What is a Sitz Bath?
Sitz baths are shallow baths that are often recommended to patients after surgery. They help relieve post-operative pain, especially after the treatment of hemorrhoids. The at-home treatment also relieves pain from childbirth, anal fissures, diarrhea or constipation, and prostatitis. The warm water boosts blood-flow to the area, which aids in the healing process. The physicians at West Valley Colon & Rectal Surgery Center may recommend an additive to the bath to provide even further benefits.
How to Take a Sitz Bath
There are two ways in which you can take a sitz bath. Patients can either prepare their bathtub for a sitz bath, or they can purchase a kit from their local drug store.
If patients choose to use their own bathtubs, they should first make sure that it is properly cleaned. Sometimes if a bathtub has not been used for a while, it may have collected dust and other particulates that you do not want entering the surgical wound. Before making the sitz bath, make sure that your tub is rinsed thoroughly of dirt and cleaning agents you used. This can be accomplished simply by running water over your tub.
When taking a sitz bath, you do not need your whole body to be submerged. Begin by filling the tub with at least 3 inches of lukewarm to warm water. The next step depends on what your physician specifically recommended. Some patients can find pain relief simply by sitting in the warm water. In other cases, patients may need to include an additive like table salt, Epsom salt, vinegar, medication, and more.The different additives may depend on whether you need to gently clean the area, find relief for itching, or just soothe pain.
Your physician may also indicate a preferred sitting position (like having your feet out of the water), but in most cases, you should do what is most comfortable for you. Rest in the tub for 10-20 minutes to get a good soak. Your doctor may suggest soaking longer depending on your condition.
Sitz Bath Kits
If patients opt to purchase a kit, the sitz bath will take place over a toilet instead. Kits can be purchased at most drug stores. They include a basin that fits on your toilet, a bag of solution for the bath water, a tube, and a clamp to control the water pressure. Even though the kits are packaged, it is a good practice to clean the basin before you begin your sitz bath.
The first step is to put the tube through the hole in the basin to ensure that the solution flows through the bath. Clip the tube to the bottom of the basin. Make sure you have the clamp on the tube so the solution doesn't leak before you are ready. Fill the bag with warm water. When you are seated comfortably on the toilet, undo the clamp on the tube to allow water to flow through. You may need to adjust the tube so that it is supplying water to the correct area.
Even after the solution runs out and the kit stops spraying, you may soak in the water until the water starts to get cold. When you’re finished, empty the water into the toilet and clean the kit for later use. Our physicians generally instruct patients to soak a few times each day, so it’s important to take care of the kit in order to prevent infection.
No matter what method you used to take a sitz bath, always make sure to pat yourself dry. Rubbing the wound with a towel may irritate the surgical site and cause it to bleed. Bacteria like to hang out in warm, wet places, and patting the area dry with a gentle towel can prevent any complications.
If you have any questions or wish to make an appointment, please call our office at (623) 875-7330. Check out our other blog post for patient education, colon, and rectal educational information, and lifestyle blogs. We update weekly so check back soon!
The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.