A sitz bath helps relieve the discomfort of hemorrhoids, childbirth or a rash near your perineum -- the space between the rectum and scrotum or vulva. A special insert that fits onto your toilet seat makes it possible to just immerse your nether region. A sitz bath is a daily cleansing ritual for some or a temporary therapeutic treatment for an injury or condition.
Adding salt to a sitz bath may help enhance its soothing and healing effects. Always stir in the salts to encourage them to dissolve.
Epsom salt is commonly added to a sitz bath because it soothes and aids in wound repair. Epsom salt isn't really "salt," rather it's a pure mineral compound composed of magnesium and sulfate. The compound can ease muscle pain, reduce stress and enhance nerve and muscle function. Add about 1/3 cup to warm water for a sitz bath.
Table salt may be added to soothe the sting that plain water can have on tender skin and wounds. Add 1/3 of a cup to very warm water for the bath.
Avoid using cosmetic "bath salts" that may contain extra perfumes and chemicals that would irritate, rather than ease, discomfort.
Other ingredients may be added to the sitz bath; what you add depends on why you're using the bath. Baking soda relieves itching and a tablespoon or two of white vinegar can help kill bacteria. Two tablespoons of witch hazel added to the bath can also help reduce swelling and is particularly beneficial following childbirth. Parenting Magazine suggests adding a few drops of soothing essential oils, such as lavender and chamomile, to promote relaxation.
How to Make a Sitz Bath
Obtain a Bath Insert
Purchase one online or from a drugstore. If you've been hospitalized, as for childbirth, you may have one sent home with you.
Fill the insert about three-quarters of the way up with warm water.
Add 1/3 cup salt and any other ingredients you choose or your doctor has suggested. Stir thoroughly.
Plan to sit in the bath for about 20 minutes.
A sitz bath with no additives, just plain water, can also be beneficial.