What are Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are swollen blood vessels in the lower rectum often associated with pain due to pressure during fecal movements. In essence, one of the main characteristics of hemorrhoids includes extreme pain, especially during bowel movements. As well, the pain is sensed around the anus even when there are no bowel movements. Other common symptoms of hemorrhoids include irritation and itching around the anus which in some cases occur in the form of a lump or swelling in the anal region.
The irritation, itching, and pain in the anal area are in fact very unpleasant to everyone. Due to these symptoms among others such as fecal leakage, Gastroenterologists are currently paying more attention to creating awareness on the disease. For instance, Robert A. Ganz, Minnesota Gastroenterology PA, Plymouth, Minnesota, published a paper giving treatment guidelines for hemorrhoids with stress on the detriments the disease has on the quality of life of individuals. Indeed, pain, itching, and irritation, especially around the anus, can result in reduced quality of life of people both from physical, social, and economic standpoints.
Therefore, the treatment of pain, as well as itching and irritation associated with the disease is one step toward improving the quality of life of individuals apropos the perspectives mentioned above. In this article, the making of a Sitz Bath, one of the standard treatment methods for hemorrhoids, shall be discussed in detail. Take a sharp look!
What is a Sitz Bath?
Plainly, a sitz bath involves immersing the perineum and pelvic area into the warm saline water.
It is one of the commonly recommended treatments for alleviating pain, irritation, and itching associated with hemorrhoids and peritoneal (the peritoneum is the space between the rectum and vulva or scrotum) pathological conditions that present with similar symptoms. However, most Gastroenterologists recommend a sitz bath as a day to day personal hygiene. Therefore, it is also a prevention measure of the symptoms mentioned above on top of the fact that it heals them.
Various circumstances can necessitate the use of a sitz bath, but the common ones include treatment of the symptoms mentioned above (associated with hemorrhoids) and after one had hemorrhoids surgically removed.
In essence, a sitz bath for hemorrhoids is a method of applying heat to the perineum and pelvic area, and indeed, heat facilitates increased circulation to the area. Therefore, heat will increase blood supply to the wounds after one had hemorrhoids surgically removed thus hastening the healing process, and this is one of the reasons why mothers are advised to take a sitz bath after birth.
Since a sitz bath is mostly done by oneself, it is one of the home care procedures. Both adults and children can do it. However, parents should guide their children while doing a sitz bath because it can be catastrophic, especially for small babies using a bathtub.
The Equipment Needed
Some factors determine the equipment needed for a sitz bath, and they include age and their availability. A set up for a sitz bath is simple, and one can improvise if the standard equipment needed is not available. However, some health care professionals argue that the set up of the sitz bath determines its effectiveness to facilitating healing after one had hemorrhoids surgically removed or alleviating pain, irritation, and itching resulting from the disease. Though, no study has been conducted to fulfill the truth.
The commonly used items are a bathtub and a plastic sitz bath kit. These items depend on the age of the person using them. For example, children cannot use a tub because of the risk it is associated with. Typically, children below the age of five can drown in the bathtub and die without parental guidance. As well, as mentioned earlier, a sitz bath can be an everyday personal hygiene. Therefore, parents who often do this at home should advise their children to avoid the program if their parents are away. Sometimes a bathtub might not be available. The best alternative to this is to use a sitz bath kit.
Other than the equipment mentioned above, one will require warm water, Epsom salt from a pharmacy or drug store, thermometer, clean cotton towels, and aromatherapy oils for relaxation, especially when using a bathtub.
Using a bathtub
A sitz bath for hemorrhoids can be done using a tub. In fact, it is one of the most recommended ways by health experts. Follow the following steps when using a bathtub as a sitz bath for hemorrhoids:
1) Clean the tub thoroughly by using a disinfectant such as a bleaching agent. Mostly, a regularly used bath contains germs. Therefore, disinfection is recommended to kill the bacteria which is crucial, especially if one had hemorrhoids surgically removed.
2) Pour the warm water into the tub up to 6 to 10 inches. Measure the temperature of the water. It should be around 40 degrees Celsius.
3) Add the Epsom salt and aromatherapy oils into the warm water and stir vigorously till they thoroughly mix. The quantity of the salt and aromatherapy differs depending on the size of the bathtub. In essence, no particular prescription of the components is available, but it is recommended to add them in reasonable quantities. Sometimes the doctor might recommend other substances. Add them to the water at this step.
4) Then immerse your perineum into the warm water for 20 minutes, but do not plunge it right to the bottom. Leave a couple of inches from the bottom of the tub. As well, it is highly recommended to dangle legs on the sides of the tub to avoid contaminating the water.
5) After the 20 minutes are over, wipe the wet area with the clean cotton towels.
6) Rinse the tub thoroughly and leave it clean.
Using a Plastic Sitz Bath Kit
Other than the materials mentioned above, when using a plastic sitz bath kit, one should have a plastic sitz bath that fits the rim of the toilet bowl and a water bag with tubing and a clamp. Follow the following steps to make a sitz bath for hemorrhoids:
1) Place the plastic sitz bath to the rim of the toilet bowl and fix the water bag with tubing on the clamp.
2) With the water in a container, measure the temperature of the warm water. It should be around 40 degrees Celsius.
3) Add the Epsom salt and aromatherapy oils in reasonable quantities and stir thoroughly.
4) Then pour the water into the water bag until it is three-quarters full.
5) Sit on the plastic sitz bath and then release the water slowly until it is almost full. Sit in it for 20 minutes. The first water might cool down. To balance the temperatures, release water slowly from the water bag. Most plastic sitz baths have vents to avoid water overflow. Water flows to the toilet, and it can be flashed.
6) When the 20 minutes are over, wipe off the wet areas of the body by using a clean cotton towel.
7) Rinse the kit thoroughly by using a disinfecting solution. In most cases, the kits are bought together with the disinfecting solutions.
As noted above, warm water increases circulation to the perineum and pelvic area. Therefore, there will be less blood flow to the other parts of the body including the brain. Consequently, one may feel light-headed or dizzy with a general body weakness accompanied by paleness. Being aware of these signs is important. As well, due to reduced blood flow to the rest of the body, the legs and shoulders might turn cold. Hence, it is recommended to cover them during the process.