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Sitz bath: An effective home remedy for vaginal itching

Sitz bath is not just for relaxing or getting relief from anal fissures. You can also go for sitz bath for vaginal itching.
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Sitz bath can provide relief from vaginal itching. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Natalia Ningthoujam Updated: 16 Jan 2024, 05:06 pm IST
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If you have been looking for home remedies for vaginal itching, sitz bath may be the answer. All you need is a shallow basin or bathtub filled with warm water and Epsom salt or other solutions, as recommended by your doctor. Read on to know how sitz bath can help with vaginal itching.

What is sitz bath?

A sitz bath is like a mini hot tub for your nether regions. It is a shallow bath that you sit in to help soothe and cleanse the perineum, the space between the rectum and the vulva or scrotum, says gynaecologist and obstetrician Dr Vinatha Puli. It is usually recommended for postpartum care, hemorrhoids or other discomfort in that region.

Many people like to opt for a sitz bath if they have perineal discomfort or soreness due to prolonged sitting. The warm water in a sitz bath can have a relaxing effect on the muscles in the pelvic and perineal region. It can be beneficial for individuals with anal fissures as well.

Woman having vaginal health issues
Try sitz bath for vaginal itching. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Is sitz bath for vaginal itching helpful?

A sitz bath can provide relief from vaginal itching. Here’s how it can help:

1. Cleanliness

A sitz bath involves soaking the perineal area in warm water, which helps to cleanse the external genitalia. This can wash away any irritants, discharge or bacteria that may contribute to vaginal itching, says the expert.

2. Soothes

The warm water in the sitz bath helps to relax the muscles and soothe the irritated skin. It can provide relief from discomfort and itching by promoting increased blood flow to the area.

3. Reduces inflammation

If the itching is associated with inflammation, such as in cases of mild irritation or yeast infections, the warm water can help reduce inflammation and promote healing.

4. Relieves itch

Some people add ingredients like baking soda or colloidal oatmeal to the sitz bath water. These substances are believed to have soothing properties and may provide additional relief from itching, Dr Puli tells Health Shots.

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5. Hydration and moisturisation

Soaking in water can help hydrate the skin, preventing it from becoming dry and further irritated. Proper hydration is needed for overall skin health.

While a sitz bath can be helpful for mild vaginal itching, persistent or severe symptoms should be evaluated by a gynaecologist. Conditions such as sexually transmitted infections or skin disorders may require specific medical treatment.

What to add in sitz bath?

Several ingredients can be added to a sitz bath to potentially help with vaginal itching. Here are some options:

1. Epsom salt

Epsom salt is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties. Adding it to a sitz bath may help reduce inflammation and provide relief from itching.

2. Baking soda

Baking soda is thought to have alkaline properties that may help balance the pH of the vaginal area. This can be beneficial for those experiencing itching due to an imbalance in pH, says the expert.

3. Colloidal oatmeal

Colloidal oatmeal is known for its soothing and moisturising properties. As it can help calm irritated skin, it may provide relief from itching.

4. Witch hazel

Witch hazel has astringent properties and is often used for its soothing effects. It may help reduce vaginal itching and inflammation.

5. Chamomile tea

Chamomile has anti-inflammatory and calming properties. Adding chamomile tea to the sitz bath water may help soothe irritated skin and reduce itching.

What not to add in sitz bath?

Some ingredients can be beneficial in a sitz bath, but certain substances should be avoided to prevent irritation or other adverse effects.

Soap
Don’t use strong soaps during a sitz bath. Image courtesy: Adobe stock

1. Strong soaps or harsh cleansers

Strong soaps or cleansers can disrupt the natural pH balance of the vaginal area, leading to irritation and worsening of symptoms. Stick to mild, fragrance-free soaps if cleaning is necessary.

2. Perfumes or fragrances

Fragrances and perfumes can contain harsh chemicals that may irritate sensitive skin. They can also disrupt the natural balance of the vaginal area, leading to discomfort and itching.

3. Bubble bath products

Bubble bath products often contain additives and fragrances that can be irritating to the delicate skin in the genital area. They may also disrupt the natural balance of the vagina.

The frequency of sitz baths for vaginal itching or irritation can vary. Your doctor may suggest daily sitz baths or a specific schedule based on the underlying cause of the itching.

How to do sitz bath?

Performing a sitz bath involves a straightforward procedure. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do a sitz bath:

1. Gather supplies

Get a sitz bath basin, which fits over the toilet, or use a clean bathtub.
Buy any recommended additives, such as Epsom salt, baking soda, or colloidal oatmeal.

2. Prepare the sitz bath

If using a sitz bath basin, place it over the toilet according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If using a bathtub, ensure it is clean and filled with enough warm water to submerge your perineal area comfortably.

3. Add optional additives

If your doctor has recommended additives, add them to the water. Ensure that the additives are well-dissolved.

4. Check the water temperature

To ensure the water is comfortably warm, check the temperature. It should not be too hot to avoid discomfort.

5. Undress from the waist down

It is not a full-body bath, so remove your clothes from the waist down. This will ensure easy access to the perineal area.

6. Sit in the sitz bath

Carefully lower yourself into the sitz bath basin or bathtub, ensuring that your perineal area is fully immersed in the warm water. Sit comfortably, keeping your upper body outside the water.

7. Relax and soak

Sit in the sitz bath for about 15 to 20 minutes. Use this time to relax and allow the warm water to soothe the perineal area.

8. Optional cleaning

If your doctor has advised cleaning the perineal area, you can use mild soap and water during the sitz bath. Ensure gentle cleansing without causing irritation.

9. Pat dry

After the sitz bath, pat the perineal area dry with a clean, soft towel. Avoid rubbing, as this may cause irritation.

If you have open wounds or active sores in the perineal area, a sitz bath may introduce bacteria or irritants, potentially worsening the condition. It is advisable to avoid sitz baths until the wounds have healed, says the expert. Those experiencing severe bleeding in the perineal or anal area should also avoid sitz baths, as warm water may exacerbate bleeding. People with certain medical conditions, such as cardiovascular issues, should consult with their healthcare provider before taking sitz baths, as the warm water may affect blood circulation and blood pressure.

While sitz baths can be helpful for certain conditions, it is crucial to follow your doctor’s advice and not self-prescribe treatments.

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About the Author

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

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