If you suffer from hemorrhoids, a sitz bath could be an ideal natural remedy to cool the burning sensation.
Most people have heard of inflammation. However, very few understand why it occurs or how it impacts the body. If you’re among those few, you know that inflammation is the body’s natural way of fighting off the things that would otherwise cause it harm. These dangers include infections and toxins. It also plays an integral role in enabling the body to heal itself from injuries.
To better understand this physiological response, it helps to know a little more about what is taking place when any part of the body become inflamed. If you get injured, develop an infection, or get exposed to harmful toxins, it causes cell damage.
Then, the body releases chemicals, which triggers an immune system response in the form of inflammation. And that response can also cause certain parts of the body to become inflamed. Inflammation is the body’s way of protecting and healing itself. Still, it can cause severe pain and discomfort when it occurs.
For that reason, many people take prescription and over-the-counter drugs to relieve their symptoms. However, for those who struggle with inflammation and are opposed to taking medication, you will be happy to know that there are other treatment options.
Why Americans Are Opposed to Taking Medication
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 50 million people in America report struggling with chronic pain. Of those, an estimated 20 million describe their pain as being so intense that it significantly disrupts their professional and personal life. And in nearly all of these cases, severe inflammation was said to be a factor in the pain and discomfort they felt. It is also worth noting that many individuals who struggle with pain and inflammation do not take medication even though doing so could spell relief.
To understand why so many Americans possess this mindset, it helps to take a look at a 2017 Gallup poll. For reference, Gallup is an analytics and advisory firm headquartered in Washington, D.C. According to the Gallup poll, an estimated 23 percent of Americans believe that taking medication is not particularly safe. And approximately 8 percent of Americans believe that taking medication is not safe at all.
The 2017 survey further revealed that more than 78 percent of Americans will try to resolve pain naturally before they ever think about taking medication. That said, one all-natural pain remedy that has been gaining a lot of attention as of late is sitz baths.
Sitz Baths: An Easy and All-Natural Way to Relieve Pain and Inflammation
For those who might not be as familiar with them, a sitz bath, as the name might suggest, is a warm bath that individuals sit in to relieve pain associated with a plurality of health problems, such as hemorrhoids, anal fissures, and arthritis. And pain stemming from inflammation resulting from injuries, infections, or exposure to toxins are no exception.
Along with providing pain relief, these warm baths can also help reduce swelling, which is often par for the course when it comes to inflammation. Although this approach to relieving pain and inflammation might sound peculiar, those who have tried them have attested to their effectiveness in terms of easing pain and reducing swelling. And this was especially true among those struggling with hemorrhoids, as relieving pain and reducing swelling enables people to go about their daily life.
Although these soothing and pain-relieving baths require nothing more than clean, warm water, you can add one or more of the following for even better results:
- Epsom salt
- Non-iodized sea salt
- Apple cider vinegar
- Baking soda
Who Should Consider Sitz Baths?
A warm sitz bath can provide relief from mild to moderate pain affecting nearly any part of the body; however, they are especially beneficial to those struggling with lower body pain caused by anorectal disorders, according to Wiley Online. Wiley Online is a website that publishes well-researched online journals related to biological, chemical, and health sciences.
That said, along with anal fissures and hemorrhoids, taking a warm sitz bath can help relieve pain and inflammation brought on by the following painful anorectal disorders:
- Anal herpes
- Anal fistulas
Because these baths effectively target and relieve lower body pain, they can also benefit individuals seeking relief from osteoarthritis, which often causes joint pain in the knees, hips, and feet. They can also provide, though to a lesser extent, relief from lower body joint pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis, which, unlike osteoarthritis, is an autoimmune disease. It is also worth noting that a study published by the Arthritis Foundation revealed that soaking in a warm bath, with or without additional chemicals, provides considerable relief from musculoskeletal pain, such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, and back pain.
How to Use a Sitz Bath to Relieve Pain Naturally
Now that we are a little more familiar with sitz baths, who should consider them, and the kind of pain they can help resolve, let’s take a look at how to use them to relieve pain naturally. First and foremost, as noted earlier, these baths can consist of water only or water combined with Epsom salt, non-iodized sea salt, or other ingredients. So it might be a good idea to speak with a physician regarding which approach will be best for you based on your unique pain symptoms. That aside, here are a few tips to get you moving in the right direction:
Bathtub Instructions for a Sitz Bath
The most common way to use a sitz bath to relieve pain is in a bathtub. And doing so will entail the following:
1 – Preparing the bathtub
The first step in preparing your bath should entail cleaning the tub. Studies show that even a small amount of bacteria or other contaminants left in the bathtub can irritate the skin, which can worsen pain and inflammation. And this is especially true for those using these baths to treat an anorectal disorder.
2 – Filling the bathtub
After cleaning the bathtub, you will then want to fill it with about 3 to 4 inches of water. It is important to make sure that the water is not scalding hot as this can lead to severe burns, which will only make matters worse. According to drugs.com, an online pharmaceutical encyclopedia that provides drug information aimed at consumers and physicians alike, the ideal water temperature for sitz bathwater is between 94 and 98 degrees Fahrenheit.
3 – Adding additional ingredients to the bathwater
Although optional, you might want to consider adding some Epsom salt, non-iodized sea salt, apple cider vinegar, or baking soda to the bathwater if you’re seeking relief from pain brought on by an anorectal disorder. The same applies to arthritic pain as well. Studies show that these chemicals, especially Epsom salt, can soothe irritated skin in and around the anus, shrink painful hemorrhoids, and provide relief from painful arthritis faster than using just water alone.
4 – Getting in the bathtub
Before lowering yourself into the bathtub, it is a good idea to check the temperature of the water one more time. You need to make sure you can tolerate the temperature. From there, carefully lower yourself into the sitz bathwater. Most people will sit in these baths with their knees bent. However, you should choose a seated position that works best for you. Lastly, you will want to sit in the water for 10 to 20 minutes.
Toilet Sitz Bath Instructions
Along with a bathtub, you can also use a sitz bowl to relieve hemorrhoid pain. You can find this unit in most pharmacies and medical supply stores. These bath bowls, which are specialized plastic containers, fit over the opening on any standard toilet. If you choose this option, you will want to follow these steps:
- Lift both the toilet lid and seat before placing the plastic container on the rim of the toilet.
- Double-check the fitting to ensure the container will not move once you put your weight on it.
- Using a pitcher or a small bowl of some kind, fill the plastic container with enough warm water to cover your perineum once you sit on it.
- Add Epsom salt or other ingredients to the water as needed.
- Gently lower yourself on to the toilet, making sure to submerge your entire perineum into the warm water.
- Lastly, you will want to soak in the water for about 10 to 20 minutes. You will feel the inflammation, irritation, and pain starts to subside.
Final Thoughts on Using a Sitz Bath to Ease Inflammation
Are you among the thousands of Americans who are averse to taking medication but struggling with hemorrhoid pain? If so, then sitting in warm sitz bathwater is worth considering. Soaking, whether in a bathtub or on a toilet, can provide significant relief from these symptoms and others. Perform this treatment two to three times per day.
Even if you’re taking medications to combat these symptoms, add a sitz bath to your treatment. It can still serve as a form of complementary therapy to help relieve pain and discomfort that much faster.