Pilonidal Sinus is also Nicknamed as 'Jeep Disease'
The pilonidal sinus refers to a tract leading to constant drainage of pus from it. The tract may consist of a growing tissue which is the source of inflammatory pain and a tuft of hair. This usually occurs in the crease of the buttocks where there is an under growth of hair. It may also occur in between fingers of barbers, hairdressers and animal groomers as well and generally found in males between the age of 18 and 30.

The problem was first identified by Hodges in 1880. During World War II, this ailment was rampant in most of the jeep drivers in the army and was nicknamed as 'jeep disease'. The disease is found almost ten times higher in males than in females. In terms of different race groups, it is more prevalent in Caucasians than Asians or Africans. Statistical research has estimated that people in the following categories run the risk of contracting this disease:

* People with a sedentary occupation comprising sitting at a place for long hours
* People having a family history of this disease
* Those who are obese
* People having local irritation or had trauma before the onset of these symptoms

The origin of this ailment has not been fully unearthed. However, majority of the medical fraternity agrees that hormones, hair growth, friction and infection are the primary factors behind pilonidal disease.

At the time of puberty, sex hormones are released in the body which affects the pilosebaceous glands. This has an indirect bearing on the onset of conditions leading to this ailment. Hair follicles in the crease of the buttocks are enlarged because of constant stretching. This is possible as in the case of jeep drivers when the buttocks slumps in the seat.  However, they are not the lone source of this ailment. When there is hair growth in these follicles, it acts as an agent in aggravating the friction in that process. At that point bacterial infection in that area can lead to the formation of pus and cause inflammatory pain.
The treatment of this problem is mainly surgical which involves removing all the abscess and hair from the area of the sinus. There has been lot of research on the methods and the surgical procedure which ensures the best rate of recovery. Overall, they are categorized into the following:

Incision and drainage: This involves the simple procedure of draining into the cavity of the tissue which is the source of pus and cleaning it. This procedure shows 90% rate of healing. Excision and healing with secondary intention involves in removing the wound and all the dead tissues from the base. It has a longer period of healing and the patient needs to stay in the hospital for a few days after the surgery. The success of the surgery depends on the size of the wound and its spread. However, going by this method minimizes the chance of its reoccurrence.

It is not only the most traumatic experience but also very embarrassing. Therefore, a better hygiene and early reporting of the ailment can go a long way in preventing it.