Proper clothing to avoid pilonidal problems, and for post surgical wear
Believe it or not, what you wear does make a difference in developing pilonidal problems and in recovering from surgery. Keep in mind that this is a disease based on the skin of the gluteal cleft being excessively folded, such that the skin of the cleft is almost always pressed against the skin from the opposite side. In some people this folding happens no matter what they are wearing, but in others wearing the wrong clothing can tip the balance such that problems develop. This seems to be a more significant issue with some body shapes than others, but being overweight does accentuate this problem.
So, it is important to wear loose fitting clothing that allows air circulation and, even more importantly, does not exert pressure on the buttocks which will accentuate the tightness and depth of the gluteal fold.
In our practice, we have found that Spandex is one of the worst problems, but any brand of tight elastic clothing is a problem.
I recommend avoiding:
- Spandex underwear
- Compression shorts
- Tight or form-fitting yoga pants
- Bicycle shorts
- Girdles or “control” garments
- Any tight jeans, leggings, or tights
I can’t list every type of problematic garment, but I think you get the idea. If it is tight across the hips, and pushes the two sides of the buttocks together, it can be a problem. If you are a patient with pilonidal disease, and have had successful surgery, unsuccessful surgery, a cleft-lift, or no surgery at all – my recommendation is that you never wear these kinds of clothing, and that you make this a permanent lifestyle change.