Sit baths are popular. When should you? 2023


Hemorrhoids impact 10.5 million Americans annually and are painful. Hemorrhoids are bulging veins in the lower rectum that produce pain, especially during bowel movements.

They’re frequent in pregnancy, obesity, and constipation. They cause discomfort, swelling, bleeding, and itching. Hemorrhoids can be treated, although they’re normally harmless and fade away on their own.

Topicals and other drugs can relieve discomfort and irritation, but surgery is rarely indicated. Most recommendations are home treatments. Increased fiber intake, sitz baths, and cold packs can help.

Sit-down bath?

“Shallow, warm water” is used in sitz baths, or hip baths, to “reduce inflammation, swelling, itching and pain in the area around the anus and vagina,” says Kellie Kruger, MD, a family medicine physician at the Mayo Clinic Health System in Phoenix, Arizona.

“Relaxing muscles and enhancing blood flow that aids in recovery from painful conditions,” explains Adam Tenforde, MD, head of running medicine at Mass General Brigham in Boston.

They can heal hemorrhoids and “postpartum swelling and pain after having a baby,” Kruger explains. Sitz baths may be prescribed for bladder or yeast infections, cancer radiation treatments, anal fissures, perianal fistulas, uterine cramps, inflammatory bowel disease, and after rectal surgery or an episiotomy.

A sitz bath “is both therapeutic and cleansing,” says NYU Langone Health colorectal surgeon Solomon David, MD. “Many of my patients also find it stress-relieving and relaxing,” he says. “Sitz baths can also be taken using specialized equipment, such as a sitz bath basin that fits over the toilet seat,” David notes.

Sit bath instructions?

Kruger says a sitz bath “is generally warm water only,” but others add mineral bath salts like Epsom salt to improve the experience. “I recommend that patients talk to their healthcare providers about whether to use sitz baths by themselves or whether there is any benefit to adding Epsom salts,” Kruger says.

Many individuals make sitz baths with baking soda instead of water or mineral salts. Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is a medicine or grocery shop staple.

If utilizing a plastic sitz bath basin, one tablespoon of baking soda is plenty, but if using a bathtub, one need add between 4 teaspoons and 2 cups, depending on the area being treated.

How long should a sitz bath last?

Most individuals use sitz baths three to four times a day until symptoms subside, with doctors recommending 10 to 40 minutes per session. Kruger suggests 15-minute sits.

To avoid injuring the wounded region, slowly lower yourself into the sitz bath. Avoid high water levels. David says the shallow water level soaks just the hips and buttocks with extremely warm, not hot water. Water temperature should be 37–39 degrees Celsius or 99 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pat dry the damp area and leave it exposed to air to dry entirely. Clean your plastic sitz bath between usage.

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