Taking a sitz bath in the bathtub
If you’re taking a sitz bath in the bathtub, the first step is to clean the tub.
Clean the tub by mixing 2 tablespoons of bleach with 1/2 gallon of water. Scrub the bathtub and rinse thoroughly.
Next, fill the tub with 3 to 4 inches of water. The water should be warm, but not hot enough to cause burns or discomfort. You can test the temperature of the water by placing a drop or two on your wrist. When you’ve found a comfortable temperature, add any substances your doctor recommended to the bath.
Now, step into the tub and soak your perineum for 15 to 20 minutes. Bend your knees or, if possible, dangle your legs over the sides of the tub to keep them out of the water altogether.
When you get out of the bathtub, gently pat yourself dry with a clean cotton towel. Don’t rub or scrub the perineum, as this may cause pain and irritation.
Finish by rinsing the bathtub thoroughly.
Taking a sitz bath using a kit
A plastic sitz bath kit fits over the toilet. Rinse the bath kit with clean water before using it. Then, add very warm — but not hot — water along with any medications or solutions recommended by your doctor.
Place the sitz bath into the open toilet.
Test it by trying to move it from side to side to ensure it will stay in place and won’t shift.
You can pour warm water in before you sit down, or you can use the plastic bag and tubing to fill the tub with water after you’ve sat down. The water should be deep enough so that it covers your perineum.
Soak for 15 to 20 minutes. If you used the plastic bag, you can add warm water as the original water cools. Most sitz baths have a vent that prevents water from overflowing. The water conveniently overflows into the toilet and can be flushed.
When you’re finished, stand up and pat the area dry with a clean cotton towel. Avoid rubbing or scrubbing the area when you do this.
Get the sitz bath ready for its next use by cleaning it thoroughly.
A sitz bath doesn’t require a doctor’s prescription. Some people use sitz baths regularly as a way to cleanse the perineum. In addition to its use in cleansing, the sitz bath’s warm water increases blood flow to the perineal area. This can promote faster healing. A sitz bath also relieves:
Common reasons why you might want to consider using a sitz bath include:
recently having surgery on the vulva or vagina
recently having given birth
recently having hemorrhoids surgically removed
having discomfort from hemorrhoids
having discomfort with bowel movements
Both children and adults can use sitz baths. Parents should always supervise their children during a sitz bath.
Doctors sometimes prescribe medications or other additives to put in a sitz bath. An example is povidone-iodine, which has antibacterial properties. Adding table salt, vinegar, or baking soda to the water can also create a soothing solution. But you may take a sitz bath using only warm water.