A sitz bath is a shallow bath in which a person sits in water up to the hips. It is used to relieve discomfort and pain in the lower parts of the body. It helps with tons of conditions like hemorrhoids, anal fissures and inflammatory bowel disease but what is most important is that it helps with UTIs and vulvar burning, stinging and itching.

If you google for “sitz bath,” you would find information about products like the over-the-toilet soaking bath and guidelines about bathtub sitz baths.

But what if you can’t use a bathtub, because you simply don’t have one? Or you can’t occupy the toilet (with the fancy over-the-toilet piece) for longer periods of time during your random flare-ups — because you live with roommates? Or you travel, for example? Yes, 20 liter sized bowl can nicely fit into a regular sized check-in luggage, taking up almost no additional space as you can still fit stuff inside it.

Well, this was my reality for at least 5 years. I had to find a way around all these inconveniences as my vulva and bladder were randomly burning.

I started to use a bowl for the sitz bath so I could move it wherever and whenever I wanted to. Additionally, I had full control over the concentration and temperature of the solution and the cleanliness of the bowl.

And this is how I did it.

Bowl Sitz Bath Guide

#1: BOWL SELECTION

First, you need to choose a bowl that can fit your buttocks. From my experience, a bowl that has around 45 cm (~17.5“) of diameter on the open top end, 37 cm (~14.5“) of diameter on the bottom and 15 cm (~6 “) in depth, that can fit around 20 liters of water, fits perfectly a medium sized buttock.

Note: My lower body is of size medium (size 8-10); 100 cm in the hip area (around 39.5”).

1. THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND WHILE BROWSING FOR YOUR PERFECT BOWL

  • Depth: Your bowl needs to be deep enough to cover your lady parts while not overflowing its content (water) on the ground while you are sitting in it (remember that the level of water will rise once you sit down). Keep in mind that the higher the rim is, the more uncomfortable you might feel while sitting. Your legs will be closer to your corpus which will make you almost squat while sitting. In my early days, because of the wrong bowl height, I often suffered from legs cramps, numb buttocks and additional V pain due to extra pressure.
  • Thickness of plastic: You want to find a bowl that won’t weirdly bend when you sit in it; which can be uncomfortable and might cause your bowl to leak.
  • Shape: I found round bowls to be the most comfortable (no need to overthink in which direction you need to sit to fit, etc.)

If you’re in the US or Europe, here are a couple of decent bowls: US, Europe.

This type of bowl will be too high and it might feel really uncomfortable.

This is the type of bowl that you should be looking for: relatively low rim, thicker plastic with good depth.

#2: BOWL PREPARATION

1

Wash the bowl

Place your bowl in a bathtub or a shower cabin. Wash it with unscented soap using a new sponge, cloth or just simply your hands, and rinse thoroughly (you can dedicate this sponge or cloth only to cleaning your bowl)
2

Disinfect the bowl

Next boil 1-2 liters of water in a pot or kettle, which you will use to disinfect your bowl. As soon as the water is boiled, pour it around the rim of the bowl Make sure that it flows into the bowl. Once you finish disinfecting the rim and walls, pour the rest of the water into the bottom part

TIP: Please handle the boiled water with caution. If you use a pot, please use a cloth or oven mitts to hold the handles. While pouring water make sure that you are doing it from a relatively low height with a relatively slow speed; to prevent boiling water from splashing and burning you. Also, perform the disinfection process in a bathtub or shower cabin.

TIP: Please handle the boiled water with caution. If you use a pot, please use a cloth or oven mitts to hold the handles. While pouring water make sure that you are doing it from a relatively low height with a relatively slow speed; to prevent boiling water from splashing and burning you. Also, perform the disinfection process in a bathtub or shower cabin.

#3: SOLUTION PREPARATION

1. HERBS

While using herbs for your sitz bath, preferably try to use them in the organic whole form.

Organic because you don’t want to introduce additional chemicals and preservatives from the herbs into your body.

The whole version instead of packaged bag ones because you want to make sure that while you’re brewing your infusion, you’re not introducing bleach from the packaging into your solution (yes, the white tea/herb bags are bleached).

TYPES OF HERBS TO USE

1. Chamomile
Chamomile has soothing, relaxing, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. It is also a natural antibiotic.

2. Yarrow Flower
Yarrow flower has wonderful antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties. It also helps heal wounds.

3. Calendula Flower
Calendula flower is known for its amazing anti-inflammatory properties. It soothes inflamed tissues while helping to reduce infections. It is antiviral, antiseptic, and antibacterial. It especially effective in clearing up problems related to irritation and infection, especially mucous membranes.

4. Uva Ursi
Uva ursi leaves are antiseptic and does wonders for genito-urinary system infections. They help heal the skin by tightening the tissue.

5. Comfrey
Comfrey is a wound healing and soothing herb especially in mucous membranes. It stimulates cell growth and lowers inflammation.

6. Stinging Nettle
Stinging nettle is excellent while battling UTIs because of its anti-inflammatory properties.

7. White Oak Bark
White Oak bark has antiseptic properties. It controls infections inside and outside of the body and keeps out harmful bacteria. It’s a powerful and natural antibiotic.

8. Pau D’Arco
Pau D’Arco is excellent in fighting infection caused by fungi and yeast especially candida.

9. Sage
Sage has soothing and healing properties.

HERB SOLUTION PREPARATION

1

Boil 1-2 liters of water in a pot

2

Brew the solution

Once the water boils, switch it off and add the herbs (you can use a muslin bag – which will save you straining later). Start from around 1 flat tablespoon of herbs (~ 25 grams/1 ounce) and begin the brewing process from 10 min (the longer you brew it the stronger the solution you will get) and work your way up.
3

Strain the solution

If you use a muslin bag then simply take it out and your solution is done. If not then use a strainer to strain your solution. To do it, I would use a clean strainer and I would pour the solution to a previously cleaned pot.

TIP: I usually use up to 3 tablespoons of herbs and I brew them for max 20 min. You can mix and match your herbs, however, I would recommend to first start using them one by one to see how you will react to them. It will make it easier to track the culprit in case of any adverse reactions.

TIP: I usually use up to 3 tablespoons of herbs and I brew them for max 20 min. You can mix and match your herbs, however, I would recommend to first start using them one by one to see how you will react to them. It will make it easier to track the culprit in case of any adverse reactions.

2. EPSOM SALT / BAKING SODA / APPLE CIDER VINEGAR

1. Epsom Salt
Epsom salt when dissolved in water breaks down into magnesium and sulfate. It helps relieve inflammation and irritation and helps relax muscles.

2. Baking soda
Baking soda helps to relieve tension and pain, boosts circulation, soothes and relieves itching, burning and swelling. It has antifungal effects and it helps with vaginal pH. It has cleansing and detoxifying properties. It helps neutralize the acid in urine.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar helps restore skin pH. It helps to naturally kill fungus and bacteria — that’s why it’s amazing for UTIs, or yeast infections.

EPSOM SALT / BAKING SODA / APPLE CIDER VINEGAR SOLUTION PREPARATION

1

Boil 1-2 liters of water in a pot

2

Make the solution

You will add baking soda, epsom salt or apple cider vinegar directly to your bowl. Start with half a teaspoon of baking soda, epsom salt or apple cider vinegar to check how your V likes it. Then you can work your way up.

TIP: I usually use 1-1.5 tablespoons max of epsom salt or baking soda or apple cider vinegar per sitz bath. I don’t combine them.

TIP: I usually use 1-1.5 tablespoons max of epsom salt or baking soda or apple cider vinegar per sitz bath. I don’t combine them.

#4: SITZ BATH PREPARATION

1. HERBAL SITZ BATH

1

Pour the herbal solution into your bowl

2

Add tap water to adjust the water temperature

To check if the temperature is good for use, use the inner part of your cleaned wrist for it

2. EPSOM SALT, BAKING SODA OR APPLE CIDER VINEGAR SITZ BATH

1

Pour 2 liters of boiled water into your bowl

2

Add tap water to adjust the water temperature

To check if the temperature is good for use, use the inner part of your cleaned wrist for it
3

Add baking soda, epsom salt or apple cider vinegar. Use your clean hands to stir it till it dissolves

TIP: Initially, try not to fill more than ⅓ of the bowl to prevent contents from overflowing once you sit down (also by doing that, you’re leaving some space for extra hot water that you will be adding later).

TIP: Initially, try not to fill more than ⅓ of the bowl to prevent contents from overflowing once you sit down (also by doing that, you’re leaving some space for extra hot water that you will be adding later).

TIP: If you don’t want to use tap water boil water before hand and let it cool down (in a pot, glass jar or glass/plastic pitcher).

TIP: If you don’t want to use tap water boil water before hand and let it cool down (in a pot, glass jar or glass/plastic pitcher).

#5: SITZ BATH

1. STUFF YOU NEED NEXT TO YOU BEFORE YOU SIT DOWN IN YOUR BOWL

  • Towel to dry yourself (I would use the towel only to dry my buttock and thighs/legs)
  • Toilet paper to dry V
  • Kettle/pot with boiled water and pot/jar with cold water

2. THE FINAL STEPS OF YOUR SITZ BATH

1

Place your bowl in the place where you want to perform the sitz bath

I would normally bring my bowl to my room, place it in front of my bed, where I would place my laptop to watch something while sitz bathing.
2

Stand with your legs apart with your bowl between your legs and start lowering yourself.

Before immersing my V and my butt, I would usually put my hands on the ground so I could potentially lift myself fast in case water is too hot.
3

Add hot or cold water (from pots) to adjust your water temperature during your 20-30 min sitz bath

Whenever the water would go too cold, I would lift myself and I would add a bit of hot water to keep the temperature pleasurable. I usually finish my sitz bath if I don’t have more hot water to add or if my bowl is overflowing.
4

Once done, clean your bowl with unscented soap and place it in careful storage.

NOTE: Please watch out while adding hot water to not to burn your V!

TIP: Please keep in mind that the initial concentration of the solution will be stronger at the beginning as you’ll have less water. So make sure that this initial concentration is comfortable for you.

TIP: Please keep in mind that the initial concentration of the solution will be stronger at the beginning as you’ll have less water. So make sure that this initial concentration is comfortable for you.

Hopefully, this has given you some guidelines and ideas about how you can prepare yourself a portable sitz bath in case of emergency! All of the above information is based on my personal experiences mixed with the knowledge and experiences of other sufferers I have spoken to.

What are your experiences with sitz baths? Which herbal solutions are your favourites? Are there any other types of sitz baths that you use?

P.S., I would love to hear your feedback with regards to this article; please let me know how I can improve this blog post! Also, what other topics/issues would you like me cover in my next entries? What are the most important problems that you’re facing and want to solve while living with vulvodynia?

If you have any additional questions, thoughts, or experiences that you want to share, drop me a line here or directly at hello@meandmyv.com or through FB.

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