As someone who has had to deal with hemorrhoids for over a decade, I can tell you firsthand that zinc oxide is highly effective.
I have tried every hemorrhoid cream under the sun. Some have given me great relief, while others offered only mild relief or nothing at all. Zinc oxide is good for hemorrhoids, but only if you are using it properly.
In this post, I am going to explain what zinc oxide is and how it works to treat hemorrhoids. You will also learn how to apply it and what to expect.
What is Zinc Oxide?
Zinc oxide is a topical medication that you can buy over the counter. It takes the form of an ointment, paste, cream or suppository. The chemical formula for zinc oxide is ZnO.
While zinc oxide is used to treat hemorrhoids, it also has a number of other uses as well. Some people treat diaper rash or minor injuries with it.
Additionally, you may see zinc oxide listed as an ingredient in sunscreens, cosmetics, supplements, foods and other products. Chances are good you have already encountered zinc oxide in your everyday life, and may not even realize it.
How Does Zinc Oxide Help Hemorrhoids?
Zinc oxide helps to soothe the pain and itching associated with hemorrhoids. Bowel movements may be more comfortable after using this medication, and you may have less pain and itching overall.
How to Use Zinc Oxide to Treat Hemorrhoids
Zinc oxide for hemorrhoids usually takes the form of a suppository. Here is how to properly apply the suppository:
1. Wash your hands so that they are sanitized.
2. While you are lying on your back, bend your knees while keeping your feet flat on the floor.
3. Take the suppository out of its wrapper.
4. Orient the suppository so that the pointed end is facing your rectum, then quickly but carefully insert it. You only need to push it in an inch or so.
5. Remain where you are. The heat of your body will melt the suppository.
6. When you get up, wash your hands again.
Sometimes, your doctor might tell you to apply a zinc oxide topical cream rather than using a suppository. You might also decide you prefer this option for personal reasons. Here is how to apply the topical cream:
1. Wash your hands.
2. Clean the area where you will be applying the cream. You can use soap and water if the soap is mild. Otherwise, just use water. Pat the area dry.
3. Gently apply the cream to the affected area.
4. Wash your hands once more.
Whether your use the topical cream or suppository, make sure you apply your treatment as often as the directions specify.
Does Zinc Oxide Have Side Effects?
In most cases, you will be glad to learn that zinc oxide is side-effect free.
The exception would be if you have an allergic reaction to the medication. This is rare, but if it happens, you might experience:
- Difficulties breathing
Sometimes allergic reactions may present with other symptoms as well. Allergic reactions can be serious, so contact your doctor immediately if you think you might be having one.
How Long Zinc Oxide Takes to Work on Hemorrhoids
You should notice an improvement in your symptoms within about 7 days of starting treatment for zinc oxide. So, hang in there. Relief is on the way, and it is usually fast.
You will probably get the best results if you take other steps to treat your hemorrhoids while using the zinc oxide, such as:
- Eating more fiber to make your bowel movements more regular.
- Taking warm baths for soothing relief.
- Avoiding tight or scratchy clothing that chafes.
- Taking anti-inflammatory medicines to help bring down the swelling and pain.
If you still feel the same after a week of using the zinc oxide and you followed the directions (see below), contact your doctor.
What to Do if Zinc Oxide Isn’t Working
Sometimes when zinc oxide isn’t working, it is because the patient is making a mistake when using it. I learned this the hard way.
One of the most common mistakes is to go to the bathroom within an hour of using the suppository. I know—sometimes that is hard or impossible to avoid. But when you use the bathroom too soon, you can end up removing the medication before it has a chance to work.
The best way around this problem is to become familiar with your bowel habits. Try to avoid applying the suppository at a time of day when a bowel movement is likely. Aim for a window when you probably will not need to use the bathroom for at least an hour.
If you miss a dose, wait until it is time to take your next dose. Do not double up on doses.
That said, if you miss doses frequently, that could lower the effectiveness of the zinc oxide, which might explain why it isn’t working.
So, be as consistent as you can and try to stick to the zinc oxide dosing schedule. In most cases, this will probably be enough to ensure that zinc oxide works. But again, if you still do not feel better in 7 days, you should get in touch with your healthcare provider.
Zinc oxide is one of the most common medications used to treat hemorrhoids, and for good reason. It is fast and effective, and rarely has side effects.
If your doctor has directed you to try taking zinc oxide, or if you have decided on your own to give it a try, you probably will be feeling better very soon.
Use the suppository or ointment as directed, be patient as the week goes by, and do your best not to further aggravate your hemorrhoids. Before you know it, the swelling should go down and you should be able to use the toilet, sit and stand without pain, itching or discomfort.