How to Treat Hemorrhoids with Over-the-Counter Creams

Last updated: May 20, 2019

Contributed by:
Richard Honaker M.D.
Primary Care Physician
View Full Profile

 Treating hemorrhoids doesn’t have to be a pain in the butt! Check out our guide to treating hemorrhoids at home.

Reviewed by Dr. Richard Honaker

It may seem surprising but most of times hemorrhoids  can be treated at home with over-the-counter medications and changes to your diet and lifestyle.

Doctors usually recommend topical creams to deal with itching, tenderness and pain. More invasive medical treatments are only considered when the symptoms last longer than a week or there is bleeding from the rectum.

Should I use an over-the-counter cream?

It is usually safe to use over-the-counter creams, however, it is always a good idea to check with your doctor first to ensure if that is the best course of action for you.

If you have any pre-existing medical conditions or you’re pregnant, a consultation with your physician is a must.

Secondly, you can use these creams but only for a limited time. As some steroid creams can cause thinning of the skin, do not use them longer than a week, unless directed by your doctor.

Which Creams Work best?

 If you are experiencing mild discomfort or slight irritation, you can choose from a variety of over-the-counter creams, ointments, suppositories and pads available at your local pharmacies.

These creams would either have natural ingredients like witch hazel or steroids like hydrocortisone to help ease the pain and reduce the itching.

close up of a bum and a hand

Using a 1% hydrocortisone cream on the skin can reduce swelling and relieve the symptoms associated with hemorroids. You can apply it every two hours for eight hours in the day. However, it is important to note that these creams should only be applied on the outside.

Alternatively, you can also use witch hazel to treat hemorrhoids at home if you want a more natural alternative. Witch hazel is a natural anti-inflammatory agent that contains tannins and oils which can temporarily ease discomfort.

Recommended Home Remedies

woman soaking in a bath

 You can always supplement creams with other home remedies to treat hemorrhoids and reduce the pain. Some of these include:

  • Putting a cold pack on the affected area to numb the pain
  • Warm sitz baths with epsom salt – this will not only keep the area clean but also reduce the swelling
  • Adding more natural fibre to your diet through fruits, vegetables and grains
  • Consume a lot of water to avoid constipation and hard stools
  • Take a stool softener or a fibre supplement

While these remedies can help in treating hemorrhoids, it is still recommended to consult a physician to determine if you need further medical treatment or procedure.

Group of physicians

To help you out, our physicians are available for free consultations, round-the-clock. Connect with one of our doctors today to discuss any questions or concerns you may have.

Worried you have hemorrhoids? Check out our guide to causes, treatment and prevention here. 



Disclaimer: This article provides general information and is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or medical condition. If you require specific advice, please consult one of our medical professionals through the app. However, in case of an emergency, please call 911.

About Richard Honaker M.D.

Dr. Richard Honaker has over 40 years of experience as a primary care physician specializing in several different areas of medicine. He is able to provide expert case review and analysis for insurance and workers compensation cases as well as providing online medical consultations as the Chief Medical Advisor for Your Doctors Online.

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