What is a Sitz Bath? - Meaning, Purpose, Reasons and Benefits

What is a Sitz Bath? - Meaning, Purpose, Reasons and Benefits

Sitz Bath is a warm water therapeutic bath to soothe pain and itching in the anal area. It can be easily done at home without any supervision. Your doctor might suggest a sitz bath for haemorrhoids, anal fissure or if you have just delivered a baby.

You can prepare a sitz bath with normal water or add Epsom salt. You can buy a sitz bath kit, which is easily available both online and offline. This article will highlight the sitz bath procedure and its uses.

What is a Sitz Bath?

Sitz Bath is a therapeutic shallow warm water bath where you sit to help cleanse and relieve pain in your perineum. It is the area between the genitals and the anus. A sitz bath does not cure a condition, but it can be effectively used as a home remedy to relieve pain and discomfort in the anal region. Both adults and children can take them. However, children should be monitored while taking a sitz bath. 

The primary purpose of a sitz bath is to relieve inflammation in the anal region caused due to conditions like piles. Soaking the genital area in warm water helps relax your rectoanal area, enhancing blood flow through your anal tissues. It encourages healing and lessens discomfort, itching, and irritation. 

Read this article in Hindi : सिट्ज़ बाथ (Sitz Bath in Hindi) क्या है? - उद्देश्य और उपयोग

Sitz Bath Benefits

Sitz bath is advised for managing many conditions because of its benefits with no side effects. The benefits of sitz bath are as follows:

  1. Reduce postpartum pain: Doctors usually recommend a sitz bath after childbirth to reduce perineal soreness and pain after delivery. The warm water in the sitz bath increases blood flow and promotes the healing of the perineal tissues. It also helps keep the area clean, thus avoiding the risk of infections.
  2. Reduce anal swelling due to haemorrhoids: Using a sitz bath for haemorrhoids helps reduce the pain and swelling in the perineum and makes bowel movement easier. Sitz bath can also ease any inflammation following haemorrhoid surgery to remove piles.
  3. Reduce pain due to anal fissure: Anal fissure are cut in the lining of your anus or anal canal. You may experience muscular cramps in the anal region due to fissure. A sitz bath can relieve muscle tension due to the cramps, promoting gradual healing in the affected area.
  4. Ease constipation: Sitz bath for constipation is helpful as it improves bowel movement by relaxing the anal sphincter (muscle in your anal region). Doctors usually recommend taking a sitz bath for constipation to ease the movement of the bowel.

Key Features of Sitz Bath

A sitz bath is a painless technique to help soothe the anal region associated with several common medical conditions. Its key features include:

  1. Non-invasive: Sitz bath doesn't involve any cuts and is proven effective in relieving pain, itching, and discomfort caused by conditions like haemorrhoids, perianal abscess, anal fissure, etc.
  2. Easy to use: Sitz bath is very easy to use and requires no professional medical expertise. 
  3. Inexpensive: All you need to take a sitz bath is a plastic tub in which you can comfortably sit. If you don't have one, several tubs and kits are available in the market for a low price. 

At Home Sitz Bath Procedure

All you need to make a sitz bath at home is a plastic tub in which you can comfortably sit. Usually, a sitz bath at home is advised for at least ten minutes, up to three times a day. If the anal area is extremely sore, taking a sitz bath after every bowel movement is advisable. Your doctor will recommend the exact frequency and time depending on the severity of your condition. Several kits are also available online and in many stores that can help you take a sitz bath at home.

Steps for Sitz Bath Procedure

  1. Clean the tub well before taking a sitz bath at home. Check for any cracks or weakened areas before using. If there are any cracks, replace the tub with a new one to avoid water spillage.
  2. Fill the tub with lukewarm water up to 2-3 inches. Ensure that it's enough to cover your perineum area fully.
  3. Make sure that the water is comfortable to touch, or you could burn your skin. The ideal temperature is 40 degree Celsius.
  4. You can add Epsom salt to the water as it helps to reduce swelling. 
  5. And you're done! Sit in the tub and make sure your perineal area is perfectly covered.
  6. Soak in for 15 to 20 minutes.
  7. After a session of sitz bath, stand up and dry the area by gently patting it with the help of a soft towel.
  8. Clean the tub thoroughly after using it for future use.
  9. Don't share your tub with anyone else.

Note for sitz bath procedure: Do not add shower gel, soap, bubble bath or any other external agent to your sitz bath as it may irritate your skin and cause inflammation.

Sitz Bath Kit

The sitz bath kit consists of a shallow basin slightly bigger than your toilet bowl. It can also have a plastic bag with a long tube at one end. While using a sitz bath kit, follow these steps:

  1. Place the sitz bath from the kit on the open toilet properly.
  2. You can directly pour the warm water into the tub before you sit down or directly sit in the plastic tub and then add the hot water.
  3. To add hot water, fill the plastic bag with warm water.
  4. Then slowly release the warm water from the plastic bag through the tube into the tub.
  5. You can add Epsom salt to the warm water.
  6. Soak in for 15-20 minutes and make sure the perineum area is completely immersed in the water.
  7. Clean and dry the area by gently patting it with the help of a soft towel or a hair dryer.
  8. Clean the tub after using it for future use.

Sitz Bath Risks and Adverse Effects

A sitz bath has no significant risks since it is a painless method used as a preventive method to reduce symptoms associated with rectoanal disorders. A few risks that can be involved are as follows:

  1. If the water is too hot, then it may burn your skin and may aggravate the symptoms.
  2. There is an increased risk of infections in the perineal region if the tub is not cleaned thoroughly. 
  3. After a sitz bath, if you dry the area with a hard towel, then it may further aggravate the condition by causing more rashes.
  4. Stop taking a sitz bath for haemorrhoids or any other condition if your symptoms worsen, or you develop redness and puffiness in the perineal region.

Summary

A sitz bath is a therapeutic bath used to relieve pain, itching, and swelling caused due to conditions like haemorrhoids, anal fissure, or post-vaginal delivery. It is pretty beneficial with minimal risks. It is easy to prepare, and also it is cheap and effective.

Talk to your doctor about a sitz bath if you have any of the above conditions. You can also connect with our team of doctors on board to discuss your health issues and get them solved with a free consultation call. Visit HexaHealth and book your appointment now.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you make a sitz bath?

Follow these steps to make a sitz bath at home:

  1. Clean the plastic tub before use.
  2. Fill the tub with warm water up to 2-3 inches. Make sure that the water is not too hot and comfortable to touch.
  3. Soak the perineal area inside the water for 10-15 minutes, two to three times a day, depending upon what your doctor says.

What is the main purpose of Sitz bath?

Relieving pain and itching in the genital region brought on by various health conditions is the main purpose of a sitz bath. It does so by soaking the perineal area in warm water, which relaxes the anal sphincter and enhances blood flow through the anal tissues.

What solution is used for sitz bath?

Clear, lukewarm water is used for a sitz bath. Avoid adding soap, shower gel, and other external agents. Some doctors suggest adding Epsom salt or sodium bicarbonate while taking a sitz bath at home.

Can a regular bath be a sitz bath?

A regular bath can be a sitz bath only if it's done by sitting in a tub with warm water. The perineal area needs to be soaked in the water.

Is a sitz bath just warm water?

Yes, a sitz bath consist of warm water filled up to 2-3 inches in the tub. The tub must be cleaned appropriately before and after use.

 

When should I stop sitz bath?

Follow your doctor's advice. Stop taking a sitz bath when your symptoms disappear, or your doctor tells you to. You should stop taking a sitz bath if your symptoms worsen or if you notice redness or puffiness around the anus.

Can I use normal salt for a sitz bath?

A sitz bath is recommended to be taken with water alone. Consult your doctor before adding anything to the sitz bath.

Is Epsom salt a sitz bath?

A sitz bath essentially consists only of water. Epsom salt can be added to the sitz bath to help relieve pain. Epsom salt has been used for centuries in providing pain relief, but there are no concrete scientific studies to back its use.

What can I use instead of Epsom salt for sitz bath?

Baking soda can be used instead of Epsom salt. It might help relieve the pain and itching caused due to haemorrhoids and constipation. One-fourth cup of baking soda can be enough to relieve symptoms. Sea salt can also be used instead of Epsom salt.

 

Do you need to rinse after a sitz bath?

No. Pat dry the genital region with a clean, dry towel or use a hair dryer if possible. Avoid rubbing too hard as the skin near the anus is sensitive.

 

How warm should a sitz bath be?

The water should be lukewarm and comfortable to touch. It shouldn't be too hot. The ideal temperature for a soothing sitz bath should be around 40 degrees Celsius.

Should a sitz bath be hot or cold?

A sitz bath should be drawn with lukewarm water that is comfortable to touch. The ideal temperature is around 40 degree Celsius.

Why is a sitz bath better than a regular bath?

A sitz bath has many benefits over a regular bath. It reduces inflammation, improves hygiene, and promotes blood flow to the genital region.

Does soaking in hot water help haemorrhoids?

Yes, soaking in water helps relieve the pain and itching from constipation and piles. It's often considered the first line of treatment for constipation and piles.

 

How long should a sitz bath last?

A sitz bath should last for a minimum of 15 minutes. It's usually taken three times a day, based on the severity of your condition.

What does baking soda do for haemorrhoids?

Baking soda can be used as an additive in the sitz bath for haemorrhoids. It might help relieve pain and itching caused due to haemorrhoids and constipation. One-fourth cup of baking soda can be enough to relieve symptoms

What should you put in a sitz bath for haemorrhoids?

Most of the time a sitz bath for haemorrhoids is prescribed by doctors and it does not contain anything other than water. Although some may recommend putting Epsom salt to help relieve pain.

What shrinks haemorrhoids fast?

Sitz bath can help shrink haemorrhoids fast. Applying a steroid cream can also help shrink them. Sometimes using an ice pack might also help shrink haemorrhoids.

Can sitz bath make haemorrhoids worse?

A sitz bath, when done wrong, can actually make haemorrhoids worse. For example, boiling water can complicate haemorrhoids by increasing the swelling and pooling of blood.

How long do haemorrhoids take to heal?

Haemorrhoids can take a couple of days to a week to heal. Some advanced cases may take longer to heal.

 

About the Author

HexaHealth Care Team

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