Overview of Sitz Bath

A sitz bath is a bath in just enough water to cover the buttocks, upper thighs and lower abdomen. It is more labor intensive than other hydrotherapy treatments, but it powerfully affects the pelvic and abdominal organs.

A hot sitz bath is recommended for uterine cramps, spasms, ovarian or prostate pain, prostate infections, hemorrhoids, colic, insomnia, and sciatica. A short cold sitz bath is good for inflammation, constipation, vaginal discharge, benign prostate hypertrophy, and impotence. Alternating hot and cold is used for relieving pelvic congestion, constipation, prostatitis, hemorrhoids, pelvic inflammatory disease, chronic urinary tract infections, and vaginal infections. Neutral baths are used for acute bladder infection, pruritis ani (intense itching in the anal area), and mental overstimulation.

Sitz Bath Procedure

Using a washtub or bathtub, place the person in the tub so only the buttocks, upper thighs, and lower abdomen are immersed. The legs should be elevated out of the water and wrapped in a blanket. The torso should be wrapped in a blanket as well. The water temperature should be appropriate for the malady being treated. At the conclusion of the bath, dry the person thoroughly and have them rest for at least 1 hour.

  • Hot sitz baths can be 3 to 8 minutes in duration. During a hot sitz bath, a cool washcloth may be placed on the forehead. Hot sitz baths should be concluded with a rinse of cold water.
  • Cold sitz baths can be 3 to 8 minutes in duration.
  • Alternating hot and cold sitz baths are usually 5 minutes in hot water and 1 minute in cold water (alternating 3 times and ending with cold).

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 02 Jan 2001

Last Modified: 01 Dec 2011