Hemorrhoids are enlarged and inflamed veins in the anus or rectum and can be caused by constipation or pregnancy. They are often painful to touch and can become itchy and irritated from bowel movements and long periods of sitting. Treatments include over-the-counter medications such as Preparation H and other generic hemorrhoidal creams, as well as home remedies and frequent cleaning to reduce symptoms. Avoid scratching your hemorrhoids because you can tear the skin and cause bleeding and infection. If your hemorrhoids persist or worsen after a week of at-home treatment, contact your physician.
Because of the swelling and itching of the hemorrhoid, it is important to keep the affected area clean. According to the Mayo Clinic, you should wash the anal area with warm water and dry it with a hair dryer on the cool air setting to remove moisture. It is important to use a soap for sensitive skin or temporarily discontinue soap use, because soap can cause further irritation. You can treat the area with witch hazel to numb the area and relieve itching. Taking a warm bath can also alleviate itching, or you can apply a cold compress to the hemorrhoid.
Preparation H is a store-brand medication specifically made to relieve itching and other symptoms associated with hemorrhoids. The hemorrhoidal medication contains hydrocortisone, a medicine used to reduce inflammation. The medication comes in two forms: creams and suppositories. Before using the medication, thoroughly clean the anal area. Apply a dime-sized amount of cream to the hemorrhoid. Closely follow the medication directions to reduce the possibility of side effects. Suppositories require you to insert them into your rectum. Follow the package directions for appropriate dosage. If you experience rectal pain or bleeding, muscle weakness or increased sweating, discontinue use and contact your doctor.
Hygiene and Diet
Hemorrhoids that are inflamed can worsen when dry toilet paper is rubbed against the area. To reduce irritation, switch from dry toilet paper to wet, disposable wipes. Eat more fiber found in whole-grain bread and pasta to reduce straining during bowel movements, and thoroughly clean afterward to prevent itching.