If you’ve recently been diagnosed with hemorrhoids or an anal fissure, you already know how painful these conditions can be and how hard it is to get relief. Sometimes over-the-counter or prescription ointments can help– but one of the best things you can do to eliminate the burning, itching, and general discomfort caused by these anal conditions is a home treatment option known as a sitz bath.
A sitz bath is basically a warm water bath where the anus and perianal area are completely submerged. Generally, people take sitz baths with a special plastic tub that fits on most home toilets. This allows the sitz bath to be performed in the sitting position, maximizing the treatment area. Most plastic sitz bath tubs also come with a special bag to hold water that has a long tube attached to it, which makes this home anal fissure treatment even more convenient.
To use your sitz bath, begin by filling up the water bag with water that is the hottest that will come out of your home tap (usually about 120 degrees). Make sure the clamp on the tube is closed so water does not come out. Next, you’ll want to fill the plastic sitz bath tub about half full with water that is just comfortably warm. Many people like to add about a quarter of a cup of Epsom salt to the water to further help relieve the burning and itching caused by hemorrhoids and fissures.
Next, lift the lid and seat of your toilet, and place the plastic tub with water directly on the rim of the toilet. There will be holes on the side of the sitz bath tub that allow excess water to spill into the toilet without making a mess. Insert the plastic tube from the water bag through one of these holes and down into the center of the sitz bath tub. Most sitz baths have a raised plastic notch in the center to hold the tube in place. Now, you’re ready to go!
Sit down directly on the sitz bath so that your buttocks is completely immersed in the warm water. To add a little more water to the sitz bath, simply open the clamp on the tube and water will flow from the bag into the tub. You can periodically add warm water this way to keep the temperature of the water comfortable. Don’t worry about overfilling the sitz bath–any excess water will simply spill into the toilet.
If you don’t have a plastic sitz bath tub, you can simply sit in a bathtub of warm water for your treatment, although in my personal experience this isn’t nearly as effective as using the special plastic tub. For best results, you’ll want to use the sitz bath for 15 to 20 minutes two or three times per day. After soaking, pat the area dry very gently with a soft towel, and make sure to clean the plastic tub very well before storing it. You’ll notice that the sitz bath provides near immediate relief of burning, itchy hemorrhoids and anal fissures, and if you keep up with daily treatments, you’ll find that you’ll be back to feeling normal in no time.