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Over the Counter Meds for Hemorrhoids
There are numerous products on the market known as over-the-counter treatments for hemorrhoids. Many of these over the counter meds for hemorrhoids, as well as OTC products for anal itching, do not work. Fortunately, a few do work, in perhaps surprising ways.
There are almost countless numbers of over the counter treatments for hemorrhoids and over the counter products for anal itching. This is a health concern which many people are uncomfortable or embarrassed to talk about.
Unless there is bright red blood or a great deal of pain associated with the hemorrhoids, many people do not want to visit their doctor. Instead, they purchase over the counter meds for hemorrhoids with familiar- sounding names.
Many of these treatments for hemorrhoids do not work, leaving the user frustrated and still itchy or in pain. Fortunately, a few products do work, perhaps in surprising ways.
The most popular brand of over the counter (OTC) treatments for hemorrhoids is Preparation H. This product is called by many different names, including Preparation Hem. Drugs.com reports that this kind of hemorrhoid cream is made from phenylephrine or epinephrine.
Phenylephrine is a decongestant- the same decongestant that is added to cold and allergy medicines. This drug works as a vasoconstrictor. This means it shrinks blood vessels.
When applied to hemorrhoidal tissues, phenylephrine shrinks the blood vessels in the anal area. This temporarily relieves the pressure in the anus, but it does not heal hemorrhoids.
It may bring relief for anal itching only slightly, because anal itching is most often caused by irritation of the tissues when they do not get clean enough after elimination.
Users of this kind of OTC treatment for hemorrhoids say that it can cause an itchy rash, it does not reduce the pain, it does not reduce the swelling completely, and it only works for a short period of time.
Drugs.com says phenylephrine should not be used by patients with high blood pressure or who are taking antidepressants or in combination with cold or allergy medicine. Pregnant or breastfeeding mothers should not use this product, either.
Hydrocortisone acetate comes in a rectal cream, foam, or suppository. This is a corticosteroid used to reduce redness, swelling, and itching. Delivery is a matter of personal taste.
All of the products are inserted into the rectum. The cream and foam can also be rubbed gently on the exterior hemorrhoids.
Most people tolerate hydrocortisone well, but the steroid does enter the bloodstream. Rectal bleeding and signs of infection should be reported to a qualified health care practitioner.
Users of hydrocortisone acetate products say that hemorrhoidal relief did not last long or provided no relief at all. A few users have reported experiencing even more irritation from the product. One consistent report among users is that hydrocortisone stimulates more frequent bowel movements.
Witch hazel, as sold in drug stores, is a distilled extract of the witch hazel plant. Witch hazel contains flavonoids such as quercetin, essential oils, and other plant phytochemicals. While natural witch hazel contains tannins, distilled witch hazel usually does not.
Witch hazel is a strong astringent and antioxidant, which makes it a popular product in acne remedies, after shaves, and insect bite preparations. Witch hazel is also used for eczema, varicose veins, and hemorrhoids.
Tucks pads, and similar products, are simply sterile pads which have been soaked in witch hazel. The pads are folded and placed on the hemorrhoids. They provide temporary cooling and soothing relief, and slowly heal irritated and inflamed anal tissues.
Anuice is not a medicine at all. Instead it is a "medical" device to help temporarily relieve the pain of both intermnal and external hemorrhoids.
Anuice is a tool or device made out of medical grade plastic which is filled with the same cooling agent that "blue ice" cooler or ice chest blocks contain.
Users put an Anuice device in the freezer for a couple of hours, then place it either on external hemorrhoids or insert it gently into the rectum for internal hemorrhoids. The Anuice device is held in place for ten minutes, several times a day.
Because the device is freezing cold, it cools the anal area and causes the blood in the hemorrhoids to retract back into the body to warm back up. This shrinks the hemorrhoids briefly.
Anuice acts just like an ice pack. Reviews for the product are mixed. The device is cold, and really does soothe hemorrhoids briefly by freezing them and making them numb. However, the same thing can be done with crushed ice in a freezer baggie, which does not cost $40 USD (2012) each.
According to user reviews, the best OTC hemorrhoid treatment is Tronolane, and other products containing pramoxine. The primary complaint is that many pharmacies do not carry this product and it must be ordered online.
Pramoxine is used for temporary pain and itching relief in many skin irritations. Poison ivy, insect bites, minor rashes and scrapes, burns, hemorrhoids, and anal itching are all relieved somewhat with pramoxine.
Pramoxine is a topical anesthetic. It stops the nerve endings from sending pain signals.
Pramoxine comes as a spray, a gel, a cream, foam, and a liquid. There are medicated wipes for rectal use, as well. It is not supposed to be used on open wounds or blisters.
The product is for topical use only; it is not to be inserted into the rectum. If the wipes are used, they are to be folded and left in place for fifteen minutes, then thrown away. If the foam is used, it is applied with a tissue or toilet paper.
Side effects from pramoxine are usually from allergies or sensitivities, and include irritation, burning, swelling, and increased pain.
For people who are interested in a more natural approach to hemorrhoid and anal itching treatment, Burt’s Bees has received rave reviews for its Res Q Ointment product.
Res Q Ointment’s ingredients list reads like an herbalist’s handbook. It contains pure European olive oil, beeswax, cocoa butter, wheat germ oil, lavender oil, sunflower oil, lavender extract, rosemary leaf extract, comfrey leaf extract, and a few other oils and ingredients.
These natural plant oils offer antioxidants, Vitamin E, and other nutrients to heal the skin. Rosemary and comfrey are well known skin healing herbs. Lavender is well-known as a calming and de-stressing herb.
The oils help relieve the itching and irritation of hemorrhoids, while the herbs treat the skin and the blood vessels through the cell walls.
WebMD.com, “Understanding Hemorrhoids- Diagnosis and Treatment”
Answers. WebMD.com, “What OTC Drugs can I use for hemorrhoid relief?”
WebMD.com, “User Reviews and Ratings: Preparation H Rect”
WebMD.com, “Hydrocortisone Acetate”
WebMD.com. “Witch Hazel”
Tucks Brand.com, “Medicated Pads”
Reviews. Burts Bees.com, ”Res Q Ointment”
Burts Bees.com, “Res Q Ointment”
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Avatrol helps to ease uncomfortable (and sometimes bloody) bowel movements caused by swollen veins in your anus and lower rectum.