Alternating Sitz Bath
Dr. Heather Boyd-Roberts

An alternating sitz bath is a warm, shallow bath alternating with short bursts of cold that cleanses the perineum, which is the space between the rectum and the vulva or scrotum. A sitz bath is used to provide relief from pain or itching in the genital area in the case of infection or simple irritation, for congestion or infection in the pelvis region including urinary tract and pelvic inflammatory disease, fissures, prostatits, constipation and for improving insomnia and neuralgias.

Do not use an alternating sitz baths in persons with hemorrhages, menorrhagia, prolapses, acute lung congestion, acute inflammation, painful conditions with spasms or colic, and heart problems.


Fill your bathtub with just enough hot water to cover your belly button (1/2 over) if you are sitting upright. The temperature used is slightly hotter than a normal bath.

Prepare another tub that you are able to sit in with cold water so that it comes to about 1/2 inch below your belly button. Fill with cold water and and have a bowl of ice ready to be added later.

Sit in the hot tub for 3-5 minutes.
After 3-5minutes, sit in cold tub for 20-60seconds.
Make three complete cycles between the hot and cold tubs (3x-hot/3x-cold). More significant symptoms may require 6 alternations.

When you sit back into the hot you will need to add more hot water and continue to do this throughout the cycles to make it as hot as tolerated comfortably.
When you sit back into the cold water you will need to add the bucket of ice to make the water colder. You will quickly heat up the water.  The greater the contrast between the hot and cold water, the stronger the treatment.

Always start treatment with the hot bath and finish treatment with the cold bath.
When you are done step into the cold so your feet will end with cold.
Dry off completely and rest in bed for at least 30 minutes or go to bed for the night.