A sitz bath involves sitting in shallow, warm water, which can relieve swelling in the lower parts. This practice can have numerous health benefits. There is very little risk, but it is important to make sure the tub or plastic bath is clean and the water is not too hot. We will ask a doctor when we can start taking sitz baths after giving birth or having surgery.
A sitz bath is a warm, shallow bath that people sit in to cleanse the perineum, which is the space between the rectum and the vulva, or scrotum.
Soaking your butt in a sitz bath can help relieve pain, itching, or muscle spasms in the affected areas. It is normally a recommended natural remedy for hemorrhoids. Although certain healing ingredients can be added to this bath, it is not a curative therapyRather, it is meant to soothe the irritated area and bring relief. This means that simple baths can relax the anal sphincter, improve blood flow and help clean wounds.
Because soaking in warm water can relieve acute inflammation and irritation, sitz baths are used for a variety of perianal and genital problems. Some of these include:
- Hemorrhoids (swollen veins in the anus and rectum)
- Anal fissures (a small tear in the tissue lining the anus)
- Postpartum recovery from an episiotomy (a surgical incision made to widen the vaginal opening during childbirth)
- Other forms of postoperative recovery (for example, after surgery to remove hemorrhoids)
- Vulvodynia (persistent pain or discomfort around the vaginal opening)
Additionally, sitz baths can also be used to keep the perineal area clean and hygienic if we are unable to bathe or shower regularly. Both children and adults can use sitz baths. Parents should always supervise their children during this practice.
How to take a sitz bath
There are two ways to perform in a sitz bath. The choice will depend on our preferences and the possibilities of our four bathrooms.
We will take time to find the most comfortable position. If we are using a portable sitz bath, we will gently lower ourselves onto the seat. The basin part of the seat has a cutout to allow excess water to flow out and prevent overflow.
When we use the bidet or the bathtub at home, we will go down as we would in a common bathroom, but we will bend our knees when we sit down to take some of the pressure off the perineum. We can put our feet on the edge of the bathtub to feel more comfortable. We will adjust the temperature of the water to our liking and then sit back and relax.
homemade sitz bath
If we are preparing a sitz bath in our bathtub or bidet, it is recommended to follow these simple instructions:
- We will fill a clean bathtub with about 10 cm of warm water.
- We will add any soothing ingredient or medicine suggested by a doctor. For example, Epsom salt, in the correct concentration, can help with healing. We can buy them already made or mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda with 2 teaspoons of salt in warm water.
- We will sit in the tub, completely submerging the affected area under water.
purchased sitz bath
A manufactured sitz bath is a portable container that sits on top of the toilet seat. They can be purchased online or at pharmacies and come in reusable or disposable kits.
The step by step instructions are:
- We will place the sitz bath tray on the toilet bowl, making sure that it fits firmly into place.
- We will fill the sitz bath container with warm water and add any soothing or medicated ingredients that the doctor suggests.
- We will sit in the cup, completely submerging the affected area under water.
- Alternatively, if the kit comes with a plastic bag and tube, we will fill the bag with warm water.
- We’ll let the warm water flow from the bag over the irritated areas, into the bowl and through the slot in the back of the sink, which drains into the toilet. Once the bag is empty, we may need to refill it to continue soaking.
Sitz baths are safe and effective. But to avoid possible Burns, we will make sure that the water is not too hot. Once again, warm water is ideal for healing.
It is also important to keep the sitz bath clean. A dirty cup can increase the risk of a possible infection in an open wound. That means that if we go the home route, we will always scrub and sanitize the tub before we soak it. If we purchase a reusable container, we will refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines for proper cleaning instructions.
However, we will stop using sitz baths and contact a doctor if pain and itching persist, if you experience unusual bleeding or discharge from the perianal area, or if signs of infection such as fever, chills, and nausea or vomiting develop.
If, for some reason, taking a sitz bath doesn’t appeal to you or you find it difficult to do, you may be able to get the same healing benefits for your bum and genital area by using a warm water spray.
Although there is limited research on the topics of sitz baths and warm water sprays, there is one study that found some benefits. Patients who had recently undergone hemorrhoid surgery were randomly assigned to sitz bath or water spray groups. Although both groups experienced similar rates of cure, people who received the water spray method reported greater comfort and satisfaction with their form of treatment.