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What is a Sitz Bath?

Baking soda is commonly added to a sitz bath.
A sitz bath is used for soaking a localized area of the body, such as the pelvic region.
A sitz bath may be helpful for women suffering with menstrual cramps.
Article Details
  • Originally Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Revised By: A. Joseph
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 02 August 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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The term "sitz bath" can refer either to a bath in which only a person's pelvic area typically is immersed in the water or to a type of tub that makes it easier to take this type of bath. It is possible for a person to take a sitz bath in a regular bathtub, but his or her feet either need to be kept over the side of the tub or put in the water with the knees kept bent. This might not be quite as hygienic as a sitz bath that is taken in a sitz bathtub. Warm or cool water can be used and might contain additives such as baking soda or salt. This type of bath typically lasts 10-20 minutes.

Benefits

The word "sitz" derives from the German word sitzen, which means "to sit." This is an apt term for describing this type of bath, in which the person merely sits in the water. This treatment of localized bathing, sometimes with baking soda, salt or vinegar added to the water, is often prescribed for someone who has hemorrhoids or anal fistulae; who has undergone a recent episiotomy, which is the cutting and suturing of the perineum done when a woman has a baby; or for a woman who is suffering from menstrual cramps. A sitz bath also might reduce discomfort that is caused by inflammation of the prostate gland.

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Types of Tubs

The ease of taking the bath will vary depending on the type of bathtub that is being used. Some tubs for sitz baths are made to fit over toilets and have a drains so that any additional water will not leak when their users sit down. Others fit on top of chair or might even be chair with sitz bathtubs built into them. Patients also can simply use any large tubs, such as dish tubs, but the tubs should be large enough to accommodate their users.

Safety and Cleanliness

Cleanliness is important when a person uses a sitz bath of any type. The basin or tub should be thoroughly cleaned after each use. If someone plans to use a dish tub, it should be purchased new and should be used only for sitz baths. Cleaning and disinfecting the tubs between uses can help ensure that future sitz baths will not promote infection. For safety reasons, some patients might want to have other people help him take sitz baths, because some people have noted dizziness when standing up after sitting in the bath for 10 minutes or longer.

Cost

The price of a sitz bath can vary, but basic models usually are inexpensive. More complicated baths, including those that have drains or that provide constant flows of water, can be far more expensive. Even the least expensive sitz bath generally is considered likely to promote greater comfort when used with care and cleanliness.

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Discuss this Article

anon142441
Post 12

I'm linu. I want to know how much salt should be added t one liter of hot water for a sitz bath?

anon21456
Post 9

To anyone looking to purchase an antique sitz bath, I saw one in Seattle, Washington, at an architectural salvage store called the Restore. I think it was cast iron; very beautiful and decorative.

evelynbeth
Post 7

For those of you looking for old, ceramic sitz baths, try looking at architectural salvage stores. I saw one at the Old Home Depot in Mississippi. Businesses that specialize in salvaging stuff from old homes will usually be able to tell you where you can find things, or get them for you. Good luck!

anon20016
Post 6

I used a sitz bath in 2001 after my first child was born and I had a mild episiotomy. My doctor advised this treatment and it was very helpful...i'm still trying to figure out why i was not advised to do a sitz bath after a vaginal hernia repair.....any ideas?

anon18225
Post 4

My elderly father had his hemorrhoids removed at least 30 years ago. Recently he is having issues with them again. When he first had surgery he had a free standing ceramic sitz bath bowl that stood on iron/steel legs. He has one of those plastic sitz baths but really wants the type he used to have. I have googled every combination I can think of to try and find a ceramic sitz bowl. I really don't think anyone makes them anymore. If anyone out there knows of where I can find one I would be grateful. My dad is 82 yrs old and when he wants something specific it's hard for him to accept the fact things are just not made the way they once were.

Thanks.

anon13347
Post 3

I just had a vaginal hernia repaired and I found out after the fact that sitz baths are getting harder and harder to find. I checked with 3 Wal-Marts, 2 CVS, 2 mom & pop pharmacies, 4 Walgreens, 3 Targets. I was finally able to locate one at a Walgreens. The pharmacist told me that they don't order them often because they just sit on the shelves. Does anyone know what the deal is? Why they seem to be going out of style? I found them very helpful when I had my babies back in the 70's and 80's

anon12519
Post 2

Hi Regina,

I believe that people are recommended sitz baths for episiotomy healing. I know I received this recommendation after having my two babies. I think you'd have to keep the environment of the sitz bath very clean. An alternative is to use an antibacterial spray, a bit like solarcaine, which helps keep the area from getting infected, and provides a little topical pain relief.

anon12363
Post 1

Hi am regina msc nursing student i want to know whether sitz bath can use for episiotomy healing?

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