If you decide to treat your hemorrhoids on your own there is a wide variety of choice in over the counter (OTC) hemorrhoids products. While it is advisable to get medical advice before selecting an OTC treatment, it helps to have some idea of the choices available.
Ideally you should talk to you doctor or your pharmacist for advice. Your doctor should be consulted for the very simple reason that perhaps your hemorrhoids are beyond OTC treatments.
OTC products come in a variety of types. There are suppositories, creams, ointment, sprays, cleansers, and even tablets although these are more apt to be herbal remedies available OTC.
Types Of Hemorrhoid Products
The choice you make depends first of all on whether you have internal or external hemorrhoids. Suppositories, for instance, are best used for internal hemorrhoids.
Creams and ointments work for both kinds of hemorrhoids. If you are using a cream or ointment for internal hemorrhoids, you can apply it directly to the hemorrhoids with your finger or an applicator.
The same method can be used for internal hemorrhoids but the finger is the best choice if the applicator is too hard as it could hurt your inner anus area.
Suppositories, creams and ointments, cleansers, astringents and sprays come in different treatment compositions such as anesthetic, vasoconstrictor, protecting, astringent and corticosteroid.
Here are the basic differences:
- Anesthetic types dull pain and itching almost immediately.
- Vasoconstrictors reduce swelling in the blood vessels but this takes a little time.
- Protecting treatments coat the hemorrhoids and protect from further damage and also stops any bleeding.
- Astringent helps healing and reduces itching and pain.
- Corticosteroids cut down on inflammation and reduces itching and pain.
Choose The Right Product
There are a couple of things that you need to bear in mind when you are using OTC treatments.
One is that you are essentially self-diagnosing so you need to be sure you are using the right type of treatment.
For instance, if you have internal hemorrhoids, an astringent spray is not going to help all that much as it is aimed at cleaning the area so that external cracks and fissures can heal.
It is also good for calming down an extremely itchy anal area.
The astringent would be difficult to insert to reach the internal hemorrhoids and it might be too harsh on delicate internal membranes.
Another is that you should be sure if the OTC product you selected is best for internal or external treatment as well as whether it is the right one to use for your condition.
For instance vasoconstrictors are not recommended for people with :
- High blood pressure
- Urinary problems
- Heart disease
Also these products can contain phenylephrine HCI, ephedrine or epinephrine and may cause:
The good news is that the cost of OTC products is quite reasonable, often just a few dollars.
However, and this relates to the last problem with OTC products, OTC products are meant as a treatment, not a way of life.
Calming a dreadful itch helps you get through the day but it does not remove the underlying problem.
The last problem is that the treatment merely keeps the problem at bay if it is not the right treatment or if the problem is too great for simple relief.