– Hemorrhoids are dilated swollen veins in the anus or rectum. These enlarged veins can be "silent" or be extremely itchy, painful and uncomfortable. Although hemorrhoids are more of a nuisance than a serious health condition, they can cause bleeding with bowel movements. Since rectal bleeding can be a sign of something more serious, it's important to see your doctor and make sure hemorrhoids are what's causing your symptoms. Once you know you have hemorrhoids, what can you do to get relief? read more about hemorrhoids »
One way to ease the symptoms of hemorrhoids is to harness the cooling action of witch hazel. Witch hazel is extracted from the leaves, twigs and bark of the witch hazel plant. It's a common ingredient in hemorrhoid relief products since its astringent and anti-inflammatory properties help to cool and tighten inflamed, hemorrhoidal tissues while relieving irritation and swelling. Plus, witch hazel is a good source of natural tannins with skin healing properties. Most people tolerate witch hazel topically, although it can cause minor skin irritation in some.
Another ingredient in some hemorrhoid products called pramoxine hydrochloride is a topical anesthetic that subdues irritation and itching. It's also an ingredient in some products used to soothe insect bites, poison ivy and other minor skin irritation and rashes. Like witch hazel, it works quickly to relieve itching and irritation and is well tolerated by most people.
Persistent itching from hemorrhoids may respond to topical 1% hydrocortisone, an ingredient in some hemorrhoid products. Hydrocortisone helps to reduce inflammation that makes the itching and irritation worse. It's an ingredient doctors frequently recommend therapy for minor skin rashes and allergic skin conditions. Some hemorrhoid preparations contain other ingredients like aloe vera that soothe inflamed, irritated tissue.
Hemorrhoid Products Come in a Variety of Forms
There's more than one way to get relief from hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoid products in the first aid department come in a variety of forms. Choose from medicated towelettes and wipes that are ready to use right out of the package. These individually packaged wipes and towelettes have a cleansing and cooling action that quickly eases burning and itching. They're easy-to-use and carry with you when you travel. Another alternative is hemorrhoidal pads with added softness for inflamed tissue that is painful and uncomfortable. They're also ideal for cleansing and refreshing the vaginal area and for cleansing baby's skin during diaper changes. Keep some on hand when you travel. You never know when you'll need them.
You can also get hemorrhoid relief in the form of a cream or ointment. Creams and ointments contain ingredients that help shrink and soothe inflamed tissue. Use them after cleansing with mild soap and water for instant relief. Inflamed, swollen hemorrhoids can make a simple bowel movement excruciatingly painful. Hemorrhoid suppositories coat your anus and rectum with ingredients that protect the irritated tissues to make bowel movements more comfortable. At the same time, they help to ease swelling and promote healing.
The Bottom Line
Hemorrhoids can be quite uncomfortable and irritating. Fortunately, there are ingredients that help to ease the burning, itching and swelling so you can get some much-needed relief. Take advantage of them!
This summary is intended for general informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should read product labels. In addition, if you are taking medications, herbs, or other supplements you should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before taking any over-the-counter medication as they may interact with other medications, herbs, and nutritional products. If you have a medical condition, including if you are pregnant or nursing, you should speak to your physician before taking these products. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.