Menstrual cramps are common in women. Although painkillers seem to be the only resort for many, they also have many side effects. But recently, the sitz bath, commonly known as the sitz bath, has gained popularity due to its many benefits and negligible side effects. It not only works for menstrual cramps, but has also been prescribed to relieve pain in hemorrhoids, anal fissures, constipation, prostatitisi XA condition in which the prostate gland in men becomes inflamed due to infection and leads to severe pain. , and even in the postnatal phase of a vaginal delivery. A sitz bath can be life-changing for many dealing with pain. In this article, we’ll discuss the sitz bath, how it works, its benefits, and potential risk factors. Keep reading.
What is a sitz bath?
Individuals who experience swelling, itching or pain in the perineal area (consisting of the vulva, anus and urethra) are often recommended by doctors to bathe it in a bathtub filled with warm water – called the sitz bath. Pour some warm water up to a few centimeters, make sure the temperature is comfortable and immerse your lower body in it up to your pelvis. Practice this at least 3 times a day, or more often as advised by your doctor. Your doctor may also prescribe an oil or medicine to add to the water.
Health Related Information says
Do not take a sitz bath if you have open wounds in the perineal area.
Now let’s see how a sitz bath works to cure pain.
How does a sitz bath work?
When you soak your pelvis in warm water, the heat allows your muscles, especially the sphincter, to relax. It also increases blood circulation to the perineal area and relieves pain. Doctors often prescribe medicines to add to the warm water. These help treat infections by fighting the pathogenic bacteria.
Did you know?
Sitz baths have tissue healing properties. Use sitz baths, often with extra salt or Epsom salt, when you have a wound in the perineal area.
Now let’s look at some of the health benefits of taking a sitz bath.
Health Benefits of Sitz Bathing
1. Make vaginal delivery smoother
The vulva remains painful and swollen for quite some time after a vaginal delivery. Immersing the pelvis in warm water for some time will not only help to clean the pelvis perineumi XThe area between the inner thighs that begins at the urethra and ends at the anus, consisting of the vagina in women and the penis in men. but also relaxes the stiff muscles and relieves the pain to a large extent.
Studies suggest that warm sitz baths help improve blood circulation in the anal tissue and also reduce pain by increasing the tone of the internal anal sphincteri XA muscle in the anal canal that widens to allow stool to pass through and closes after it has passed. (a ring of smooth muscle that surrounds the anal canal) (1). In addition, anecdotal evidence states that a sitz bath can relieve discomfort in the genital area and help shorten healing time after childbirth.
2. Can relieve hemorrhoids
Taking a sitz bath during hemorrhoids can help relieve swelling of the veins in the anus and lower rectum. This makes bowel movements easier and pain-free.
Anecdotal evidence also suggests that sitz baths may also soothe hemorrhoids that occur in some pregnant women after giving birth. Soaking the affected area in warm salt water for about 10-15 minutes several times a day promotes comfort. Moreover, sitz baths even help manage postoperative pain (2).
3. Can prevent infections
You can consult a doctor and add some antiseptic ointment to your sitz bath to thoroughly cleanse the perineum and treat the infection.
Sitz baths, with or without pharmacological therapies, can help prevent infections. A study published in the Journal of family and reproductive health states how a sitz bath with an extract of the myrrh plant helps improve wound healing and reduce infections (3).
4. May Help Treat Prostatitis
Sitz baths help relax the smooth muscles of the prostate, relieve tightness of the urethra and bladder neck, and stimulate blood flow to the pelvic area. Studies suggest that these baths may help improve symptoms of chronic bacterial prostatitis (4). The water used in such sitz baths can be hot or lukewarm.
5. Can reduce anal fissures
Muscle spasms are a primary cause of pain in conditions such as anal fissures. Sitz baths can relax these muscles and relieve pain while slowly healing the fissures (5). Moreover, the analgesic properties of these baths aid in the treatment of anal fissures (6).
These are the ways that sitz baths can relieve your pain. While these are generally harmless, it’s important to be aware of their potential risks as well. Check out the next section.
Potential risk factors
Since sitz baths are non-invasive treatments, there is little chance of injury. An infection of the perineum is the most common negative side effect of sitz baths. However, this can only happen if you neglect to thoroughly clean and use the bath or plastic bath if you have a surgical wound. Also, never let anyone else use your sitz bath, as it can be unhygienic.
Stop the sitz bath and see a doctor if your perineum becomes red and swollen or if the pain or itching gets worse. If the bath makes you feel better, your doctor may recommend that you take it three to four times a day until the itching, irritation, or pain is gone.
Did you know?
As many as 25% to 30% of women worldwide suffer from postpartum hemorrhoids.
As mentioned, you can reduce the risk of infection by maintaining good hygiene. Sitz baths are otherwise an effective home remedy for pain and inflammation. Learn more about how to do one in the section below.
How to do a sitz bath
1. Sitting bath at home
- Clean the bathtub thoroughly.
- Fill the tub with warm water to a few inches.
- You can also add Epsom salt to the water if your doctor allows it.
- Check the temperature of the water by dipping your fingers in it.
- You can squat in the tub or lie in it with your ankles resting on the edge.
- Sit in the water for at least 15 minutes.
- When you’re done, gently pat your sensitive areas dry with a clean towel.
2. Soda bath with baking soda
Baking soda can be added to the sitz bath to fight infection. The acidic pH of urine can be neutralized by baking soda. It also helps treat painful urination.
3. Sitting bath for toilet
Sitz bath kits are also available in the market as a small portable device that can be easily placed on any toilet seat. The kit comes with a pump that allows you to fill the toilet with water. You can place it on the toilet and easily dip your hips into the shallow pool.
When to call a doctor
Call your doctor right away if you experience pain or bleeding in your anal region. These may indicate hemorrhoids or another condition. Also see a doctor if perineal pain or abnormal discharge persists even after a few sitz baths. They can help diagnose the cause.
Sitz baths involve submerging your pelvis, especially the perineal area, in a bathtub usually filled with warm water. They help relieve pain, swelling, soreness and itching. They are often prescribed to treat hemorrhoids, anal fissures, constipation and prostatitis, and even help with the postnatal phase of vaginal delivery. You can use the sitz bath kits available in the market for quick pain relief. However, be sure to rinse the set or bathtub before and after bathing to maintain hygiene. Also, don’t forget to see a doctor if your condition persists.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long should you take a sitz bath?
You can take a sitz bath for 10 to 20 minutes.
Can I use regular salt for a sitz bath?
Yes, you can use regular salt in a sitz bath. But consult your doctor beforehand.
Should a sitz bath be warm or cold?
A sitz bath should be hot or lukewarm so that it is comfortable for your skin.
Should you add anything to a sitz bath?
You can add epsom salt to the sitz bath. If epsom salt is not available, consider adding regular salt.
How does a sitz bath shrink hemorrhoids quickly?
The heat from the water in the sitz bath reaches the perineum, spreads over the anal area and relaxes the anal sphincter. This regulates blood flow to this area, relieves pain and shrinks the hemorrhoids (7).
Key learning points
- A sitz bath is a great way to relieve pain during menstrual cramps, prostatitis, hemorrhoids, etc.
- Clean your bathtub or sitz bath kit before and after taking the bath to ensure good hygiene.
- If pain or bleeding persists even after a sitz bath, see your doctor.
Articles on Health Related Information are supported by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputable organizations, research institutes and medical societies to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy for more information.
- Perianal diseases during pregnancy and after childbirth: frequency, risk factors, impact on women’s quality of life and treatment methods
- External hemorrhoid
- The effect of sitz bath of hydroalcoholic extract of myrrh gum on episiotomy wound healing in nulliparous women
- Chronic bacterial prostatitis and chronic pelvic pain syndrome
- Evaluation of different sitz bath methods as a treatment modality in acute anal fissure
- The efficacy of sitz baths compared to lateral internal sphincterotomy in patients with anal fissures: a systematic review
- Effectiveness of the sitz bath in the treatment of adult patients with anorectal disease