A sitz bath is a low, shallow bath that consists of warm water and optional added ingredients of vinegar, baking soda or salt. Salt and vinegar work well to soothe irritated skin, and baking soda is known for its antibacterial properties. Sitz baths are often recommended for women who have recently undergone childbirth, and they are helpful for individuals who suffer from hemorrhoids and sebaceous cysts in the anal area.
Sitz baths cleanse the perineum area and are often utilized to minimize itching of the genitals and anus, a common symptom of yeast infections or bacterial infections. Sitz baths can be taken in shallow water directly in the bathtub. There are also sitz bath kits that fit directly over the toilet, allowing for additional comfort and support.
For a comfortable sitz bath experience, the tub or sitz bath kit must be filled with approximately 3 to 4 inches of water. While the water is still warm, epsom salt, vinegar or baking soda can be added. The perineum area should be soaked for up to 20 minutes. After the bath, the area should be gently dried and any surgical wounds or abrasions on the skin redressed. Sanitizing the tub or sitz kit with bleach and warm water ensures that all germs are eliminated from the surface of the tub or sitz bath basin.