Why Do Doctors Hate Bathtubs?

This blog post was made by Fabio’s Mom on July 13, 2023.
Why Do Doctors Hate Bathtubs?

By Fabion’s Mom. Reprinted with permission from https://fabioneedsakidney.com/f/why-do-doctors-hate-bathtubs. Originally published on May 9, 2023.

OK, I have to say here:  I have had kidney disease since I was 21 years old, and at every stage of my illness, some doctor has explained why I could not take bubble baths.  

I live for bubble baths... I am convinced that in a prior life, I was some sort of amoebic being that lived in a natural hot spring...because I have spent the entirety of this life trying to get back into them.  I literally spent 5 months living at a retreat center with natural hot-springs.  On 15 minute work breaks, I was in the hot springs.  During meals, I would eat quickly and then go down the hill to the hot springs.  

bathtub, bubble bath, relax, relaxation, self care, hot bath, relaxing

What can I tell you?  I can’t explain it.  It just brings me alive.  And brings me joy.  I spent an entire cross country road trip, Pacific to Atlantic, driving from natural hot spring to natural hot spring.  No kidding—this is a mission.  I am a hot water bound creature.

Hot tub?  Love it!  Bubble bath? Love it!  Jacuzzi?  Get out—it’s MINE!  I am telling you, other people have blood running through their veins.  I have hot water.  

So, why, oh why, at every single juncture has some whitecoat tried to steal my God-given right to bubbles??  

I was diagnosed at age 21 with Polycystic Kidney Disease and lost a kidney.  “Well, from now on, you can never take another bubble bath or go into a hot tub,” said the doctors.  It was like they had cut my heart out along with my kidney.  

WHAT??  No bubble baths?  WHHHYYYY???”  

Because you might get a UTI and you only have one kidney."

Couldn’t I just be very careful to get in very clean water?” (Yes)


Couldn’t I just pee immediately after I got out of the bathtub?” (Yes)


We went on like this for quite a while, until I got to wearing wetsuit shorts in order to be able to take bubble baths.  The doctor left my hospital room.

The joke, of course, was on him, since I’ve taken approximately 40 years of daily bubble baths, without a single one causing a UTI.  Do you know how many soaking hot, fabulous, muscle relaxing moments I would have missed over FORTY YEARS??  

I got a transplant in 2011 at age 46:  

You can’t take bubble baths anymore."


Well, you are more susceptible to all different kinds of infections while on immunosuppressant medication."

I love bubble baths.  And hot tubs.  And Jacuzzis."



Fortunately, I had about 30 years of bubble bath defiance under my belt by that time, so this time when we discussed particulars, the doctors backed down and basically said, “Well, the odds are extremely low that you would actually catch anything from a bubble bath or hot tub, but ...  well... you know..."

Yes, I know.  You hate hot water.  I believe in med school there must be some sort of traumatic bathing event that immediately biases doctors for a lifetime against heated water.  Maybe it’s a subconscious thing?  “Hot water” is to “Malpractice Law suit” as, “Doctor” is to “Anathema Bathtub?”  I guess.

So, now here I am on peritoneal dialysis:  

You may NEVER take a bubble bath, or go in fresh water.  Hot tubs are out, swimming pools that are not private are out.” 

Isn’t there some way of protecting the access site?” (Yes)


I live for bubble baths.  Couldn’t I just sanitize my tub and then clean my access site aseptically (in a sterile fashion) immediately after bathing?"

Dr. #1:  “No."

Dr. #2:  “No, never, no.”  (One week later)  “Oh, your own bathtub?  Well, you’re probably fine in your own bathtub.”  

I digress here, but this leads me to the question... did she think I was breaking into other people’s homes and bathing in their tubs?  Because I’d need a whole different diagnosis for that, I’m pretty sure.

Finally, Dr. #3:  “Oh please.  You can do whatever you want.  Just cover it well.”  

Thank you, Sweet Baby Jesus!

A caveat here:  It is a pretty terrible idea to take a bubble bath or go into a hot tub with a peritoneal dialysis site, so don’t do it with covering it extremely well.  BUT, listen--if you LIVE for swimming, hot baths, hot tubs, lakes, rivers, hot springs and all things hot water, there are ways to do that safely.  They just prefer you don’t.   It took a couple of weeks of safely testing, and several (safe) failures, before I got to the right combination of waterproofing to find a failsafe way of keeping my exit site completely dry.  But it can be done.  And once discovered?  It’s pretty simple.  This will allow me to swim in my condo complex’s pool (heretofore forbidden), our hot tub (instant death, as all doctors know) and to luxuriate in my favorite bubble baths whenever I want.  

Free hot tub high rise upper class illustration

Listen--this probably sounds 100% nuts to anyone without my hot bath obsession.  But my point here (over and over and over again) is maybe your “bubble bath” is gardening, or taking road trips, or eating foods that they’ve told you that you can never have again.  Or hang gliding or... who knows? Fill in the blank.  I am not suggesting we wantonly defy the doctors;  they have good reasons for what they advise.  But what I am saying is that there are ways to work with most reasonable doctors to find ways to not give up your joy.  And, I promise you—that is not their priority, so it has to be yours.  What is important to them might not be important to you.  And you are (in large part) the author of your own story.  It has to be a safe medical story...absolutely.  But no one said it has to be a stupid-level of suffering-for-little-reason medical story.  Find ways to hang on to your own spirit and joy!

Bath salts, anyone?


  • Denise

    Feb 27, 2024 3:20 PM

    I would love to know what the secret combination of waterproofing is? I have my own hot tub and can’t imagine never going in it again. Thanks
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  • Lisa Lamb, RD, LD

    Jul 14, 2023 4:08 PM

    I really enjoyed this article and agree whole heartedly!!! Thank you for sharing :)
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  • Sur Emeny

    Jul 14, 2023 2:30 PM

    Well said. One has to feed their soul if they want to thrive.
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