A Beginner’s Guide to Over-the-counter Hemorrhoid Treatments

Looking back on my initial troubles with hemorrhoids, I sometimes wish I’d learned of over-the-counter solutions sooner. Hemorrhoidal medication available without prescriptions can be a lifesaver, especially when paired with proper self-care.

However, they also pose the threat of harsh side effects if misused inadvertently. Here’s all you need to know about hemorrhoidal OTC meds, precautions, and choosing the best one suited for your condition. 

Hemorrhoids 101: What They Are and How Store-Bought Treatments Can Help

Hemorrhoids are inflamed and swollen blood vessels that form in your rectal area, causing pain, discomfort, or irritation. More severe symptoms may include extreme pain or bleeding from the affected area. In harsh cases, you undergo extreme discomfort and unbearable pain, while others have zero clues about what you’re going through. It’s annoying, frustrating, and an all-around unpleasant experience altogether. 

Although they sound awful and harrowing, most hemorrhoidal cases remain manageable at home with the right remedies. 

Home remedies include tweaks in lifestyles, timely soothing with warm water, proper hydration, etc. And the good news is that store-bought medications can speed up the healing, reduce the pain, and drive your rectal health back to normal in a few days. 

The most wholesome part here is that you can buy these over-the-counter remedies without an official prescription from a doctor. In fact, these treatments remain more convenient and effective. With pain, irritation, and inflammation is the most common symptoms, OTC meds like analgesics, anti-inflammatory ointments, and similar treatment products go a long way in hemorrhoidal self-care. 

Top Hemorrhoid Creams You Can Find at Your Local Store

The best OTC hemorrhoidal cream for your case will depend primarily on the symptom’s severity and your own existing health conditions. However, most of the following store-bought alternatives should work well in most cases. 

  1. Preparation H is a medication you can use for hemorrhoidal inflammation (both internal and external). It also serves to relieve the itchiness and burning pain. 
  2. Anusol cream is another medication that treats a variety of ano-rectal illnesses. For hemorrhoids, it works as an anti-inflammatory treatment. 
  3. Lidocaine is a common but powerful anesthetic that offers comfort through the pain and discomfort of swollen hemorrhoids. Keep a tube around the house as pain relief for other scrapes and burns besides hemorrhoids.
  4. Betamethasone products help hemorrhoids by preventing infection and reducing the spread of swollen tissues.
  5. Hydrocortisone cream is an all-around treatment solution that addresses everything from pain and itchiness to inflammation and discomfort. These alleviating properties make it an excellent alternative for treating hemorrhoids. 

While all of these remain effective OTC remedies for hemorrhoids, no single cream or ointment is free of risks. Many of these products also come in variations ranging from creams and ointments to tucks and cooling gels. 

If you have any misgivings or confusion about whether a particular hemorrhoidal medication is right for you, consult a doctor first. Medical professionals can help you sift through alternatives and choose one that fits your condition. 

The Lowdown on Hemorrhoid Suppositories and Wipes

Hemorrhoidal wipes and suppositories serve as handy remedies that provide relief and help with hygiene. However, they’re not as effective as dedicated creams and ointments that treat the affected area directly. 

Medicated wipes are special tissues that contain soothing ingredients or pain-relief properties. Suppositories, on the other hand, may offer relief and anti-inflammatory effects. They’re small, missile-shaped items that go into your rectum, dissolve, and spread the medication to nearby tissues. 

Suppositories and wipes both remain convenient items to carry, especially when you’re out and about. However, they do not offer targeted relief and alleviation like hemorrhoidal creams. 

So, think of them as excellent additions to your treatment, but consider a proper ointment for better treatment of your symptoms. With suppositories, you should consult a qualified doctor before experimenting with store-bought solutions. These items work inside your rectum. So, you should consider any risks of reactions closely with a medical professional before using them. 

Safety-First: What You Need to Know About OTC Treatments

Over-the-counter medications for hemorrhoids come with ingredients especially put together to treat pain, discomfort, and swollen tissues. However, no two people have the same body and health conditions. 

So, these creams and ointments risk the development of side effects or even a worsening of the condition if used without proper care. Allergies, existing health conditions, compatibility with ingredients, etc., are all things to consider before diving into any hemorrhoidal cream. 

Consider these precautions and tips to prevent risks. 

  • Read your ointment label carefully to understand the ingredients and how they work. 
  • Follow the physician’s or product’s instructions in the letter.
  • If you suffer from any allergy, consult doctors to check if the cream will suit you.
  • Pair up OTC treatments with home remedies like sitz baths to reduce dependence on medication.
  • Stop using the hemorrhoidal cream immediately if you experience any rashes, irritation, or worsening of symptoms. 
  • Stay hydrated and choose high-fiber diets to ensure healthy bowel movement and reduced stress on rectal tissues. 

Choosing the Right OTC Hemorrhoid Treatment: A How-To Guide

Here’s how to maximize your odds of a quick recovery by choosing the right OTC treatment. 

  • Read and understand which active ingredients are present in the medication. For instance, glycerin may be an active ingredient in Preparation H, which is great for soothing swollen tissues. 
  • Track the severity of your symptoms to decide if pain relief or anti-inflammatory creams should be your primary option. 
  • Creams come with easier ways to use and apply the medication, while suppositories are not as convenient. Consider getting cooling gels and wipes if you plan to travel. 
  • Track the effect the medication has on your symptoms and consider whether to decrease use or continue the same dosage. Talk to your medical doctor before making sudden shifts in treatment choices or diving into new ointments. 


As someone unfamiliar with OTC hemorrhoidal medication, the options and suggestions may seem overwhelming and endless. But consulting your doctor, studying ingredients, and tracking your hemorrhoidal symptoms, will allow you to get the most out of any store-bought medication. 

About the author

As the author of this website, I have firsthand experience with hemorrhoids and want to share what works and what doesn't when it comes to treating this condition. I hope to offer my experience and support to others struggling with hemorrhoids, and provide helpful tips to live a pain-free life.