A Sitz Bath (hip bath or sitting bath) is a commonly used therapy to relieve discomfort and pain in the lower part of the body, simply by sitting in water up to the hips. It ensures the affected area remains clean and increases the flow of blood to it. It’s a practice to bathe the genitals to relieve soreness, burning, and inflammation.
It has been noted by several doctors that people are embarrassed to ask about problems around the genital area or the anus which should not be the case. Early treatment of hemorrhoids reduces the risk of complications and further infection. Evidently, doctors suggest a sitz bath for hemorrhoids or an infection in the anogenital area. This helps with vaginal, vulvar, and rectal irritation as well. It is also useful in cleansing the area around the anus and the genitals.
Things to remember about Sitz Bath:
- It is not a medical procedure involving any formulation or compound.
- It is a tool to calm down pain, acute inflammation and irritation in the anogenital area.
- It used to be a European custom, however, modern sitz baths are used for therapy.
Who should take Sitz Bath?
- Patients who have had surgery in the groin area, anogenital area or have genital herpes, uterine cramps, and other painful conditions in the pelvic area
- Patients who suffer from pain caused by, anal fissures, perianal fistulas, rectal surgery, inflammatory bowel disease, pilonidal cysts and infections of the bladder, prostate or vagina and specially patients suffering from hemorrhoids (piles).
When to take Sitz bath?
- To relieve the pain of hemorrhoids, uterine cramps, prostate infections, painful ovaries, and/or testicles.
- To ease discomfort from infections of the bladder, prostate or vagina and in cases of inflammatory bowel diseases as well.
How Sitz Bath Works!
It is interesting to understand that keeping the affected area in water can reduce pain, discomfort, itching, burning, and swelling in areas impacting the vagina, vulva, and anus. Furthermore, sitz baths are not a standalone treatment, the benefits multiply with other at-home or doctor-prescribed remedies.
Only the people who have hemorrhoids or had it in the past know the horrifying pain & problems it can inflict in everyday routine. More commonly, additional strain during bowel movements or excessive pressure on the area in pregnancy are the causes. This condition can result in swollen veins around the anus or in the lower rectum. Generally, hemorrhoids can heal in a week or 10 days with home care remedies which includes adding more fiber to your diet to make bowel movements easier, ice packs and, obviously, sitz baths. There are various methods or procedures on how to take a sitz bath, we will discuss on widely known and trustworthy methods.
Procedure for a Sitz bath:
- Sitz bath procedure depends on the specific condition, the general practice is to take 10 to 20-minute baths, two to three times a day. You can also consult your doctor to know that’s the right amount of time and temperate for Sitz bath.
- You can take a sitz bath in your bathtub, fill it with enough to cover the area.
- If you choose to fill the whole bathtub, do as you please, however, taking multiple sitz baths with full bathtub every day can consume a lot of time.
- After you draw the bath, check the water temperature and adjust if necessary; as soon as the temperature is to your liking, settle in, and try to relax.
An alternative procedure for the Sitz bath:
- You can use a specialized device for the bath which is easily available on pharmacies or medicine stores. A small sitz bath container specifically designed to submerge just then pelvis and butt.
- These tools are designed to go over the toilet seat so you can sit on them in a comfortable position or any similarly-shaped bin can work, too.
- You have to ensure the container is clean before you take a sitz bath, you must clean it with warm water and soap, and rinse it.
- Water should be Lukewarm (not too hot), in some cases, a doctor can ask you to use cold water. Although lukewarm water is all it takes to draw a sitz bath, it never hurts to ask your doctor.
- Stay-in for around 15 to 20 minutes, if you feel the water is going cold again, add some more hot water to keep the temperature consistent.
Known facts about benefits of Sitz Bath:
- A warm sitz bath for piles is helpful in relieving the pain from congestion
- It reduces the spasms by lowering the anal sphincter pressure resulting in a reduction of anal pain.
- It helps with elevated anal pressure due to anorectal diseases such as anal fissure or inflamed hemorrhoids.
Be Cautious & Careful!
- You should not add anything but water without your doctor’s permission such as apple cider vinegar or bath salts as it can react with your skin which can be annoying.
- If you have an abrasion, cut, wound, or any kind of opening, you must avoid added ingredients because they could result in more severe irritation.
- Doctors recommend against adding anything sudsy or fragrant, simply because it can worsen the condition you are trying to fix.
- After the bath, gently pat the anal area dry, you should not try to rub or wipe hard; some consultants can advise you to use a hairdryer.
- Even though, Sitz baths are considered very low risk but hot baths cause blood vessels to dilate which, in some cases, can make people feel dizzy or have palpitations (rapid or abnormal heartbeat).