nonetheless I have been assured I am healing well and there are no concerns.

I would like to list things I have done which I believed have assisted me in my healing process and would also love to hear suggestions from others of how I can really overcome this thing and get healed up as quickly as possible.

Diet - I made a few changes to my diet, including eating more fruit and veg, taking vitamin tablets and ensuring I had a high protein intake to enable the body to repair the wound as soon as possible. I don't like eating fruit and veg at all so the vitamin tablets were most helpful. To increase my protein intake I consumed protein bars but only one every other day.

Hygeine - Obviously this is paramount to a quick and healthy healing process. I shave most of the hair from my chest and abdomen anyway and without wanting to make anyone vomit I keep all my hair trimmed in the pubic region. I never previously considered removing body hair from in and around the natal cleft, and after learning that ingrown hair(s) are a known cause of a pilonidal abscess I am now making more of an effort to do so. Once the would is fully healed I will be shaving in this area to hopefully prevent any future abscesses. Another awkward situation is the location of the wound in relation to the movement of your hand when you sanitise yourself after defecation. The wound obviously needs to be kept ultra-clean at all times so I use wet-wipes and soap-free soap to clean in this area. Prior to my daily dressing change I would remove the dressing and aqua-cell myself before showering. I would then dress the wound and take a walk to see the district nurse to have the aqua-cell packing and proper dressing done.

Exercise - Without wanting to over-stress the body I believe exercise is still needed as a part of a quick recovery. Not being able to get to the gym was very frustrating at first and since the only exercise I could do was walking, I decided to walk for 45 to 60 minutes each day.

Family/Friends - This is not something (despite the stigma and embarrassment associated with the location of the problem) I believe one should have to endure alone. I have been extremely lucky in that my Father has been able to drive me to certain places and bring my girlfriend over to see me. Of course I had moments where I felt a bit downbeat but having others around who can pick you up and point you in the right direction can be a big help.

I still have a little way to go before I am fully healed and I am determined to ensure I get there and live the rest of my life without this bastard thing ever returning! I have the highest amount of sympathy and respect for anyone who has had a horrible, drawn out and repetitive experience with a pilonidal abscess and I believe I maybe in the minority or just extremely lucky that thus far (after the surgery) I have not had any pain or discomfort or even anything associated to this that I would describe as negative. In fact I will try to turn this into a positive experience and learn that I was an idiot in the gym and when I return I will lift much lighter weights with more emphasis on cardiovascular fitness and not to spend my evenings at the computer after spending ten hours at work in front of a computer as well.

Thank-you for reading.
I enjoyed reading it. I hope you will heal quickly without further complications and never have to deal with this in your life again! A healthy lifestile certainly helps. I'm not a hairy male person myself, but think I developed mine slouching on the couch during puberty... you get stretched follicles.

By the way, the reason your surgery was postponed to 23.00 was because you had an infection. In the Netherlands, it's called a 'dirty surgery'. Dirty surgeries are performed after all the 'normal' surgeries, because of the infection risk for other patients. I had exactly the same experience when I had mine lanced in june.
Hi Alberto,
Glad to hear you're healing well and staying so positive. I also enjoyed reading your story. I love Aquacel!

Fingers crossed your lancing did the trick and you won't need any more surgery. :)
Thank-you both. Have just been to see the district nurse today who said I am barely 1 millimetre deep and no longer need to have my wound packed! I can do my own dressing changes at home. For the past 4 weeks I was having daily visits but my next visit is not until Thursday (today is Monday) and then next Monday after Christmas.

Almost there!

Then I can start the aftercare procedure to ensure this thing never returns!


So today I visit my surgeon who examined me for all of 5 seconds and said "it's all healed". Pretty good or so I thought. He wants to perform a further procedure under general anaesthetic as although the abcess has completely gone there is a sinus tract that needs to be removed. This will be closed up with stitches and only 2 weeks recovery so much better than the 8 weeks or so from before.

Anyone else had this done as well? Feels a bit weird to be going under the knife again but I'm told this will significantly reduce the risk of recurrence.

Thanks as always,
Alberto, Did you ask what the procedure is called as I may be wrong but it sounds like a cleft lift to me? As 2 weeks is such a short time for a closed excision is the cleft lift that only comes in my mind.
To me it sounds like a simple closed excision like I had. Mine should have been closed in two weeks too...

From your first story, I figured they removed everyting. Apparently not... this must have been a dissapointment?

I had a lancing in june 2009 that healed up very quickly (2 weeks). But my closed excision (nov 2009) is another story... just be warned.
Kate71;75162 said:
To me it sounds like a simple closed excision like I had. Mine should have been closed in two weeks too...

From your first story, I figured they removed everyting. Apparently not... this must have been a dissapointment?

I had a lancing in june 2009 that healed up very quickly (2 weeks). But my closed excision (nov 2009) is another story... just be warned.
I think he just had a lancing? An "incision and drainage" is just a lancing...

Thats great if they do get rid of the pits as it is meant to greatly reduce the chance of recurrence so you might avoid major surgery [:8)]
But then I can't understand why he was left with such a big wound? :confused:
My lancing was litterally an 'incision' that healed within a week after the drain was removed. I mean no tissue was cut out.
MAybe the abscess was big? It doesnt sound that big anyway, if it was only an inch deep (my excision from the karydakis was 2inches deep, 3 long and i think 1-2 wide). If it almost healed in 3 weeks it can't have been massive as a full open takes 6-8 usually...
What type of surgery will you be having? I also have a sinus tract but I will be having a cleft lift in a few months.