The Sitz bath, also known as hip bath, is a home remedy that originally came from Europe. The name itself comes from the German “sitzen”, which means to sit.
The hemorrhoid treatment consists of soaking the buttocks and hips in a solution of saline or plain water. Depending upon the condition being treated, hot or cold water may be used. One of the main effects of a sitz bath is to increase blood flow to the abdomen and pelvis, which can help in the treatment of hemorrhoids as well as other medical conditions.
Uses of Sitz Baths
One of the most popular uses of the sitz bath is as a means to alleviate the symptoms of hemorrhoids. Many hemroids sufferers find sitz baths a very effective means to reduce swelling and inflammation in hemorrhoidal tissue. Consequently, sitz baths can help relieve the pain which often accompanies hemroids.
Sitz baths have many other uses besides the treatment of hemorrhoids. Sitz baths can be used to relieve the pain associated with various types of inflammatory conditions in the pelvic area, genital herpes and prostate problems being a couple of examples. The treatment can also relieve the pain of certain types of muscle disorders, such as ovarian and uterine cramps in women. Sitz baths have long been thought to renew vigor and good health.
Hot or Cold Sitz Baths?
As mentioned earlier, the water used in sitz baths may be hot or cold, depending upon the condition you are treating. Hot sitz baths are often used to treat chronic or severe hemorrhoids, to increase blood flow and prevent strangulation or clotting from occurring in the hemroids.
Cold sitz baths can be used for short-term relief of the inflammation caused by hemroids, and can be used to treat conditions such as muscle disorders and constipation. They can also be used by men to treat impotence, and by women to treat vaginal discharge.
Finally, a combinations of alternating hot and cold sitz baths are recommended as treatment for a number of disorders including blood poisoning, headaches, abdominal disorders, congestion, neuralgia, muscle disorders and even foot infections and swollen ankles.
Sitz Bath Variations
Additives can be used with sitz baths to make them more effective. Saline and vinegar are two popular additives which can be used in sitz baths to treat vaginal yeast infections. About ½ cup of each can be added to a warm sitz bath, and the woman should sit in the tub for about 30 minutes or whenever the water cools. In this manner, the sitz bath can help to restore the pH balance of the vagina, and aid in recovery.
Administering a Hot and Cold Sitz Bath
Alternating hot and cold sitz baths are used to treat a variety of conditions. To use this hemorrhoids treatment, two tubs are recommended, but a towel can be substituted for the cold sitz bath if only one tub is available.
First, the patient should sit on a hot sitz bath for 3 to 4 minutes, followed by about 30 to 60 seconds on the cold sitz bath. For the hot bath, the water temperature should be about 110º F (43º C). For the cold sitz bath, ice water should be used. The procedure should be performed 3 to 5 times a day to be effective, and should always start with the hot sitz bath and end with the cold sitz bath.
If a towel is to be used instead of a second tub, the patient should wrap the cold towel around the pelvic area when it comes time to have the cold sitz bath. The towel should be placed between the legs and folded over both the front and back of the pelvic area, where it should remain for about 60 seconds.