How to Use a Sitz Bath for Pain Relief

A sitz bath is one of the best solutions to aid with healing and it can really alleviate some of the aches and discomfort that comes with giving birth.

There are a number of benefits to sitz baths:

  • Improves blood flow to the perineal area, which can help reduce swelling and inflammation and promotes healing.

  • Help to soothe the soreness from stretching and relaxes the muscles in the perineum, which can relieve the pain of a tear or episiotomy.

  • Relieves the itching that often accompanies stitches and hemorrhoids.

  • Keep things clean down there, helping to lower the risk of infection.

How to set up and use a sitz bath:

  1. Fill a cleaned and disinfected sitz bath basin or your bathtub with two to three inches of water. If you are using a tub, you want the water to come up only to your hips when you sit down.

    Using a specialised basin that fits on top of a toilet is easier than using a tub, since you won’t have to take your clothes off.

  2. Use warm (not hot) water. Some women prefer cool water in their sitz bath — especially since cool water tends to reduce swelling more effectively than warm water. You can pour a few cups of brewed herbs, epsom salts, witch hazel or lavender or chamomile oil for extra relief.

  3. Sit in the tub, allowing your bottom to be comfortably soaking in the water. If you prefer, you can also add water to make it a bath of normal depth. There’s no need to sit longer than 15 minutes, but also no harm. Enjoy

  4. When you’re done, pat the area dry with a soft, clean towel. Don’t rub — that’ll only increase your soreness.

It is safe to use herbal sitz baths as soon as you are ready after giving birth. Many midwives suggest 1-2 sitz baths per day in the first week or two.

If you’ve had a C- section or vaginal tearing it might be worth just checking with your health visitor or midwife as to when you can soak your wound as they may need dryness for a while.

If there are stitches in the perineum, too much soaking can cause the tissues to break down and the stitches to fall apart, so be sure to ask your health visitor or gp for a recommendation.

Sitz baths or tubs that aren’t cleaned and disinfected well before using may spread bacteria, so be sure yours has passed the hygiene test before use.

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