List of Medications used for Hemorrhoids (Piles)

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Hemorrhoids, also known as piles, are swollen veins in the lower rectum and anus. They can cause discomfort, itching, bleeding, and pain, affecting daily activities and quality of life. While lifestyle changes and home remedies can provide relief, medications play a crucial role in managing symptoms and promoting healing. This blog post will explore various medications used to treat hemorrhoids, their mechanisms, benefits, and potential side effects.

Understanding Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids are classified into two main types:

  1. Internal Hemorrhoids: Located inside the rectum, these hemorrhoids are usually painless but can cause bleeding during bowel movements.
  2. External Hemorrhoids: Found under the skin around the anus, these can be painful, itchy, and may bleed or form a hard lump (thrombosed hemorrhoid).

Common causes of hemorrhoids include:

  • Straining during bowel movements
  • Chronic constipation or diarrhea
  • Prolonged sitting or standing
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Low-fiber diet

Over-the-Counter (OTC) Medications

  1. Topical Anesthetics
    • Lidocaine (RectiCare, Anamantle): Provides temporary relief from pain, itching, and discomfort by numbing the area. Available in cream or gel form, it should be applied directly to the affected area.
  2. Topical Corticosteroids
    • Hydrocortisone (Preparation H, Anusol-HC): Reduces inflammation, itching, and swelling. Available as creams, ointments, suppositories, and foams. Prolonged use can cause skin thinning and should be limited to short-term use.
  3. Astringents
    • Witch Hazel (Tucks Pads, Preparation H Medicated Wipes): An astringent that helps shrink swollen tissue and provides soothing relief. Often found in pads or wipes for gentle application.
  4. Protectants
    • Zinc Oxide (Desitin, Calmol 4): Forms a protective barrier on the skin to prevent irritation and promote healing. Available in creams, ointments, and pastes.
    • Petrolatum (Vaseline, Preparation H Ointment): Helps to keep the affected area moist and protected, reducing irritation and discomfort.
  5. Vasoconstrictors
    • Phenylephrine (Preparation H Cooling Gel): Narrows blood vessels to reduce swelling and discomfort. It can provide quick relief from symptoms but should be used with caution in patients with cardiovascular conditions.
  6. Analgesics
    • Acetaminophen (Tylenol): Provides pain relief but does not reduce inflammation. Suitable for mild to moderate pain.
    • Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and Naproxen (Aleve): Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that provide pain relief and reduce inflammation.

Prescription Medications

  1. Topical Corticosteroids
    • Fluocinolone Acetonide (Synalar Rectal Cream): A more potent steroid cream used for severe inflammation and itching. Prolonged use can lead to skin thinning and other side effects.
  2. Topical Nitroglycerin
    • Nitroglycerin Ointment (Rectiv): Relieves pain by relaxing the anal sphincter muscle, reducing pressure on hemorrhoids. Side effects can include headaches and dizziness due to systemic absorption.
  3. Calcium Channel Blockers
    • Nifedipine Ointment: Used off-label to reduce anal sphincter pressure and promote healing. It helps in reducing pain and discomfort associated with hemorrhoids. Side effects may include headaches and low blood pressure.
  4. Topical Immunomodulators
    • Tacrolimus (Protopic): Used off-label for severe cases, especially when other treatments fail. It reduces inflammation and immune response. Potential side effects include skin irritation and increased risk of infection.

Oral Medications

  1. Flavonoids
    • Diosmin-Hesperidin (Daflon, Detralex): A combination of flavonoids that strengthen blood vessel walls, reduce inflammation, and improve venous tone. Used in Europe and other parts of the world for treating chronic venous insufficiency and hemorrhoids. Side effects are generally mild and include gastrointestinal disturbances.
  2. Venoactive Drugs
    • Rutosides: Strengthen blood vessel walls and reduce capillary permeability. They are effective in reducing symptoms and preventing recurrence. Side effects may include nausea and gastrointestinal upset.
  3. Laxatives
    • Stool Softeners (Docusate, Colace): Help prevent straining during bowel movements by softening the stool. This reduces pressure on hemorrhoids and promotes healing.
    • Bulk-Forming Agents (Psyllium, Metamucil): Increase stool bulk and make bowel movements easier. Ensure adequate water intake to prevent constipation.

Procedures and Surgical Interventions

For severe or persistent hemorrhoids that do not respond to medications, the following procedures may be recommended:

  1. Rubber Band Ligation: A procedure where a rubber band is placed around the base of the hemorrhoid to cut off its blood supply, causing it to shrink and fall off.
  2. Sclerotherapy: Injection of a solution into the hemorrhoid to shrink it.
  3. Infrared Coagulation: Use of infrared light to coagulate the blood vessels in the hemorrhoid, causing it to shrink.
  4. Hemorrhoidectomy: Surgical removal of severe or large hemorrhoids.
  5. Stapled Hemorrhoidopexy: A procedure that staples and removes part of the hemorrhoid tissue, reducing blood flow and causing the hemorrhoid to shrink.

Alternative and Complementary Therapies

  1. Sitz Baths: Sitting in warm water for 10-15 minutes several times a day can help reduce pain, swelling, and irritation.
  2. Aloe Vera: Known for its soothing and anti-inflammatory properties, aloe vera gel can be applied to the affected area for relief.
  3. Witch Hazel Compresses: Natural astringent properties help reduce swelling and provide soothing relief.
  4. High-Fiber Diet: Increasing fiber intake through fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help prevent constipation and reduce straining during bowel movements.

Managing Hemorrhoids: Tips and Best Practices

  • Maintain Hygiene: Keep the anal area clean and dry. Use gentle, fragrance-free wipes or pads.
  • Avoid Straining: Do not strain during bowel movements. Take your time and avoid sitting on the toilet for extended periods.
  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water to keep stools soft and prevent constipation.
  • Exercise Regularly: Physical activity can help improve bowel function and reduce pressure on hemorrhoidal veins.
  • Use a Cushion: Sitting on a soft cushion can relieve pressure on hemorrhoids and reduce discomfort.


Hemorrhoids can cause significant discomfort and affect daily life, but a wide range of medications and treatments are available to alleviate symptoms and promote healing. From over-the-counter remedies to prescription medications and natural therapies, there are numerous options to suit different needs and severities. Identifying the underlying causes and adopting lifestyle changes can also play a crucial role in managing and preventing hemorrhoids. If you experience persistent or severe symptoms, consult a healthcare professional to develop a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to your specific condition. With the right approach, you can find relief and improve your quality of life.

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