Advice on Epsom salt sitz baths please

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Hi everyone I’m reading a lot of positive things regarding Epsom salt baths on here. So I have a few questions if that’s ok. I’m 2 days away from finishing chemo radiotherapy treatment of 28 days pump and intravenous week one and the last week, just finished Friday. I was fine up to the beginning/ middle of week 4 and I’m so sore now with skin plits, infected right groin and swollen terribly and constantly leaking from sores and bowel. Is it too late to try Epsom salts I’m thinking it will be very sore or would it help heal everything down there. The nurses look at me gone out when I tell them about sitz baths and Epsom salts or aloe Vera! They say NO! It’s will make you much worse and dry your skin out. Im confused especially with the medication I’m on to help. Any suggestions experiences would be appreciated x 

  • Sorry you’re having a lot of problems. That said I think epsom salt should not be put in the sitz bath, as they do dry everything out. Your skin after rad treatment will always be dry. It’s important to be as clean as possible. A bidet on the toilet is helpful. I used all sorts of products for the radiation burns on my buttocks; it just takes time, eventually it will heal. It does sound that like a doc needs to check out your”infected right groin” to ensure you don’t need oral antibiotics. 
     Actually I found that A &D ointment helped the most for the radiation burns. Needs to be put on after cleaning. I used plastic gloves to apply it. I also used tons of baby wipes!
    I was given a low residue diet which essentially means not eating stuff that makes you poop. I also found Imodium never helped loose stools but lomotil ( need a script) works great. 
    I hope some of this is helpful, but everyone is different. I still have problems with fecal incontinence ( finished XRT 2/3/2022 ) and take a lomotil if I have to be out somewhere I don’t want an accident. 

    Just remember, this too shall pass!

  • Currently I see a pelvic floor PT and am doing biofeedback for the incontinence. The therapist thinks I should be able to throw out my depends eventually!

  • I was able to use Epsom salts even when things were dire. I'm a little sheepish to admit that I didn't realize that Epsom salts are quite different from table salt, which I think would have had me leap right out of my skin. I've only found Epsom salts to be helpful and soothing, but if your nurses are not agreeing, listen to them!

    I'm glad you're so close to the end, Nanny. 

  • To be honest the radiation oncologist and supporting staff gave all sorts of advice. I did try epsom salt in the sitz bath a few times. I’m a retired internist MD, so I tried all kinds of stuff. I think keeping the area clean is very important. As I stated before, I used LOTS of A&D ointment which also provided a barrier to feces. I think time is the best medicine. I had to sleep on my side to prevent pressure and to help the pain.  I still have terrible itching in the area of the radiation burns but the skin looks fine. I use cerave cream daily which helps the dryness of the skin. The cancer docs really don’t have anything magic to prescribe, lol. 

  • Hello GreenNanny

    I can understand about the Epsom Salts although I looked extensively online and a common use is for dry skin so a bit conflicting.  I am baffled by the reaction to the Aloe Vera, my oncologist gave me a big tub (although I didn't have weeping sores by then). But in the early days when I had open sores I used Flaminel Forte Alginate Gel everywhere, along with pink foam dressings which stayed in place because I was so liberal with the gel.  The Flaminel is specifically for oncology wounds, has your team given you any?  I also had an open wound at the base of my spine, a sacral sore which they treated by a dressing that only had to be changed every couple of days. 

    I am sorry about your infected groin, are they treating that at all?  I am sure your team will be keeping an eye on that, but be sure to tell them in case they are unaware, you may need antibiotics.

    So, I am guessing that you are in the midst of treatment today, and then one more.  No more travelling, just stay at home, keep warm and rest, rest, rest!

    Irene xxx

  • Hi Green nanny, 

    I swore by Epsom salts, and I started used it from  everyday in the bath from before the treatment started,  all the way through till a good couple of weeks after, I also used e45 to wipe myself down there after every wee then applied the barrier cream they gave me, I only had one little sore and that was on the top of my bum, probably main site of radiotherapy this went as quick as it came, I had to use my stoma powder to dry it out as it was weepy, my team was very impressed with how my skin wasn’t sore. 

    Everyone is different and what works for one may not work for another? I would give it ago as I felt it was very soothing in a bath, I would do the same again if I had to.

    Laura x

  • Can you share when you started PT? During treatment it after? Thank you!

  • Hi Greennanny, 

    you may have read my post, I used Epsom salts all the way throughout my treatment, I didnt have any sores, apart from one little area on the top of my bum, I was given some padded dressing and used my stoma powder and cleared up in no time, I also used e45 to wipe myself after going a wee and a barrier cream I was given i swear by Epsom salts the one for psoriasis, eczema, and dry skin.

    Try it you never know 

    Laura x

  • Hi I’ve healed now thank you. You should of seen their faces when I told them about this, I was advised against the Epsom salt as it would dry my skin out and make it worse. One lady at the hospital that I got talking to said she had used Epsom salts and wasn’t sore at all. So maybe there is something in it but too late for me. I have appointments on 14th and 18th feb so 2 weeks after that I’ll find out if it has worked! Take care x. 

  • Does anyone have any experience of sea salt ot himalayan salt?