Do sitz baths actually help the healing process (for example, fistulas/setons), or are they mainly to provide comfort? In other words, if one uses sitz baths on a very regular basis, would a fistula be expected to heal faster? Grasping at straws here...
Original Post
I used a sitz bath after I had my fistula surgery. The fistula wasn't deep, but he still cut right through my sphincter muscle, so I had an open gash on my rear end, so I used a sitz bath with epsom salt multiple times a day to keep it clean, so in that way I think it helped me heal faster by keeping the incision clean and it never got infected.
Thanks, Kathy and Subsky: I'm going to continue taking the sitz baths, but won't be so anal about taking them as often as possible. Was getting tired of spending the time with them in the evenings, but didn't want to quit if they actually helped the healing process.
Actually, it can be beneficial for both comfort AND healing. Moist heat is commonly used as a healing aid in various parts of the body.

Heat increases blood flow, which speeds up healing. Moist heat penetrates deeper than dry heat, even if the water does not reach the area of infection/inflammation.

However, what is unique about a fistula is the type of problem it is. Since a fistula is lined with epithelial tissue, the body does not necessarily view it as something that needs healing, but more like a new organ. So even with antibiotics, sitz baths, surgery, etc., your brain's and body's idea of healing may not be the same thing. While sitz baths may speed up fistula healing, they probably do nothing to close it.

Hope that doesn't make it more confusing.

Jan Smiler

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