Updated April 2022
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Buying guide for Best hemorrhoid creams

According to the Mayo Clinic, approximately three out of four adults will experience the discomfort of hemorrhoids in their lifetime. While the common condition isn’t always symptomatic, when its symptoms are felt, they can become unbearable and embarrassing.

If you suffer from hemorrhoids, a medicated cream may help relieve symptoms such as itching and burning. Formulas differ from brand to brand but typically include ingredients that soothe the area and aid in the healing process. Creams aid in pain reduction and make visiting the bathroom easier. They’re also useful for the treatment of anal fissures and, in some cases, may even shrink hemorrhoids in size.

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Natural ingredients like menthol help soothe burning and pain by cooling the area.

What are hemorrhoids?

Also known as piles, hemorrhoids are swollen blood vessels in and around the anus. There are two types:

Internal: These types of hemorrhoids are located inside the anal cavity. They typically don’t cause noticeable symptoms but may cause blood to appear in the stool. In severe cases, internal hemorrhoids may become prolapsed. When this occurs, the hemorrhoid may cause pain and discomfort.

External: External hemorrhoids are located beneath the skin’s surface around the anus. They’re usually visible as lumps around the anus. They are often symptomatic.

Hemorrhoids may also become thrombosed. This occurs when the blood supply to the vessels is cut off. Thrombosed hemorrhoids often result in extreme pain and don’t usually resolve on their own. Most require medical treatment.

Symptoms of hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids are not always symptomatic but when they are they may cause the following symptoms:

  • Itching around the anus

  • Pain around the anus

  • Blood in the stool

  • Swelling

  • Visible lump(s) around the anus

Note: Hemorrhoid symptoms are very similar to those of other severe conditions. It’s essential to speak to your physician if you are noticing blood in your stool, even if you think it’s the result of straining.

"If you find creams too messy, consider medicated wipes instead. Keep wipes next to the toilet for relief after painful bowel movements."

What causes hemorrhoids?

There are a variety of different causes for hemorrhoids. In some cases, the cause is not known. Here are a few reasons you may be experiencing hemorrhoids:

  • Straining during a bowel movement

  • Chronic bowel ailments (e.g., diarrhea, constipation)

  • Lack of fiber in your diet

  • Pregnancy and giving birth

How to prevent hemorrhoids

Creams offer immediate relief when hemorrhoids strike, but they are not a permanent solution. Add fiber in your diet by including a rich variety of fruits and vegetables to prevent hardened stools. If you’re still experiencing constipation, consider fiber supplements to encourage the digestive system and soften stool. Avoid constipation by staying hydrated with plenty of water. When you’re in the bathroom, avoid pushing and straining. This may stress the rectum and weaken the muscles, which can lead to hemorrhoids. Sitting for long periods and a lack of exercise are also potential risk factors for hemorrhoids.

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Avoid touching the tube of ointment after application to prevent the transfer of bacteria. Wash your hands thoroughly post-application, even if you used an applicator or finger cover.

What is hemorrhoid cream?

Hemorrhoid cream is an acute treatment for itching, burning, and irritation caused by hemorrhoids. It’s usually a short-term treatment for the ailment. Addressing the root cause for hemorrhoids (e.g., frequent constipation) is the ideal way to prevent future occurrences.

Typical medicinal ingredients found in hemorrhoid creams include:

  • Hydrocortisone: It helps relieve itching but is not intended for long-term use. If hemorrhoid symptoms aren’t responding to the application of hydrocortisone cream, talk to your doctor.

  • Witch hazel: This ingredient helps to soothe and relieve symptoms, such as burning and pain.

  • Numbing ingredients: Lidocaine is an example of a numbing ingredient used in hemorrhoid creams. It’s often paired with other ingredients that also help to reduce swelling and repair tissue.

Some creams are non-medicated and are used to help ease painful bowel movements due to constipation. Their main ingredient is petroleum jelly.

Hemorrhoid cream features

When choosing a hemorrhoid cream to treat your condition, there are three primary considerations to keep in mind:

  • Scent: Certain active ingredients may have powerful medicinal odors. The smell of a product is a personal preference. If you’re sensitive to strong smells, choose a product with a delicate scent.

  • Consistency: Hemorrhoid creams may be thick and goopy or thin and almost liquid. Thicker creams are easier to handle and apply but may feel greasy and uncomfortable.

  • Applicator: Pick a hemorrhoid cream kit that includes an applicator or finger cots for comfortable, hygienic application of the product.

Hemorrhoid cream prices

You can expect to pay at least $2 an ounce for hemorrhoid cream or ointment. When it comes to deciding between the generic drugstore brand or a well-known name brand, you’ll likely find little or no difference in the active ingredients, so there’s no need to pay extra.


  • If you’re pregnant and experiencing uncomfortable hemorrhoid symptoms, opt for a hemorrhoid cream made especially for use during pregnancy. Not sure if a cream is safe to use? Speak to your physician.

  • Change up your diet if constipation is causing you pain. Add fiber to your diet to prevent straining while going to the bathroom. Add fruits, vegetables, and other high-fiber foods. Aim to consume between 20 to 30 grams of fiber per day.

  • Go for a walk. Get your body and digestive tract moving. Did you know that exercise helps encourage digestion? Regular bowel movements help prevent constipation.

  • Drink some java. Caffeine can help get things moving if you’re in a hurry to make one last trip to the bathroom before work or an important meeting.

  • Avoid laxatives. While laxatives are helpful for acute constipation issues, they shouldn’t be used to treat chronic constipation. It’s possible to become dependent on laxatives in order to produce a bowel movement.

  • Run a warm bath. If your symptoms are still flaring up even after applying cream, consider taking a bath to help soothe painful itching and burning.

  • Wipe gently. Don’t be too rough when cleaning up after going to the bathroom. Vigorous cleaning and drying of the anal area can cause flare-ups.

  • Invest in a bidet. Attach a bidet to your toilet to help with cleanup. Attachments with a warm-water option help soothe the area while washing.

  • Serious hemorrhoids may require additional treatment. Treatments available include rubber band ligation or surgery (also called a hemorrhoidectomy).

  • Apply ice to the area. Grab a cold pack from the freezer and apply it to the affected area. Cold helps soothe itching and pain.

  • Be patient. With topical treatment, most hemorrhoid flare-ups go away within about a week.
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Surgical treatment is an option for sufferers dealing with severe chronic hemorrhoids, but it’s not a solution for everyone.


Q. Are hemorrhoids a sign of a more serious problem?

A. In rare cases, they may be a sign of a more serious issue. In addition, hemorrhoid symptoms are incredibly similar to symptoms of other serious diseases like colon and rectal cancer. Don’t assume you have hemorrhoids if you’re experiencing itching and irritation around the anus. See your physician for a formal diagnosis.

Q. I’m seeing blood in my stool. Is it caused by hemorrhoids?

A. If you’re seeing blood in your stool, don’t assume it’s a result of hemorrhoids. Talk to your physician about your symptoms so that more serious causes may be ruled out. Blood in the stool is a serious symptom, and you should speak to your doctor as soon as possible if you’re experiencing this. Dark blood in the stool typically points to a problem farther up the digestive tract, while fresh blood is usually the result of an issue closer to the rectum.

Q. Do I need to apply hemorrhoid cream internally to experience relief?

A. No. Hemorrhoid cream is not usually applied internally. Gently apply around the anus. Many creams include an applicator or rubber finger covers for sanitary and comfortable application. Always carefully review the manufacturer guidelines before using any type of medicated cream.

Q. Are hemorrhoids dangerous?

A. They’re typically a benign health issue that causes discomfort and pain. Although, in the elderly, burst hemorrhoids may be a dangerous situation that can cause severe blood loss. Never try to burst hemorrhoids on your own. Doing so may lead to infection.

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