Should the sitz bath (hip bath) water be hot or cold? What is the best temperature for hemorrhoid treatment?

Health & FitnessMedicine

  • Author William Mason
  • Published February 1, 2016
  • Word count 556

There are a lot of natural home remedies for hemorrhoids. One of the most famous is sitz bath. Sitz bath or hip bath is a type of bathing method in which a person sits on a large basin or a tub with cool or warm water up to the hips. Originally a European custom of bathing, it is now widely used for therapeutic purposes such as relief from hemorrhoids or anal fissure, treatment for vaginal yeast infection or candidiasis, constipation and incontinence among other conditions.

Despite its popularity however, most people do not know how and what to prepare for a sitz bath when one has hemorrhoids. Remember that other conditions require special preparations. Should my water be warm or cool? Do I need to sit for an hour? Do I need to put salt, aroma or baking soda on the basin? Do I need to do this once a week?

Preparing and doing a sitz bath is generally easy. Just remember the following:

  1. Prepare a plastic sitz bath purchased at most drug stores, or if not available, a large enough basin or a regular bath tub. Ensure that the basin that will be used is large enough that a person can fit in and the water can be filled up to the level of the hips otherwise the therapeutic effect of the bath on the hemorrhoids and the pain will not be as efficient.

  2. Warm water (although some prefer alternating cool water after a warm sitz bath, cool or cold water is still optional). Although there is no standard temperature for a sitz bath, the water should be warm enough to provide relief but not too hot that it can burn. The effects of the warm water include reduction of the swelling of the hemorrhoids, regulating the blood flow and relaxing the muscles and skin on the buttocks area. During the 10-15 minute period of the bath, water will naturally cool down therefore it will help that there is a continuous flow of warm water. Again, as desired, cool or cold water can be alternated.

  3. Materials for entertainment such as books, crossword puzzles, music devices or a mobile phone. Since doing the sitz bath might take a while, it would be helpful to provide some entertainment to occupy your mind away from the pain caused by the hemorrhoids. Just make sure that the entertainment of choice does not need to use electricity. Remember, water and electricity does not work well together.

  4. Drying towels. After 10 or 15 minutes, if time permits, air-dry the hip and buttocks area. If luxury of time is scarce, then drying towel can be used. Remember that sitz bath don’t have to take too long. In some instance when sitz bath is done for 20 minutes or so, some experience dizziness and/or palpitation. Do the sitz bath, two to three times a week to provide optimum relief with pain caused by the hemorrhoids.

  5. If preferred and not contraindicated, essence or aroma, salt, baking powder and oil can be used. Although no scientific evidence says it helps with relieving hemorrhoids, if it can make the experience much relaxing, then these additional things can be used as well.

Sitz bath no matter how much relief it provides is not a treatment for hemorrhoids. It is best to consult with the doctor if condition worsens.

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