How Do You Make a Sitz Bath?

Medically Reviewed on 3/26/2021
A sitz bath is a warm, shallow bath that is used to cleanse the perineum.
A sitz bath is a warm, shallow bath that is used to cleanse the perineum.

A sitz bath is a warm, shallow bath that is used to cleanse the perineum. The perineum is the area between the rectum and the scrotum or vulva. A sitz bath can also provide relief from pain and itching in the genital area.

A sitz bath can be taken in a bathtub or a ready plastic kit available over the counter (OTC), which fits over the toilet. The kit is a round, shallow basin with a plastic bag that has long tubing at the end. This bag can be filled with warm water through the tubing. The basin is a little larger than a standard toilet bowl and can be placed underneath the toilet seat. This helps remaining seated while taking a sitz bath. A sitz bath with just warm water doesn’t require a doctor’s prescription. A pinch of table salt, a teaspoon of vinegar, or a pinch of baking soda can be added to the water to create a soothing solution with antiseptic properties. Doctors may prescribe medications, such as Povidone-iodine, or other additives to put in a sitz bath.

What are the uses of a sitz bath?

A sitz bath can be used regularly to cleanse the perineum. It cleanses and increases blood flow in the perineal area, which can promote faster healing. A sitz bath can relieve irritation, pain, and itching. Adults and children can use sitz baths. Parents should always supervise their children during a sitz bath.

A sitz bath may be advised for the following:

  • Maintaining hygiene of the perineum
  • Following recent surgery in the vulva or vagina
  • Following childbirth
  • Post-surgery for hemorrhoids
  • Pain and discomfort because of hemorrhoids, bowel movements, anal fissures, or injuries

How to make a sitz bath in the bathtub?

Follow the below steps to make a sitz bath:

  • A bathtub or a smaller, wide round tub (around 40 to 50 liters in size) can be used.
  • The tub should first be cleaned thoroughly with a disinfectant, such as bleach and water.
  • The tub should be filled 3 to 4 inch with warm water (the temperature of the water can be tested by placing a few drops on the back of the wrist).
  • Some salt, apple cider vinegar or baking soda, or the doctor’s prescription medication may be added to the water.
  • The perineum should then be soaked for 15 to 20 minutes. (Bend the knees and dangle the legs over the sides of the tub if possible.)
  • Finish by rinsing the perineum without rubbing too hard and pat dry.
  • The bathtub should then be washed thoroughly.

Using a sitz bath kit

A sitz bath kit is available at several stores and pharmacies. A prescription is not required to buy one. Follow the below steps to use a sitz bath kit:

  • The sitz bath should be placed into the open toilet and filled with warm water.
  • Some salt, apple cider vinegar or baking soda, or the doctor’s prescription medication may be added to the water.
  • The perineum can be soaked for 15 to 20 minutes. Most sitz baths have a vent that prevents water from overflowing.
  • Finish by rinsing the perineum without rubbing too hard and pat dry.
  • The bath should then be washed thoroughly.

SLIDESHOW

The 14 Most Common Causes of Fatigue See Slideshow

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Medically Reviewed on 3/26/2021
References
Hsu KF, Chia JS, Jao SW, Wu CC, Yang HY, Mai CM, Fu CY, Hsiao CW. Comparison of Clinical Effects Between Warm Water Spray and Sitz Bath in Post-Hemorrhoidectomy Period. J Gastrointest Surg. July 2009;13(7):1274-8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19337777/

Herand A. Instead of a Sitz Bath, Use a Detachable Shower Head. Diseases of the Colon & Rectum October 2018; 61(10)e367. https://journals.lww.com/dcrjournal/Citation/2018/10000/Instead_of_a_Sitz_Bath,_Use_a_Detachable_Shower.20.aspx

Medline Plus. Sitz Bath. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002299.htm