A sitz bath is a therapeutic form of hydrotherapy that provides relief from pain and discomfort in the perianal region. It is a non-invasive treatment where an individual sits in a shallow bath, with water level only reaching up to the hips. Sitz bath is most commonly recommended as a soothing activity for people diagnosed with hemorrhoids and anal fissures. It does not involve the use of medication, thus people may also implement sitz bath as part of their daily cleansing habit.
During a sitz bath, the perineum- the space between the rectum and the vagina or scrotum is cleansed effectively with water. The use of cleansing additives, medications, or herbal preparations may also be prescribed by doctors. This shallow bath is also prescribed among individuals suffering from gastrointestinal discomfort, as the water level in a sitz bath may also reach the navel.
Benefits of Sitz Baths
– Provides a soothing effect and relief from all forms of discomfort including pain, itchiness, burning sensation, soreness, and inflammation
– Reduces the level of discomfort as a result of constipation, urinary and fecal incontinence, and excessive vaginal discharge
– Prevents the development of infection and other complications in the perianal region.
Sitz Bath Indications
People who are most often prescribed with sitz bath are those suffering from the following conditions:
– Anal fissures
– Postpartum vaginal delivery
– Vaginal infections
– Inflammatory bowel disease
– Genital herpes
– Uterine cramps
Keep in mind that a sitz bath only functions as a supportive therapy to alleviate discomfort and pain and will not treat the above-mentioned conditions altogether. Doctors will be prescribing drugs that effectively target the root cause of a condition or disease.
There are three types of sitz bath:
– Warm sitz bath is primarily used to relive discomfort and pain caused by hemorrhoids and genital problems. This type of hip bath is characterized by water temperatures ranging between 94F to 98F. It should never be confused with a hot water sitz bath that features water temperature up to 110F. A warm bath should be comfortable and soothing to the touch. Warm water essentially dilates the blood vessels, thus inducing relief and relaxation. Blood circulation in the perianal region is also improved from a 15 to 20 minute warm water sitz bath.
– Cold sitz bath is a type of shallow bath that uses four to eight inches of water and typically features a temperature at 68F only. Cold sitz bath are usually found to be beneficial among those who suffer from constipation, inflammation, and muscular problems. Cold water facilitates the dilatation of blood vessels, which then increases blood pressure and quite a powerful reflexive effect on the perianal and abdominal regions.
– Contrast sitz bath is the alternate immersion of the perianal region to both warm and cold water as therapeutic management for abdominopelvic discomforts. The contrast between the temperatures of warm and cold sitz bath effectively stimulates the bowel, resulting in congestion relief that can be immediately felt around the abdominal region.