Venous dilation inside of the rectum results in bulbous blood vessels, also known as hemorrhoids. These tissues become inflamed, sometimes bleeding and causing painful tenderness in the sufferer. A number of methods offer relief from hemorrhoids including witch hazel pads and suppositories, colonics and cold compresses. Sitz baths, the method of sitting in very warm or cold salt water to increase or decrease blood flow to the area of inflammation, also offers effective relief. You can find inexpensive sitz bath basins equipped for the toilet at most drugstores or you may take a sitz bath in a regular bathtub.
Set the portable sitz bath basin over the toilet, securing it well to reduce shifting or instability.
Fill up the basin with warm water using the guides on the basin. Use temperatures of 100-105 degrees Fahrenheit for a warm sitz bath or use room temperature water with the addition of ice cubes for a cold one. Allow the ice cubes to melt in the water.
Add 2 tbsp. sea salt to the water. Experiment with more salt, if desired, ensuring all the salt is dissolved in the water before sitting inside of the sitz bath.
Lower your bottom over the tub to fully submerge the affected area. Sit in the bath for 10 to 20 minutes, or until you notice a relief of symptoms. You may rotate between a hot and cold sitz bath, if desired, always finishing up with the cold bath.
Dry the rectal area gently with a soft towel and pat, rather than rub, the area dry.
Fill up the bathtub approximately five inches with very warm water, 100-105 degrees Fahrenheit in temperature. Add 2 tbsp. sea salt to the water, stirring until dissolved. Experiment with additional salt to find your comfort level, if desired.
Squat over the area in the tub and submerge the tender area or, if that's not comfortable, you can sit in the solution. Ensure the entire area is fully submerged, adding additional water as needed.
Sit in the warm water salt solution for 10 to 20 minutes, adding additional warm water to maintain the temperature, if needed.
Rotate between hot and cold temperatures, if desired, by preparing a bowl or basin with ice cold water and submerging a large wash cloth or small hand towel inside of the bowl. Sit in the warm water five minutes and then stand up. Place the cold wash cloth on the affected area and hold in place for one minute. Return to the warm bath for an additional five minutes and repeat two or three times for relief.
Finish up with the cold washcloth if choosing to rotate temperatures. Dry the affected area with a clean dry towel, patting gently.
Wash the sitz bath basin or bathtub thoroughly after use in warm soapy water, rinsing well. Never leave residual soap in the basin; this can irritate sensitive membranes. Warm water helps to dilate blood vessels, enlarging them to help the blood flow to pass from the area more quickly. Cold water draws the heat out of the piles and reduces blood flow, which eases pressure on the area. Sitz baths can also provide relief for uterine cramps, inflammatory bowel syndrome, prostrate or testicular pain or for those recovering from colorectal surgeries.
Slowly rise from the bath to avoid dizziness caused by exposure to the hot or cold temperatures.