A sitz bath is a warm, shallow bath that cleanses the exterior areas of the reproductive organs including the perineum (the space between the rectum and the vulva or scrotum) and provides soothing relief from pain, irritation, or itching.
Common reasons why you might want use a sitz bath:
- Recent surgery (e.g., hemorrhoids)
- Recent childbirth
- Recent urinary infection, gastrointestinal illness, diarrhea
- As part of your personal preventative hygiene regimen
While taking a sitz bath doesn’t require a doctor’s prescription, be sure to check with your health practitioner about how soon after a medical procedure you can safely take one. Your doctor might prescribe medication to add to the sitz bath, or recommend a homeopathic preparation to create a more soothing solution for tender areas.
How to Take a Sitz Bath
The bath can be done in your regular bathtub. Be sure to thoroughly clean the tub with an environmentally friendly (non-bleach) cleanser or a solution of vinegar and water (ask your health practitioner how to prepare).
- Fill the tub with comfortably warm, not hot water.
- Add medicine or doctor-recommended remedies to the water. Step into the tub. Sit for 15 to 20 minutes, with bent knees, allowing water to flow around your perineum.
- When you get out of the bathtub, gently pat dry with a clean cotton towel. Don’t rub or scrub the perineum, as this may cause pain and irritation.
- Finish by rinsing the bathtub thoroughly.
You can also choose to use a sitz kit, a mini tub placed over your toilet seat. Make sure it’s secure before you sit in it and the water is deep enough so the entire perineum is submerged. After 15-20 minutes, pat dry and follow the cleaning instructions that came with your kit.
- HealthLine.com “What is a Sitz Bath?” Accessed 13 July 2017: http://www.healthline.com/health/sitz-bath#risks-and-aftercare5
- MacGill, M., “What are the benefits of a sitz bath?” posted Feb 2017: MedicalNewsToday.com Accessed 13 July 2017: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/312033.php