In most cases, the visual inspection alone is enough to diagnose hemorrhoids. When the symptoms of bleeding, itching, and pain become intolerable, you must find the right treatment for your condition. Do you have to use over the counter hydrocortisone creams or prescribed medicines? Our guide will reveal you the truth about your treatment options. Learn everything you need to know about using hydrocortisone cream for hemorrhoids.
How to eliminate the hemorrhoids symptoms
Most treatment options are meant to keep the unpleasant symptoms under control. Although they do not remove hemorrhoids, they provide relief from pain, bleeding, and inflammation. Here are the solutions that are commonly recommended for piles:
- Natural remedies – horse chestnut, witch hazel, butcher’s broom, cypress essential oil, and aloe vera gel are several cures for hemorrhoid relief. They are a natural alternative to hydrocortisone cream and can alleviate the pain, itching, and burning sensations within minutes or hours. However, you should discuss with your doctor before using any therapeutic plants, because they could interact with other medicines.
- Sitz bath – the kit enables cleaning the rectum, perineum, and genital area in a warm and shallow bath. It relieves itching and pain almost instantly. When should you use it? Right after emptying your bowel, or even 3-4 times a day, especially if the sitz bath brings you relief.
- OTC topical hemorrhoid medications – can be found in almost every drug store. The ingredients reduce inflammation and offer immediate relief to piles. The over the counter hydrocortisone cream for hemorrhoids ought to be applied several times daily to be effective. When it is applied after sitz bath, the results will appear faster.
- Prescribed ointments with nifedipine and lidocaine – are given by a doctor when clots have formed inside hemorrhoid. The extreme pain will be eliminated with a combination of nifedipine (which relaxes the blood vessels) and lidocaine (a local anesthetic). According to https://medicine.umich.edu/sites/default/files/content/downloads/nifedipine-ointment.pdf, the ointment has few associated side effects.
- Surgery – cutting the piles or using rubber band ligation will eliminate the problem. The ligation provides less postoperative pain than hemorrhoidectomy, but the latter one has less chance of recurrence. The inflammation due to surgery will go away quickly with hydrocortisone cream.
When is the hydrocortisone cream recommended?
Hydrocortisone – an anti-inflammatory medication – is frequently used to reduce the minor pain, swelling, and itching caused by hemorrhoids. If some ointments contain a small concentration of the topical steroid and are available over the counter, others are more powerful and can be acquired only with a medical prescription. The medicine works by reducing the action of the chemicals that cause redness and inflammation.
Do you know what the hydrocortisone cream uses are? Apart from alleviating hemorrhoids, the ointment is used topically to reduce the inflammation of the skin caused by skin problems such as psoriasis, eczema, or allergies. Your pharmacologist will recommend it for insect bites, dermatitis, and even nappy rash. You should always ask the advice of your doctor before using hydrocortisone ointments because it eliminates the redness; thus, it can hide symptoms that would otherwise help in establishing the correct diagnose.
Your doctor will put into balance the pros and cons of using hydrocortisone cream. In case the benefits are more significant than the adverse effects, you might be able to apply it on your skin. According to https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682793.html, several side effects of the chemical include irritation, itching, redness, burning, changes in skin color, unwanted hair growth, skin rash, etc. When the discomfort caused by piles gets worse, it’s time to pay a visit to your physician.
When to ask a doctor about your hemorrhoids
Rectal bleeding is often associated with external hemorrhoids. However, it should go away within maximum 3 days, with or without treatment with hydrocortisone ointment. When the bleeding becomes heavy, or the blood changes its color, you must call your doctor immediately. After a thorough investigation, they will determine whether your symptoms were caused by hemorrhoids or more serious health problems.
Without proper treatment, the rectal pain can last for more than 7 days. When other symptoms accompany the aching – a lump at the canal opening, dark red blood from down-there, narrow stools that look like a pencil – these complications require more than hydrocortisone cream. Furthermore, if the over the counter treatment has offered less significant improvements, you might have to take prescription drugs or even be a candidate for surgery.
What is the difference between OTC and prescribed hydrocortisone cream?
With so many options in the drug store, it’s not easy to pick the best hemorrhoid cream. In case you have mild symptoms and no medical prescription, you’ll have to get an over the counter solution. The OTC hydrocortisone ointments contain from 0.25% to 1% active ingredient. As for their price, the products available without prescription cost from $50 to $80. On the other hand, the prescribed treatment can contain up to 2.5% hydrocortisone acetate, and the price ranges from $30 to $300. You can buy Proctozone HC 2.5% cream for $37 or Procort 1.15% for $290.
The side effects differ, as well. A smaller concentration will cause milder negative results. Moreover, the stronger product can be more effective than the hydrocortisone ointments with 0.25-1% active compound. After alleviating the unpleasant hemorrhoid symptoms with the OTC or prescribed drug, make sure your habits do not cause the reoccurrence of piles.
What can worsen hemorrhoids?
You probably already know what causes piles: sitting for prolonged periods, constipation, straining, and pushing during bowel movements. More often than not, pregnant women will develop hemorrhoids due to increased pressure in the pelvic area. As the fetus grows, the piles can aggravate. Thankfully, most hemorrhoids caused by pregnancy disappear just as fast as they occur. Read here what are the foods, factors, or common mistakes that could worsen the symptoms or lead to the reoccurrence of piles:
- Lifting heavy objects on a daily basis. You may hit the gym regularly, but it does not mean that you have to stick around those heavy weights every day. Do not overdo it with the weightlifting, as it will put more pressure on the external hemorrhoids. Be moderate and apply an OTC hydrocortisone ointment when hemorrhoids cause pain and itching.
- Dealing with high stress and anxiety. Having a demanding job or a difficult time at home, with your loved ones, will aggravate your condition. Although the hydrocortisone ointment alleviates the symptoms of hemorrhoids, the veins in the anal canal can still swell. How does stress affect you? Anxiety and depression will perturb your digestion and make your piles flare up. If you suffer from hemorrhoids and chronic anal fissure, it’s time to get a break or learn how to meditate.
- Do you frequently consume low-fibre foods (white bread, white rice, white crackers), alcohol, coffee, or food irritants (citrus fruits, tomatoes, chocolate)? You ought to reconsider your eating habits; they can dehydrate, trigger constipation, and irritate the colon.
- Using scented wet wipes. You may have to clean your bottom before applying the hydrocortisone cream, but it does not mean that you should use any tissues. Both poor hygiene – not keeping the anal area clean and dry – and wet wipes can irritate the skin and cause excruciating pain down there. If you want to wash after bowel movements, use a sitz bath and pat dry with a cotton towel before applying the hemorrhoid ointment.
- Reading on your smartphone while sitting on the toilet. It’s one of the worst things people do, and they succeed to aggravate the symptoms of piles. Why? Because it means that you stay more than 10-15 minutes on the toilet, you strain on the pot, and it favors bleeding and inflammation. If you cannot give up your phone, set up a timer for 10 minutes and be quick.
How to use hydrocortisone ointment for piles
The experts recommend applying the hemorrhoid treatment for 3-4 times daily. First, you have to clean the affected area before applying the product. Use a sitz bath, water with a mild soap, or unscented wipes, avoiding to rub the sensitive skin. Then, take a small amount – or as recommended by your physician – and spread it around the back passage, on the external hemorrhoids.
Some products come with a special applicator that enables using the hydrocortisone cream for piles inside the anus. This way, the active ingredient will reach to the internal hemorrhoids and offer relief to pain. If you want to avoid using a messy cream down-there, you could eliminate the discomfort caused by piles with Venapro. The combination of capsules and oral homeopathic spray will reduce the pain, itching, and burning sensations naturally and efficiently.
In case the symptoms do not disappear within 7 days of treatment with the hydrocortisone ointment, you have to stop applying it and seek the advice o your doctor. The continuous topical use of hydrocortisone can cause the thinning of the skin; hence, other health problems and the worsening of the symptoms.
The hydrocortisone cream for hemorrhoids comes with pros and cons, as well. Although it isn’t natural and 100% safe, it can relieve the inflammation and discomfort that usually accompany piles. Pay a visit to your doctor and find what is the best treatment for your delicate problem!