When the itching, the pain and the bleeding starts, getting rid of hemorrhoids fast becomes a priority. However, doctor appointments can take weeks, and the treatments prescribed are often painful and invasive. It is understandable that you would like to avoid that, especially since there are so many over the counter treatments you can try.

Despite the unpleasant, often severe symptoms, most hemorrhoids cases are not that serious and can be treated with products available in any local pharmacy. The only problem would be identifying the right product.

Internal and External HemorrhoidsTheir active ingredients represent the main difference between the existing over the counter internal and external hemorrhoid treatments. Through these active ingredients, short-term relief or symptoms alleviation is ensured.

Most products require application directly on the affected area in order to allow you to get rid of hemorrhoids, and take the form of cream, foam, gel, suppositories and pads.

Depending on their effects, they can be categorized as: protectants, constrictors, hydrocortisones, numbing medication, witch hazel, fiber supplements and various combinations.

  • Hemorrhoidal protectants include, as their name suggests, substances meant to protect the affected area, to prevent irritation and excessive drying and allow the skin to heal.
  • Constricting medicines, also called vasoconstrictors, tighten the veins and shrink the hemorrhoidal tissue. Phenylephrine is the active ingredient commonly used by the products in this category.
  • Hydrocortisones are named so after their active ingredient, a steroid highly effective in alleviating the itching and burning sensations hemorrhoids usually cause.
  • Numbing medication is based on local anesthetics that numb the local nerves, providing temporary pain relief. The most common active ingredients are benzocaine, pramozine and dibucaine.
  • Witch hazel shrinks the blood vessels, as well as the exposed tissues, enabling the skin to dry, and alleviating the itching and burning sensations. It is a popular natural ingredient, used in many moist wipes and pads and recommended for cleaning following bowel movements.
  • Fiber supplements are meant to fight one of the main hemorrhoid causes, namely the low-fiber diet. Fibers soften the stool and ease bowel movements, but for some people, they are difficult to consume in the right amounts. That is when supplementation becomes an option. If your daily routine and diet plan do not allow you to consume as much fiber as you should, you can compensate with a supplement, and, thus, fight any existing hemorrhoid problems and prevent the apparition of new ones.

Although treatments available over the counter are considered safe, you should still read their prescriptions safely and discuss their administration with your doctor or the pharmacist. It is important to make sure that the hemorrhoids treatment you choose will not interact with any other treatments you are following and that the ingredients it is based on will not cause you any allergies.

More than that, some over the counter medicines, although generally safe, are contraindicated during pregnancy and to people with severe health problems, so make sure you know exactly what you are taking and eliminate all risks from the equation. With this taken care of, getting rid of hemorrhoids and of the unpleasant symptoms associated with them will be just a matter of time and persistence, and, the best part is that you can do everything at home, in privacy.