If you stop by your local drug store you will find that there are a host of over the counter products designed to treat hemroids symptoms. While these concoctions may or may not cure hemroids, the symptoms can be greatly reduced or eliminated.

Over the counter treatments are as numerous as the number of active ingredients. However, it is difficult to say that one is better than the other due to the fact that they do not all target the same symptom.  Hemroid treatments may typically found in these common forms.

Preparation H is one of the most common ointments for treating hemroids. The Ointment contains Petrolatum 71. Mineral Oil 14%, Shark Liver Oil 3% and Phenylephrine HCl 025%.

Petrolatum lubricates the affected area, mineral oil and shark liver oil are also included to provide the user with varying degrees of relief in particular before and during defecation. 

Phenylephrine is a vasoconstrictor.Vasoconstrictors are a naturally occurring chemical that resembles epinephrine,. When applied to the anal region, vasoconstrictors make the blood vessels become smaller, which may reduce swelling. They also may reduce pain and itching due to their mild anesthetic effect. Vasoconstrictors applied to the perianal area – unlike vasoconstrictors that are taken orally or by injection – have a low likelihood of causing serious side effects, such as high blood pressure, nervousness, tremor, sleeplessness, and aggravation of diabetes or hyperthyroidism.

Again, Preparation H is one of the most prevalent products under the “cream” category. The Maximum Strength Cream contains White Petrolatum 15%, Glycerin 14.Pramoxine HCl and Phenylephrine HCl.25%.Glycerin may help to prevent constipation and is a protectant while petrolatum is a lubricant or protectant.

Protectants form a physical barrier on the skin that prevents contact of the irritated skin with aggravating liquid or stool from the rectum thus preventing irritation of the perianal area. This barrier reduces irritation, itching, pain, and burning. There are many products that are themselves protectants or that contain a protectant in addition to other medications.

Some common protectants include: Aluminum hydroxide gel, Cocoa butter, Glycerin, Kaolin, Lanolin, Mineral oil (Balneol), White petrolatum, Starch, Zinc oxide or calamine (which contains zinc oxide) in concentrations of up to 25%, Cod liver oil or shark liver oil if the amount of vitamin A is 10,000 USP units/day.

Phenylephrine is a vasoconstrictor and Praxomine is an anesthetic that is used on the skin to relieve minor pain, itching, and discomfort. Local anesthetics temporarily relieve the pain, burning, and itching of hemroids by numbing the nerve endings. These products should only be used in the perianal area and lower anal canal. Due to the possibility of an allergic reaction,if burning and itching increase with the application of anesthetics, they should be discontinued.

Anesthetics include: Benzocaine , Benzyl alcohol, Dibucaine, Dyclonine, Lidocaine, Pramoxine and Tetracaine.

Antiseptics: Antiseptics inhibit the growth of bacteria. However, it is unclear whether antiseptics are any more effective than soap and water.

Examples of antiseptics include: Boric acid, Hydrastis, Phenol, Benzalkonium chloride, Cetylpyridinium chloride, Benzethonium chloride, Resorcinol
One of the more popular products under this category are Tucks Medicated Pads. Hemroidal Pads with Witch Hazel helps give temporary relief of external itching, burning and irritation associated with hemroids. Witch Hazel is the active ingredient here. Witch hazel is an astringent produced from thebark of the North American Witch Hazel shrub. Astringents cause coagulation (clumping) of proteins in the cells of the perianal skin or the lining of the anal canal. This action promotes dryness of the skin, which in turn helps relieve burning, itching, and pain.

Astringents include: Calamine, Zinc oxide, Witch hazel

Preparation H suppositories contain Cocoa Butter.5%, Shark Liver Oil 3%, and Phenylephrine HCl 0.25%. Be sure to clean the affected area by patting or blotting with an appropriate cleansing wipe. Gently dry by blotting with a soft cloth before insertion of this product. Detach one suppository from the strip; remove the foil wrapper before inserting into the rectum as follows:

carefully separate foil tabs by inserting tip of fingernail at end marked “peel down” ,slowly and evenly peel apart (do not tear) foil by pulling tabs down both sides, to expose the suppository. remove exposed suppository from wrapper, insert one suppository into the rectum up to 4 times daily, especially after each bowel movement .

A couple of other chemicals that may be used in hemroid treatments are:

Keratolytics: Keratolytics are chemicals that cause the outer layers of skin or other tissues to disintegrate. The rationale for their use is that the disintegration allows medications that are applied to the anus and perianal area to penetrate into the deeper tissues.

The two approved keratolytics used are:

Aluminum chlorhydroxy allantoinate

Corticosteroids: Corticosteroids reduce inflammation and can relieve itching, but their chronic use can cause permanent damage to the skin. They should not be used for more than short periods of a few days to two weeks. Only products with weak corticosteroid effects are available over-the-counter. Corticosteroid products available by prescription should not be used for treating hemroids due to the potentially negative effects.

While these are all commonly used treatments they are not considered a hemroid cure, due to the fact that they do not cure the underlying cause.

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