What is a SITZ SOAK and How do I use it?

bath herbal mom postpartum relief salt sitz sitz bath sitz soak

When I first found out what a Sitz Bath was, I was a bit annoyed that no one had ever mentioned them to me before. It seemed like something simple that had the potential to help so many people speed up recovery in times of discomfort. Why are these not more common knowledge? Why are they not being used more frequently? I’m not sure of these answers, but I’m here to help normalize these amazing soaks (and to advise you to be careful about where you buy them.)

The term “sitz bath” comes from the German verb “sitzbad”,  meaning a bath (bad) in which one sits (sitzen) - original, I know. This shallow bath is usually warm and allows for only the hips, buttocks, & genitals to be submerged in order to cleanse, ease pain, & promote therapeutic relief of the perineum. (Your perineum is the area between the opening of your anus and your genitals - everyone has a perineum.) Sitz baths are often marketed toward those giving birth, but they are also great at relieving symptoms for those who practice anal sex or who have discomfort from infections (such as certain sexually transmitted infections.) A sitz bath can be useful for the following:

  • Providing postpartum relief
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Anal fissures
  • Reducing the intensity of period cramps
  • Assisting with IBS
  • Aiding with infections
  • Relieving itching (external)
  • Draining Bartholin cysts
  • Easing discomfort from anal, vaginal or vulvar surgery (consult your doctor)

A SITZ SOAK is a unique blend of herbs, and often salts, that are used to create a tea or concentrate which is added to a sitz bath, helping gently clean the perineum and relieve issues stemming from various health concerns. While sitz blends vary- there is usually a lot of overlap in the herbs that have been chosen, due to their unique properties. When first creating this product for Kalme Co. I did a LOT of research and cross-referenced all the herbs in every recipe or ingredient list I could find, choosing to move forward with the herbs that were most commonly used and offered the most benefits. During this research I also found a lot of pre-made sitz soaks containing ingredients that seemed too harsh to be put near a yoni that had just given birth or a booty hole that had been torn open. When shopping around for a sitz bath soak, please be mindful to avoid citrus ingredients and anything you may be allergic to. Focus on finding soaks that use organic, quality herbs or perhaps consider making your own (though this can be expensive and may only be worth doing if you plan to take these baths frequently or have most ingredients on hand.) I would also avoid buying anything from giant warehouse-style stores such as Amazon or Walmart and focus on purchases from smaller companies or herbalists who are putting more thought into their preparations. 


How to Prepare the SITZ SOAK

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Turn off the heat. Add roughly a fistful of the herbal mixture to the hot water and allow to steep for 20 minutes or so. The herbal blend may also be placed in a mesh bag and then submerged in the just-boiled water for easier cleanup. 
  2. After steeping, this “tea” is now ready and can be used by straining it into a Sitz Bath, onto a (reusable) pad, or put into a sanitary spray bottle to mist directly onto the perineum. Some people prefer a cooling effect rather than warmth, so if poured onto a pad, the pad can be placed in the fridge to achieve this.

How to Prepare a SITZ BATH 

  1. Thoroughly scrub your bathtub and rinse it well so there is no soap residue. This is very important, don’t skip this step!
  2. Adjust water temperature so that it is warm but is not uncomfortably hot
  3. Fill the tub with just enough warm water so it will just cover your hips when you sit down. Do not add other oils or soaps
  4. Add the steeped SITZ SOAK tea, making sure to strain out the herbs
  5. Carefully climb in and soak for 15-20 minutes, making sure to keep the most affected areas of your lower body in the water
  6. Rinse the salts off with fresh water
  7. Gently pat yourself dry
  8. Repeat up to 3-4 times a day, as needed for relief

There’s generally very little risk involved in the use of a sitz bath, because it’s considered a noninvasive treatment. Rarely, an infection could develop in your perineal area. This could occur if you haven’t cleaned the bath carefully before use or if you’ve had recent surgery in your perineal area.

If your pain worsens or your perineum gets red and puffy, stop using the sitz bath immediately. Call a healthcare provider for additional guidance.

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