Several doctors note that people are still embarrassed to discuss any issues related to the genital area or the anus. For instance, people suffering from piles are still anxious. Delaying their treatment only complicates the condition. Evidently, doctors suggest taking a sitz bath to get relief from the pain caused by piles in the anal region. Thinking about trying this but don’t know how to go about it? Read along as we discuss what constitutes a sitz bath, the reasons you should take one and the procedure to take a sitz bath!
What is a sitz bath?
Remember sitz bath is not a medical procedure! It is defined as a warm, shallow bath that helps to cleanse the perineum, thereby helps to get relief from any pain or itching in the genital area. If you are thinking about what is perineum then let me clarify it by saying that it is the space between the rectum and vulva/scrotum.
In simple terms, it is the soaking of the genitals in warm water that helps you get relief from soreness, burning and inflammation.
It provides wondrous results to people who are suffering from problems in the anal region. So, if you are suffering from an anorectal problem such as hemorrhoids, you can take a sitz bath to get soothe out the pain. Women who are healing from a normal delivery can get some relief after a sitz bath.
Did you know the term ‘sitz’ comes from a German word which means ‘seat’. So, a sitz bath is designed in such a way that you just sit in a seat filled with warm water.
A sitz bath kit consists of a plastic seat that can be fitted into the toilet, a plastic bag, a long tube and a shallow plastic basin. You can find this kit readily available in any medical store.
Why take a sitz bath?
The main reason to take a sitz bath is to improve blood flow to the anal area. In addition to reducing inflammation, a sitz bath also improves hygiene. Some of the common reasons to take a sitz bath are-
- Discomfort caused by hemorrhoids, especially those who have prolapsed
- Discomfort from abnormal bowel movements, such as constipation/diarrhea
- Recent surgery near the vulva/vagina
- Recent surgery in the anogenital area
- Recent normal delivery
- Discomfort caused by anal fissures
The sitz bath can be used by anyone irregular of age which means both children and adults can use sitz baths. You can also add medications or other additives such as povidone-iodine that has antibacterial properties to the sitz bath. Although you can use table salt, vinegar or baking soda to create a soothing solution it is best if you take a sitz bath only with warm water.
How to take a sitz bath?
Here is the step-by-step process of taking a sitz bath. But before starting, clean the tub.
- Mix 2 tablespoons of bleach in 8 cups of water. Using this solution, scrub the bathtub and rinse thoroughly.
- Fill the tub with 3-4 inches of warm water. Make sure the water is neither too hot nor too cold so that it can cause any discomfort. If the water is too hot, it can burn your skin. To test the temperature of the water, sprinkle some droplets on your wrist. If it’s comfortable then sit on it with any additives the doctor recommended.
- Step inside the tub and soak your hip region for 15 to 20 minutes. To keep your feet out of the water, keep your knees hanging in the air on the sides of the toilet.
- After 15 to 20 minutes, get out of the bathtub and pat yourself dry with a clean cotton towel. Gently pat the perineum as scrubbing or rubbing this region will cause pain or irritation.
- To finish, rinse the bathtub thoroughly.
Sitz bath for hemorrhoids/piles
Hemorrhoids are inflammation of the veins in the anal region which can cause extreme discomfort and pain. These are caused by excessive straining during a bowel movement or chronic constipation/diarrhea, pregnancy, obesity.
Sitz bath is considered as one of the most effective home remedies for curing hemorrhoids. In addition to taking a sitz bath, if you have a high-fiber diet and drink lots of fluids then the piles can be cured completely.
It is important to look out for other possible further treatment whether you are taking sitz baths to self-soothe or taking them on the doctor’s recommendation. If you have symptoms like swelling, pain or itching, these are clear signs to see a doctor. So are indications of infection, like a fever or any kind of discharge leakage. Several times taking a sitz bath is not enough to cure the condition. In such instances, it is better to visit the doctor where they can recommend other treatments such as laser-based procedures.