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How To Take a Sitz Bath

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Updated July 10, 2014

plastic sitz bath
Dr. Barbara Bolen

A sitz bath is a wonderful, non-drug treatment for hemorrhoids and anal fissures. Requiring that you do no more than sit in warm water for a short period of time, sitz baths promote healing and ease discomfort by encouraging blood flow to the rectal area. It's also thought that they help relax the anal sphincter. If you suffer from chronic constipation, you will find that sitz baths will become a soothing aspect of your self-care.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: 15 to 20 minutes

What You Need:

  • Sitz Bath
  • Warm Water
  • Reading Material
  • Clean, cotton towel

Here's How:

  1. Purchase a sitz bath: You can find a plastic sitz bath at your local drugstore or medical supply store. The sitz bath is a plastic bowl that sits on top of your toilet seat. It has a cutout so that overflowing water will return to your toilet bowl. There are costlier systems that provide the option of hooking up to your faucet or a solution bag.

  2. Gather things to entertain you: You will be sitting for a period of time, so you might want something to occupy your mind - a magazine, a good book or a crossword puzzle. It might be tempting to bring in your smart phone or tablet, but it could be a costly mistake if you get it wet!

  3. Fill the sitz bath with warm water: The water should feel quite warm, but not so hot that it burns.

  4. Place the sitz bath on top of your toilet seat.

  5. Sit comfortably: You should sit on the sitz bath for approximately 15 to 20 minutes. You may need to refill the water to keep it at a helpful warm temperature.

  6. When finished, get up slowly: On rare occasions, the dilation of blood vessels caused by the warm water may result in dizziness.

  7. Carefully dry the area: If possible, let the rectal area air dry or pat it dry with a clean cotton towel.

  8. Repeat once or twice a day.

Essential Next Steps:

1. Click here to learn how to prevent hemorrhoids.

2. Click here to find out other ways to care for your hemorrhoids.

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