A sitz bath for hemorrhoids is essentially a warm and shallow bath that is used to clean the perineum. This is the space between the rectum and the vulva/scrotum. This kind of sitz bath can also be used as part of a regular personal hygiene routine, to provide relief from pain and itching in the genital area, and is also one of the most effective hemorrhoid treatments you can find.
While you could have a sitz bath in your actual tub if you wanted it’s more comfortable to have one that can be placed over the toilet.
Get started by purchasing the container for your sitz bath for hemorrhoids. This is typically a kind of plastic tub that you put over the seat of your toilet. Next you fill the tub with warm water and something else, often salt or baking soda, and then soak your anal area in the mixture for around 20 minutes. The mixture will clean out the infected and swollen area and improve blood flow to the pelvic region to provide relief.
Sitz baths for hemorrhoids are so effective that they are often the first treatment methods that your doctor will prescribe for you if they diagnose you with hemorrhoids.
There are a lot of benefits to having a sitz bath for hemorrhoids. One of the main advantages is how comfortable and effective they are. They provide almost instant relief from the symptoms of hemorrhoids. When you add baking soda or salt to the mixture it also clears away the infection completely. You can also invest in additional treatment options to get rid of your hemorrhoids for good.
Another major advantage of these sitz baths for hemorrhoids is that they are quite inexpensive. While there is no general set price a sitz bath can often be bought for just $10. You could also buy one with a little more functionality, such as a drain, but these will obviously cost a bit more.
While it is absolutely true that a sitz bath is one of the most effective hemorrhoid treatments around there are still other treatment methods that should be incorporated into your treatment plan. You should eat a healthy and balanced diet for a start. Fiber is incredibly important because it keeps your bowel movements soft and regular. This reduces your chances of constipation and also reduces your chance of developing hemorrhoids again in the future.
If you want to give a sitz bath a go yourself then take a trip to your nearest health store and find a sitz bath of your own or better still, simply check these sitz baths out here. Whilst you’re at it you may want to consider purchasing essential oils to mix into the bath to make it more effective. These essential oils are a great idea if you have swollen or tender skin. If that’s the case then you should pick up some juniper and lavender oils.
Epsom Salt and Other Sitz Bath Recipes for Hemorrhoids
Although a sitz bath can be beneficial when used with just warm water, as I have mentioned already, there are a number of recipes and concoctions that can be added to the warm water that will also help ease your hemorrhoids and can even make the whole experience of taking a sitz bath pleasurable!
Epsom Salt for Hemorrhoids
Contrary to what its name suggests, Epsom salt is not salt! Epsom salt is in fact the mineral magnesium sulphate and has a multitude of uses in both health and beauty as well as in the home and garden, but does Epsom salt help hemorrhoids?
First of all, the best health benefits from Epsom salt is obtained when it is dissolved in warm water as both the magnesium and the sulphate are easily absorbed through the skin and that is why it is ideal for use with a sitz bath.
What does Epsom Salt do?
Once magnesium is absorbed through the skin it prevents blood vessels from hardening and is an excellent ant-inflammatory, which is why it will help shrink your hemorrhoid and relieve pain.
The sulphate part of the mineral helps with the absorption of nutrients and getting rid of infection.
Epsom Salt can be taken orally too, helping relieve constipation, cleansing the colon of toxins, and improving internal water absorption which, when all added together, result in softer stools and easier elimination.
How to use Epsom Salt in your Sitz Bath for Hemorrhoids
Using Epsom Salt couldn’t be easier. Simply add a couple of cups to the warm water in your sitz bowl and allow it to dissolve, stirring may speed up the process. Once the Epsom salt has dissolved, sit and soak for about 20 minutes and then dry thoroughly. Moisturize the washed area well, preferably with aloe Vera gel or baby oil. Do not use any type of soap or shower gel to wash the soaked area as this might reduce the effectiveness of the treatment.
Where to buy Epsom Salt
Epsom salt can be purchased from most pharmacies and many of the bigger grocery stores or alternatively you can buy some here.
Basic Salt Water
Adding salt to your warm sitz bath water is usually the first ‘recipe’ that is tried, mainly because most of us usually have plenty of salt sitting in our cupboards. The quantity of salt you need to add to the water will depend of the amount of water that is being used.
Salt is a really good anti-bacterial as well as a natural astringent, and as such will help clear up any infection and also help reduce the size of the hemorrhoid.
I mentioned the use of baking soda earlier in this article and like the previous two sitz bath additives you dissolve it in warm water. Also known as bicarbonate of soda and sodium bicarbonate, baking soda acts as an anaesthetic and will help soothe irritated skin and relieve any itching.
Witch hazel is a natural astringent and an anti-inflammatory that can be added to your sitz bath. Check out my article about the benefits of witch hazel here.
The use of essential oils has increased over the last few decades with the increased interest in alternative medicine and aromatherapy.
The essential oils that are most commonly used for hemorrhoids are;
- Lavender: Soothes skin irritations and helps damaged skin recover quickly
- Tea tree: Helps clean and rejuvenate skin
- Cypress: Improves blood flow locally
- Dill: Beneficial to digestive and gastrointestinal health
- Frankincense: Soothes skin and helps damaged skin tissue recover
- Chamomile: Calms skin inflammation.
Although I’m not the type of person that would dismiss any form of treatment, especially one that many individuals swear by, I have to say that from what research I have done about the use of essential oils, there is very little evidence to suggest that they are as effective as aroma therapists say they are. However, just to balance things out, there is very little evidence to suggest that essential oils are not as effective as aroma therapists say they are either!
So I’ll leave you to make your own mind up about them, they may well be the remedy that works for you!
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar works as an astringent, shrinking your hemorrhoid. If you do decide to try using apple cider vinegar as a sitz bath additive, and many people have done with great success, be warned that doing so excessively or in too strong a mixture can lead to skin irritation and actually make your situation worse due to the acetic acid content in the vinegar.
Well stewed tea (just your everyday variety) has excellent astringent properties and can be simply added to your sitz bath.
If you’ve already been trying a sitz bath and you feel that your condition hasn’t improved enough then it’s time to speak to your doctor to discuss what other treatment options are available to you. Some people end up suffering from persistent hemorrhoids and it takes more powerful treatments such as surgery to finally stop the problem.
Even if you do end up having to undergo surgery, and you really should check out all treatment avenues before doing so, which includes checking out ‘hemorrhoid no more’ by Jessica Wright, you will still be advised by your surgeon to take sitz baths afterwards as it will help with the recovery and healing process.