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What are the Different Types of Hemorrhoid Medication?

By D. Jeffress
Updated May 17, 2024
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Hemorrhoids are inflamed, swollen veins that appear inside or around the anus. They are very common, especially among adults over 50, and may result from excessive straining during bowel movements, constipation, obesity, or genetic predispositions. People with hemorrhoids usually experience significant discomfort in the form of itching, burning, and chronic pain. Individuals who suffer from hemorrhoids have many different treatment options to provide relief from symptoms and shorten healing time. Several types of over-the-counter and prescription hemorrhoid medication are available in the form of creams, gels, medicated pads, and suppositories.

Most people who experience occasional external hemorrhoids can recover in one to two weeks by consistently applying a topical, over-the-counter hemorrhoid medication. Most topical creams and ointments work as local anesthetics, numbing the area and thereby reducing burning and itching. Certain products contain soothing calamine lotions and witch hazel solutions that act as astringents, shrinking hemorrhoid tissue and reducing local swelling. Many over-the-counter products combine anesthetic and astringent ingredients to effectively reduce pain, swelling, and healing time of stubborn hemorrhoids. Individuals are usually instructed to reapply topical solutions several times a day.

Medicated pads and wipes contain the same active ingredients as topical creams and gels. People employ the wipes to fully clean the infected area, provide relief from swelling, pain, and irritation. Many medicated pads and wipes contain petroleum-based solutions to provide extra lubrication and reduce the strain involved in passing bowels. Like topical remedies, these types of hemorrhoid medication are usually recommended for multiple daily use.

Suppositories are generally the preferred option for individuals who experience internal hemorrhoids on a periodic basis. Internal hemorrhoids usually cause bowel movements to be very painful, and some individuals are physically unable to pass stools. Hemorrhoid medication in the form of a dissolving suppository provides immediate relief from swelling and redness, making it possible to once again pass stools. Like external hemorrhoids, internal ones usually disappear completely in less than two weeks with regular treatment.

Individuals with severe or persistent hemorrhoid problems should consult their doctors to determine the most appropriate treatment plans. A doctor will usually initiate treatment by providing a stronger version of one of the types of hemorrhoid medication described above. If prescription topical creams and suppositories are insufficient, the physician may conduct a litigation procedure or recommend surgery to remove painful hemorrhoids. Rubber band litigation is an invasive procedure in which the physician ties a small rubber band around a hemorrhoid, restricting blood flow and eventually causing the growth to shrivel and fall off. Surgical remedies often involve cutting out part or all of the inflamed hemorrhoid tissue to provide immediate relief.

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Discussion Comments
By fify — On Apr 30, 2012

@turquoise-- Oh yea, I used a cream like that when I had a fissure. I was able to avoid surgery thanks to it. I don't know what the difference between a hemorrhoid and fissures though so I couldn't say if it would work for hemorrhoids or not.

I found this article extremely informative and helpful. I just wanted to add that we need to be cautious when trying out various OTC hemorrhoid medications being sold online.

I keep running into these random ads on various forums and websites for medications that "cure" hemorrhoids. I know someone who was fooled into buying one and not only did it not treat it but actually made his condition worse. So please be careful.

I don't think it's safe to buy hemorrhoids medications online. Either go to your doctor or speak to your pharmacist. There are lots of people out there trying to make money of off this because it's such a common condition.

By turquoise — On Apr 30, 2012

A friend of mine speaks very highly of an ointment called "nitroglycerin" for internal hemorrhoids. I've never used it but apparently, it's a combination of nitroglycerin and hydrocortisone. Its a muscle relaxer that is said to dilate blood vessels.

My husband has been suffering from internal hemorrhoids for quite a few years. External hemorrhoids are much easier to treat in my opinion because they're easier to get to and respond to traditional treatments better.

But most people I know who have or had internal hemorrhoids eventually have to get surgery which is not fun. And it doesn't always solve the problem. But my friend claims that this nitroglycerin completely cures internal hemorrhoids and has recommended it for my husband.

My husband has an appointment with his doctor next week so we're going to ask if we can try this treatment. I hope it works.

By SteamLouis — On Apr 29, 2012

I've never had internal hemorrhoids but I do experience external hemorrhoids from time to time. I've tried various medications over the years but I like all in one topical ointments and gels the best as external hemorrhoid treatment.

These are sold over the counter at the pharmacies and are pretty affordable. What's best about them is that you don't have to buy and apply three different products for relief.

Usually people will buy an ointment for the inflammation, another for the pain and maybe a third one for itching. But there are topical ointments now that combine all these into one. Usually it has a corticosteroid and a pain reliever like lidocaine. There are also ones that have witch hazel in them now.

This way I don't have to worry about applying three different things. I just use this one several times a day for as many days as I need.

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