What is a Sitz Bath?
A sitz bath (or "sits bath") is a small "bath" of water (usually warm, but can be cold) you sit into so only the buttocks and hips are in the water. The warm water draws blood to that specific region to promote healing, muscle relaxation, and pain relief (cold water reduces inflammation). Sitz baths are an easy, all natural, affordable, medicine-free treatment for a wide variety of health issues including hemorrhoids, prostate infections, vaginal or anal fissures, bladder or vaginal infections, post-partum pain, and more. While many haven't even heard of sitz baths people who have used them to help treat painful health conditions often rave about how effective the pain relief is.
A sitz bath is most commonly made from plastic, and designed to be placed over the toilet. A sits bath can be taken in a regular bathtub or a shallow container, but your knees will need to be bent and your legs completely out of the water (so if you're in a regular bathtub you'll need to swing your legs over the side of the tub). Purchasing a sitz bath is very affordable, allows you the comfort of sitting at toilet height (instead of painfully lowering yourself into the bottom of your bathtub), and is designed to be easily cleaned (a definite hygienic advantage). Additionally, a store-bought sitz bath is often constructed so warm water can be consistently added to the bath and the excess cool water flows over the top and into the toilet.
How to Use a Sits Bath
Most are inexpensive, and you can buy sitz baths at medical supply stores or hospital pharmacies (if you're leaving the hospital post-surgery or labor you can always ask if they'll provide one to you).
To use the sitz bath at home, simply place it over your toilet to ensure proper fit and stability. Fill the sit bath with warm water (not so hot it burns or is uncomfortable).
Some sits baths include a bag connected with tubing; when the solution bag is filled with warm water and placed above the bath (a caregiver can hold it up for you, or the bag can be placed on hook) it provides a continuous flow of warm water (a clamp allows you to stop the water flow at any time) into the sitz basin, eliminating the need to consistently refill the bath if the water cools quickly.
Most sitz bath products are constructed with "vents" so any excess water simply flows into the toilet bowl below; if your purchase doesn't have that design you'll want to be careful when filling it so as not to have the water overflow onto the bathroom floor.
If your doctor has recommended it, add salts or baking soda to the warm sitz bath, and then sit down into it. You can generally remain in the sits bath for ten to twenty minutes (according to your doctor's instructions).
While there is little risk associated with a sitz bath treatment, because blood is being drawn to a lower body region some people may feel dizzy when standing from their sitz treatment (have assistance in case of this). Gently pat the area dry (for creams to help keep damp skin from chapping click here). Warm sit bath treatments can be used multiple times a day, but the sitz bath basin should be thoroughly cleaned after every use.
To Buy a Sitz Bath
There are numerous sitz bath products on the market and, understandably, the choices can be overwhelming. Despite what marketers may want you to believe, there aren't specific sitz baths for specific health conditions. A man with a prostate infection and a woman with post-partum pain can both buy the same sitz bath and both experience pain relief (despite their different health issues) from the same product.
Plastic sitz bath - Mentioned previously, the current majority of sit baths are constructed from plastic. If you're looking for a basic, inexpensive sitz bath treatment a plastic sits basin will work fine. If you don't want to worry about overflowing water, make sure the product you buy has cut outs to allow excess water to flow into the toilet.
Inflatable Sitz Bath - Many of the health issues requiring sitz bath treatment also make sitting difficult and uncomfortable. An inflatable bath, such as the popular Sitz Bath Basin, provides the additional comfort of a soft, cushion-like seat via the heavy duty, latex free, inflated bath. You may also want to consider a donut cushion for comfortable sitting elsewhere when you're not using the sit bath.
Portable Sitz Bath - While adding the word "portable" can make it seem more convenient than other sitz bath products, the truth is the majority of toilet sitz baths are portable (and a portable bidet is very different from a sitz bath). For more sitz bath products, click here.
The use of hip baths dates back centuries as a European custom, and sitz baths are enjoying a popularity renewal as people seek out affordable, natural pain relief to health issues. Men and women of all ages will appreciate the fast, effective pain relief provided by sitz baths.