Hemorrhoid treatment aims to prevent or resolve internal or external hemorrhoids that are causing symptoms like pain, itching, burning or bleeding. Many ointments contain anti-inflammatory, anesthetic or soothing properties which work together to address any intense symptoms.
Hemorrhoids are dilated and protruding veins that appear in the anal area. They are usually a result of a low-fiber diet, excessive straining when passing stool, constipation or pregnancy. Read about the main causes of hemorrhoids.
Many ointments can be purchased at a pharmacy without a prescription, while other remedies can be obtained online. Nonetheless, you should consult your doctor to assess the type of hemorrhoid you have and indicate the most appropriate treatment.
The most common treatments for hemorrhoids are:
1. Over-the-counter hemorrhoid ointments
Most over-the-counter ointments contain several properties that work together to help relieve symptoms of hemorrhoids and reduce the size. They usually have some type of combination of a steroid (to reduce swelling), a numbing agent (to decrease pain and itching), and/or moisturizer (to dry and protect the skin). These ointments can be purchased without a prescription, although ointments containing steroids should not be used for over a week without your doctor’s knowledge.
How to use: You should follow instructions as outlined on the product package. Most ointments will advise application 2 to 3 times per day solely to external hemorrhoids. Massage the ointment lightly over the hemorrhoid and surrounding area to ensure optimal absorption. Internal hemorrhoids will additionally have an applicator, which is inserted into the anus.
2. Dexpanthenol moisturizer
Dexpanthenol moisturizer is indicated to relieve symptoms of anal itching or irritation caused by hemorrhoids. It contains anti-inflammatory, hydrating, protective and nutritive action, and also helps to regenerate skin cells, due to the vitamin B5 in its composition.
How to use: Apply a thin layer of the ointment directly on the hemorrhoid 1 to 3 times per day, after bowel movements and after anal hygiene is completed.
Learn more about the symptoms and causes of external hemorrhoids.
3. Cream with horse chestnut extract
A cream with horse chestnut extract contains natural extracts of this plant, and many will also contain witch hazel and beak weed. It has anti-inflammatory, hydrating and astringent action, which help to relieve symptoms like pain, swelling or burning caused by hemorrhoids.
How to use: Apply the ointment directly on the hemorrhoid, massaging it lightly over the area. It should particularly be applied following bowel movements and anal hygiene.
4. Proctosan homeopathic remedy
Proctosan is a homeopathic remedy that contains analgesic, anti-inflammatory and anti-itching action, due to the substances found in its composition. It contains hydrocortisone, lidocaine, bismuth subgallate and zinc oxide, which helps to relieve itching, pain, inflammation or swelling.
This ointment can be used for both internal and external hemorrhoids, as well as on anal fissures in adults.
How to use: Apply a layer of the ointment 2 to 3 times per day until symptoms improve. Then apply once per day for an additional 2 or 3 days, according to your doctor’s instructions.
5. Witch hazel home remedy
Hemorrhoids can be treated at home by preparing a witch hazel-based ointment with parts of the Hamamelis virginica medicinal plant. It can be applied directly to external hemorrhoids to relieve pain, discomfort, pain or irritation. Read more about what can cause external hemorrhoids.
- 4 tablespoons of witch hazel bark
- 60 mL of liquid paraffin
- 60 mL of glycerin
How to prepare
Add the witch hazel bark to a pot with the liquid paraffin and allow to boil for 5 minutes. Then strain and stir in the glycerin until well/combined. Pour the ointment into a lidded container and keep in the refrigerator.
Check out other ways you can treat hemorrhoids and relieve symptoms.
6. Sitz bath
Sitz baths are typically recommended for any irritation or raw skin in the perianal or genital area. It involves soaking the affected skin in warm water, and it helps to cleanse, reduce the risk of infection, soothe irritation and increase blood circulation to speed-up healing.
How to use: You can use a plastic sitz bath that fits over your toilet, or your bathtub. Fill the recipient or tub with warm water and soak the hemorrhoid for 10 to 15 minutes, 3 times per day. You can additionally add 1 tablespoon of baking soda or 1 to 2 teaspoons of Epsom salts to the water.
Hemorrhoid ointment during pregnancy or post-partum
Hemorrhoid ointments should not be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women without the doctor's knowledge. Breastfeeding or pregnant women who feel discomfort from hemorrhoids should see a doctor for assessment, so that the most appropriate treatment with minimal health effects can be recommended.
Speed-up hemorrhoid treatment
There are other important measures to consider when treating hemorrhoids to ensure a speedy recovery and prevent worsening of symptoms or new flare-ups. These include:
- Avoid using toilet paper so that you do not further irritate the skin
- Wash the anal area with water and soap after bowel movements
- Avoid straining with bowel movements or sitting at the toilet for too long
- Drink at least 8 cups of water per day to help soften the stool
- Ensure your diet is rich in fiber
- Pass stool whenever you have the urge to, as holding your stool in can make it harder, drier and more difficult to pass
- Avoid sitting for long periods of time to reduce pressure in the anal veins
In addition, you can relieve hemorrhoid symptoms by drinking certain teas, like horse chest nut tea or cypress tea.