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  • Karen

Is it ​just ​a ​coincidence that Tub spelled backward is almost But(t)?

Every morning, my alarm goes off about an hour earlier than I actually need to get up.

One of the reasons is that I want time to take a 10-minute soak in the tub. (I have a few other morning rituals which comprise the extra wake-up time which I'll share with you in future posts.)

This is not the first time I've talked about my A.M. tub routine, but typically if I'm discussing bathing with someone it's a client, friend, or family member. And, in general, I'm doing so because I'm encouraging others to take an important timeout for themselves.

As a reflexologist, I'm in the business of relaxation, and soaking in a bath is a wonderful way to let the body either ease into your day or unwind from a long day.

However, today, I am going to share with you a secret objective of my tubs and come clean about this morning ritual. I tub to offer soothing relief and relaxation to .... My Butt.

Yes, I own it, my butt needs special care. If I don't tend to it every day, then I will pay the price in pain and other symptoms that, again, you can expect to hear more about in future My Butt Blog posts.

Now, I'm sure you're wondering, "What makes her butt so special it needs this level of TLC to start the day?" Your butt should not be jealous. Seriously. My butt has issues. (More on the litany of issues in a later post, I promise.)

The first part of my early morning routine goes something like this:

* Wake up with the urgent need to use the bathroom - #2 is knocking at the door!

* After this morning "go," my rectal area is generally very stressed - if my bum had a personality it would be uptight, bad-tempered, and somewhat neurotic.

* To take the edge off, I run a warm tub up to at least the level of my hips.

* Then, I set my timer for 10 minutes, grab a book to read, and soak.

* By the time my tub time is up, my sensitive bum hole is typically much more relaxed, and, in general, I just feel a whole lot better.

This type of bath is often called a sitz bath, although I'm taking liberties with some of the characteristics of this therapeutic-style soak. For example, professionals recommend a sitz bath be shallower than the ones I take, but since I've tried it both ways and don't see much difference, I'm going with the full bath experience.

What if you don't have a tub in your home or you're on the road a lot? You can purchase a sitz bath kit at your local pharmacy. But, do you want to is the question...

I have used a kit. First time I believe was in the hospital after giving birth to my daughter. My tush was in a fiery mood after all the pressure that childbirth had put on it. The nurse who evaluated my derriere region didn't make me feel very confident about healing anytime soon when she blurted out, "Oh dear, you poor thing!" At the time, the sitz bath became my best friend and, other than my newborn, was the one thing that I was most happy to bring home with me from the hospital.

However, when you've got a tub, there is absolutely zero reason to use the kit. Sitting on a plastic basin over your toilet will filling it with warm water from a plastic bag is not nearly as comfortable or peaceful as laying in the tub. Plus, the kit requires more work to put it together and clean up than just bathing - and that water refuses to stay warm very long!

In fact, the kit is so inconvenient in my eyes that if I'm traveling for more than 24 hours, I won't stay anywhere that does not have a tub. I have tubbed just about everywhere - at relative's homes, hotel rooms, AirBnB's. If you're grossed out at all about taking a bath in any of these places, you get over it quick if you have a cranky butt like mine.

If this is the first time you're learning all about sitz bath, then you likely have never experienced serious irritation in your private parts like moi. That being said, I'm not sure you would be reading a blog called "My Butt" unless your butt was an edgy bugger too. If your bum is a pain, like mine, I want you to know that I am your compatriot, and I'm here to hopefully help you find ways to better manage these uncomfortable and embarrassing issues.

Let's talk a little bit more about the sitz bath in case this is something you are not doing now for your butt health.

According to Sara Twogood, M.D., assistant professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at Keck Medicine of USC, this type of soak is a "tool we use to try to calm down acute inflammation and irritation.” Immersing the affected area in water can help to reduce the pain, discomfort, itching, burning, and swelling that may occur with a wide variety of health conditions impacting not just the bum-bum, but, for us women, other parts that can suffer extreme wear and tear, like the vagina and vulva.

I have a history of utilizing sitz baths when things have gotten a little out of control, but I didn't incorporate it into my morning routine until about 10 years ago when I acknowledged, "this shit is not going away, ever!".

Now, everyone in the family knows that I will be usurping our one full bathroom for about 20 minutes every morning. (When mama's butt is happy, everyone is happy, so they are okay working around my special bum care schedule.) I'm not cruel - my daughter doesn't have to wait to use the bathroom until my bath is over. Instead, she regularly comes in to use the potty while I'm in the tub. And, my husband knows that if he hasn't left for work yet by the time I wake up, he better not be in that bathroom!

Looking back, I wish that I had taken this easy remedy more seriously and made it a part of my regular, daily wellness program a lot sooner. If I had, it's possible that some of the recurring issues I have had with my butt may have not occurred at all.

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