Hemorrhoids are a common condition that affects millions of people around the world. Hemorrhoids (or piles) are swollen veins of the anus and rectum.
Internal hemorrhoids are usually non-painful and non-symptomatic, while external hemorrhoids are typically symptomatic. However, prolapsed hemorrhoids are internal swollen veins that bulge out of the anus, causing bleeding and pain. This is known as hemorrhoid disease.
The cause of hemorrhoids is believed to be multifactorial. Some causes and risk factors include:
Chronic straining from an enlarged prostate
Constipation or trouble passing stool
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Preparation H suppositories contain the active ingredient phenylephrine. This helps shrink blood vessels, as dilated blood vessels result in hemorrhoids.¹
This suppository helps relieve burning, irritation, and swelling due to hemorrhoids. Potential side effects include increased blood pressure and rectal bleeding.
Calmol suppositories contain zinc oxide and cocoa butter as active ingredients. This helps form a protective barrier against irritation from the stool.
This suppository protects inflamed skin and ensures bowel movements are less painful. Potential side effects include hives, itching, or rash on the skin.
Anusol-HM suppositories contain hydrocortisone, a steroid that treats itching and swelling in the rectum and anus.
This suppository helps relieve bloody diarrhea, rectal pain, and bleeding in the anus area. Potential side effects include changes in skin color around the rectal area, burning, and dryness.
Suppositories are generally available over the counter in pharmacies. You can also buy them online in bulk.
Once you have your suppository ready, follow these steps to ensure safe usage:
Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water.
Check the softness of the suppository.
If the suppository is too soft, refrigerate for a few minutes.
Remove the wrapper.
If preferred, put on a glove.
Use a water-soluble lubricating jelly and apply it on the tip of the suppository; you can also moisten your rectal area with tap water.
Lie on your side with your lower leg out straight and the other leg bent toward your stomach
Lift the upper buttock to expose the rectal area.
Relax and insert the suppository, tip side first, until it passes the muscular sphincter of the rectum (about one inch deep in adults).
Hold buttocks together and lie down for a few minutes to ensure the suppository doesn’t come out.
Wash your hands thoroughly after use.
Suppositories can come with side effects. This will depend on the type of suppository you choose and its active ingredient. Some side effects include:
Rectal pain or burning
Bleeding from rectum
Dryness or skin changes around the rectum
Allergic reactions (swelling in the face, skin rash)
Breathing problems and chest pain
Feeling faint or lightheaded
A fast or irregular heartbeat
Redness and pain in the rectum
Swelling of the face, tongue, or throat
Due to the active ingredients in the rectal suppositories, checking in with your doctor before you start is best. They will usually advise you against suppositories if you are allergic to the active ingredients (like hydrocortisone) or have a skin infection.
Read through the leaflet that comes with the suppository. Do not use suppositories more than, or longer than, recommended. Long-term use can come with many adverse side effects depending on the brand and type of suppository you choose.
In most cases, mild cases of hemorrhoids can be treated with conservative treatment options. Alongside suppositories, these include topical treatments like creams and wipes or lifestyle changes to increase fiber intake.
For more severe cases of hemorrhoids, other non-operative measures and surgery may be considered. These include:
Rubber band ligation
Topical creams and ointments usually have anti-inflammatory effects and can be purchased over the counter. They are less invasive than suppositories and can provide local relief from discomfort and pain in the rectal area.
Check with your doctor before using these.
For many people with hemorrhoids, wiping after bathroom use may be uncomfortable or even painful. Medicated wipes are usually infused with soothing ingredients, such as chamomile or aloe, to clean effectively while providing hemorrhoid relief.
Other home remedies may help soothe the inflamed rectal area. These include taking a warm bath to ease pain and itching and placing an ice pack wrapped in a cloth on the rectal area.
Hemorrhoid suppositories are a safe and effective option for minor cases of hemorrhoids. The active ingredients help soothe and protect the rectal area.
Numerous hemorrhoid suppositories can be purchased over the counter, but if you are concerned about side effects or want to explore other treatment options, talk to your health professional.
Yes, hemorrhoid suppositories have shown high effectiveness in individuals with hemorrhoids. They can help provide temporary relief and reduce common symptoms like pain, swelling, and bleeding.
While hemorrhoid suppositories can provide potent relief, they should not be used as a permanent solution. This is especially the case if you have recurring hemorrhoids that significantly affect your quality of life.
It’s best to talk with a health professional so they can advise on lifestyle habits that may reduce your risk of developing hemorrhoids.
While this will depend on the exact hemorrhoid suppository you choose, you can generally use most suppositories up to four times a day or as your doctor advises.
Preparation H suppositories (rectal) | Drugs.com
External hemorrhoid (2022)
Internal hemorrhoid (2022)
Calmol-4 76 %-10 % rectal suppository | Kaiser Permanente
Calmol-4 suppository side effects | Drugs.com
How to use rectal suppositories properly | American Society of Health-System Pharmacists
Anusol-HC 25 mg rectal suppository | Kaiser Permanente
Hydrocortisone rectal (cream, suppository) | Drugs.com
Phenylephrine topical side effects | Drugs.com
Zinc oxide topical | Drugs.com
Hemorrhoids in pregnancy (2008)
Preparation H medicated wipes | Preparation H
Piles (haemorrhoids) | NHS