Do you suffer from hemorrhoids? If so, you know how uncomfortable they can be. Hemorrhoid cream is a popular treatment option for this condition, but many people don’t know how to use it properly.
In this article, we will discuss how to use hemorrhoid cream and get relief from your symptoms!
Table of Contents
- What Are Hemorrhoids?
- What Is Hemorrhoid Cream?
- What Does Hemorrhoid Cream Do?
- How to Use Hemorrhoid Cream?
- What Else Could You Do to Treat Hemorrhoids?
- When to See a Doctor?
- Key Takeaways
What Are Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids, also called piles, are swollen veins in your anus or rectum that protrude from the surrounding tissue. Blood vessel walls expand and stretch thin enough to cause bleeding when you pass stool.
Physicians define two main types of hemorrhoids: internal ones that form in the rectum, and external ones around the anus.
Patients with internal hemorrhoids experience painless bleeding when they poop. In more severe cases, blood vessels can stretch and sag so much that they become externally visible, a situation called prolapse. When this occurs, it can cause pain and require patients to physically push their piles back into the proper position.
External hemorrhoids appear on the anus. These tend to cause itching, discomfort, and pain if they have a clot in them. They may also increase the risk of rectal prolapse more than internal hemorrhoids.
Medics differentiate between hemorrhoid types based on their surface properties. Mucosa covers internal hemorrhoids, while external hemorrhoids remain dry. That’s because internal hemorrhoids protrude through the digestive tract’s moist lining, while external hemorrhoids come through anal tissue.
Usually, hemorrhoids disappear on their own. However, sometimes they persist.
What Is Hemorrhoid Cream?
Hemorrhoid cream is a topical medication that you can apply to hemorrhoids on the anus or just inside the rectum. Creams contain steroids and other antiinflammatories, designed to provide temporary relief for symptoms. While doctors regularly prescribe creams, research on their effectiveness is still being published.
Conventional creams contain tried-and-tested medical compounds that reduce swelling and relieve pain. However, researchers are trying to develop novel creams that work better than existing formulations. In 2015, for instance, scientists tested an anti-hemorrhoid cream containing leek extract. In 2013, another team used a cream that contained horse chestnut fruit and saw significant benefits.
What Does Hemorrhoid Cream Do?
Hemorrhoid creams do several things to fight hemorrhoid symptoms and provide patients with relief. Formulations reduce pain, itching, swelling, and burning caused by piles temporarily.
Pramoxine and phenylephrine both play a vital role in standard hemorrhoid creams. Pramoxine, for instance, is a type of local anesthetic. That means it blocks nerve signals, reducing pain and irritation in the rectum and around the anus.
Phenylephrine is a sympathomimetic. This means that it mimics the action of the sympathetic nervous system, narrowing blood vessels in the affected area, and making them feel less tender.
Creams may also contain other ingredients, such as cocoa butter or shark fat to reduce friction with the stool during defecation. Patients with external, prolapsed, or thrombosed hemorrhoids may find passing stools more comfortable after application.
How to Use Hemorrhoid Cream?
How you use hemorrhoid cream depends on whether yours are external or internal. In all cases, you should follow the directions on the packet.
For External Hemorrhoids
To apply hemorrhoid cream to external piles, begin by washing your hands. Then squeeze the tube of cream and put a pea-sized amount on your finger. Then use your finger to apply the cream around your anus. Wash your hands again afterward.
Manufacturers make creams to smell pleasant and stay in place long enough to benefit you. You should not apply creams more often than recommended on the packet.
For Internal Hemorrhoids
To apply hemorrhoid creams to internal hemorrhoids, start by choosing the right time. Ideally, you want to apply creams before a bowel movement to minimize discomfort.
Once you are ready to apply the cream, wash your hands and your anal area. This way, you can reduce the risk of introducing extra bacteria to the affected region.
If your cream comes with an applicator, attach the head to the cream. Then squeeze the tube and apply it to the tip and outside of the applicator. Doing this will make it easier to insert the applicator into the anus.
Only insert the applicator one or two inches. Do not push it in any further than this as it may cause pain. Most internal hemorrhoids are close to the anus.
Once the applicator is inside, squeeze the tube to let the hemorrhoidal cream come out. Then remove the applicator and wash it and your hands thoroughly.
Once you have a bowel movement, you can then wait a few hours before reapplying.
Some products require you to apply internal hemorrhoid creams with your hands. If so, follow the external cream instructions above and those on the packet.
What Else Could You Do to Treat Hemorrhoids?
Creams reduce itching and provide temporary relief. However, they are just one way of managing hemorrhoids. Your doctors will often recommend that you try other methods, too.
One option is to eat more fiber. Research shows that people who eat a diet high in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables experience improvements in hemorrhoid symptoms over time. Fiber, for instance, may reduce internal bleeding by bulking up stools and making them softer. It may also help some patients avoid surgery.
You can also treat hemorrhoids by taking regular sitz baths. These are baths in which only the buttocks and hips enter the water. Doctors may recommend you take these three times a day or more to ease symptoms.
Physicians may also recommend a surgical procedure. Here you have several options:
- Sclerotherapy makes piles shrivel up by injecting them with a special compound
- Ligation band therapy to cut off the blood supply to the protruding blood vessel section
- Surgical removal of hemorrhoidal tissue under anesthetic or sedation
- Stapling of hemorrhoids, preventing blood flow and causing them to die
When to See a Doctor?
If your hemorrhoids have been itching for more than a week or causing you discomfort, you should see a doctor. Get medical help as a matter of urgency if your piles suddenly harden. This could indicate that you have a clot in them.
How Can DrHouse Help You?
If you are looking for a second opinion or want to speak to a doctor about your hemorrhoids, or are looking for a prescription for hemorrhoid medication then DrHouse can connect you with a licensed physician within minutes.
We offer on-demand virtual visits with board-certified doctors via our telehealth app, so you can get the care and advice you need from the comfort of your own home. Simply download the DrHouse app, sign up, and start a visit!
At DrHouse, we believe that everyone should have access to quality healthcare, so we offer affordable membership plans with no hidden fees. And because we know that life is unpredictable, we also offer pay-as-you-go visits for when you need us the most.
- Hemorrhoid creams provide relief from itching, swelling and pain when passing stools
- Manufacturers make different types of hemorrhoid creams for internal and external application
- Some creams may contain novel ingredients designed to fight piles
- Alternative treatments include eating a high-fiber diet, sitz baths, and various minimally invasive procedures and surgeries
- You should see a doctor about hemorrhoids if they have been affecting you for more than a week or are causing you severe pain
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