The 7 Best Over-the-Counter Hemorrhoid Treatments of 2021

Ease painful and irritating symptoms with these OTC products

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Over-the-Counter Hemorrhoid Treatments

Verywell / Sabrina Jiang

First Look

Best Overall: Doctor Butler's Hemorrhoid & Fissure Ointment at Amazon

"Packed with bio-enhanced herbs, essential oils, and amino acids, which are all microbial and can help with healing."

Best Pills: Naticura Hem-Control Herbal Hemorrhoid Remedy at Amazon

"These gentle relief pills cause a gradual process so there'll be no emergency dash to the restroom, especially when taken daily."

Best Ice Treatment: Hilph Reusable Perineal Cold Pack at Amazon

"The small gel beads inside freeze very fast and stay cold for a long time—without creating a mess from dripping, melting water."

Best Soak: Thena Sitz Bath Soak at Amazon

"Contains magnesium oil for lubrication and aloe vera for pain relief."

Best Treatment During Pregnancy: Motherlove Rhoid Balm at motherlove.com

"Made of all-natural pain and itch-relievers, so moms don't have to worry about what's soaking into their skin."

Best Pillow: Kieba Donut Tailbone Cushion at Amazon

"Sedentary jobs and frequent traveling calls for proper cushioning, Kieba's donut-shaped pillow has got you covered."

Best Itch Relief: Preparation H Soothing Relief Anti Itch Cream at Amazon

"Can be gently blotted on the affected area for immediate relief."

Hemorrhoids, a painful condition involving swollen veins in the rectum and anus, occur when the veins in your rectum become swollen from too much pressure, like if you sit for a long time, strain during bowel movements, or are pregnant. Hemorrhoids will go away once the pressure is lifted. But they can be painful and itchy, so really what you’re treating with over-the-counter remedies are the symptoms, says colon and rectal surgeon Tracey Childs, M.D., chief of surgery at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, CA. “But there isn’t one treatment or miracle compound that’s going to take care of the issue," she says.

Important note: There are a lot of other conditions that have symptoms similar to hemorrhoids. If the pain, swelling, bleeding, or constant need to strain don't get better after a few days, go to the doctor, Dr. Childs adds.

Here are the best over-the-counter hemorrhoid treatments on the market.

Best Overall: Doctor Butler's Hemorrhoid & Fissure Ointment

Doctor Butler

 Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Offers quick pain relief

  • Doesn’t stain

  • Includes organic herbs

Cons
  • Expensive for size

  • Some say isn’t as effective for fissures

This cream—named by someone with a lovely sense of humor—hits all the doctor's approved ingredients, including lidocaine for the most powerful topical numbing available and aloe for cool soothing. It’s also packed with bio-enhanced herbs, essential oils, and amino acids, which are all microbial and can help with healing. Additionally, the formula contains a vasoconstrictor to help shrink swollen tissue and stop bleeding.

The product was actually created by a board-certified proctologist, Dr. Cutler, who wanted to offer a more affordable treatment for folks with anorectal problems. He worked out a proprietary delivery system to help the skin absorb the formula more effectively. 

The result: quick relief from the pain, itching, and burning that can come with hemorrhoids. It’s recommended for other anal issues, including fissures, which is great if you aren’t totally sure which your symptoms are a sign of. Plus, it doesn't stain, which is a common problem with other hemorrhoid creams.

Active Ingredients: Lidocaine USP (4%), Phenylephrine HCl (.25%) | Dose: Apply to affected area up to three times daily | Uses: Treats hemorrhoids and fissures while offering pain and itching relief

Expert Insight

“A lot of times patients don’t know if they have hemorrhoids. The symptoms of a hemorrhoid can be anything from blood in a toilet to fullness to discomfort. They can have mucus discharge and itching—that’s from internal hemorrhoids. If they have a lot of pain that can often be an external hemorrhoid, which is treated differently.”

Henry Govekar M.D., a Colon and Rectal Surgeon at Rush University Medical Group in Chicago

Best Pills: Naticura Hem-Control Herbal Hemorrhoid Remedy

Pros
  • All natural

  • No fillers

  • Softens stool

Cons
  • Won’t shrink bumps

  • Won’t offer immediate pain relief

Over-the-counter hemorrhoid suppositories won’t shrink your bump, but they can help stimulate a bowel movement or lubricate the anal canal so that it’s easier and less painful to go, Dr. Childs says.

There are a lot of products to help soften your stool, but we love this one because it has both witch hazel powder and psyllium husk, a natural fiber. Other ingredients like ginger root and horse chestnut seed are intended to help lower inflammation and promote healing in the damaged tissue of a hemorrhoid. Plus, psyllium husk is a gentle stool softener, so you’ll see results without any of the emergency feelings.

This formula is made from entirely natural ingredients with no chemicals and no fillers. That means it’s not only better in the moment, but also you can use the stool softener regularly if you need to help avoid future straining (though we’d highly recommend adding more fiber to your diet via whole foods, first).

Active Ingredients: Psyllium husks, witch hazel, horse chestnut seed, and ginger root | Dose: 3 capsules once daily with a full glass of water | Uses: Reduces straining due to constipation, regulates bowel movements, support normal stool formation

Best Ice Treatment: Hilph Reusable Perineal Cold Pack

Pros
  • Quick pain relief

  • Soft on skin

  • Washable

  • Doubles as a heat pack

Cons
  • Can be hard to keep in place

  • Some customers complain that the beads can pop

When you need guaranteed pain relief stat, icing is always the way to go. It numbs the area it touches and can help lower inflammation and swelling. There's one major problem with this method: it’s a real acrobatic act to get ice to sit—and stay—against a hemorrhoid.

Hilph’s long, flat cold packs, made from soft gel beads, are ideal for molding into the tricky area of your anus. The outer fabric feels nice on your skin and doesn’t have any uncomfortable sharp corners. And the small gel beads inside freeze very fast and stay cold for a long time—without creating a mess from dripping, melting water.

We love that the packs come not just with washable sleeves, but with four of them in case you need back-to-back ice therapy faster than you can do laundry.

They’re super affordable compared to competitors, and you can pop the pack in the microwave to turn it into a hot pack if needed. Plus, after your hemorrhoid goes away, these are great to use hot or cold to soothe soreness after a workout or an injury.

Active Ingredients: Gel beads | Dose: Place on sensitive area for as long as needed | Uses: Provides cooling relief for hemorrhoids

Best Soak: Thena Sitz Bath Soak

Pros
  • Made with soothing natural oils

  • Safe to use during pregnancy

  • Offers pain relief

  • Softens skin

Cons
  • Some customers say it’s led to rashes

You can soak in a warm tub as much as you want for comfort during a hemorrhoid, Dr. Childs says. While you don't necessarily need salt, this sitz has a strong reputation of being not only seriously relaxing but also seriously pain-relieving.

This bath soak is made with super fine epsom salt and dead sea salt, which dissolves quickly. It's enhanced with coconut oil and magnesium oil to lubricate the skin, aloe vera and witch hazel leaf to provide soothing relief, and 14 other natural herbal oils and ingredients. 

It's safe (and highly encouraged) for use during pregnancy and postpartum care—as well as anyone suffering a painful hemorrhoid, of course. 

Sitting in a warm tub mixed with this sitz bath for 15 to 20 minutes will help provide serious hemorrhoid relief. The jar should last you about 10 to 12 baths. And because of all the oils and botanicals in the formula, your skin will come out silky soft after.

Active Ingredients: 100% pure natural epsom salt, 100% pure natural dead sea salt, organic coconut oil, and other natural oils | Dose: ½ cup for a sitz bath | Uses: Hemorrhoid relief during a sitz bath

Best Treatment During Pregnancy: Motherlove Rhoid Balm

Motherlove
Pros
  • All natural

  • Offers itch and pain relief

Cons
  • Can stain

Dr. Childs explains that hemorrhoids are very common in pregnant women. "The pressure in the pelvis in and of itself can cause hemorrhoids, and oftentimes women get constipated and have to strain," she explains.

The last thing you want to deal with when you are or are about to be a new mom is reading ingredient labels and reviews on how effective a cream actually is. Unlike the steroid creams, your doctor will give you for relief, Motherlove Rhoid Balm is made of all-natural pain and itch-relievers (namely witch hazel, yarrow, and calendula)—so moms don't have to worry about what's soaking into their skin. All the ingredients are USDA Certified Organic. 

The formula is intended to soothe hemorrhoids from pregnancy or from labor and features astringent properties to help reduce swelling. Plus, it's super affordable and made for women, by women.

Active Ingredients: Extra virgin olive oil, beeswax, witch hazel leaf, plantain leaf | Dose: Use as needed on affected area | Uses: Reduces pain, swelling, and itching of pregnancy-induced hemorrhoids

Best Pillow: Kieba Donut Tailbone Cushion

Pros
  • Pressure-relieving

  • Portable

  • Easy to clean

Cons
  • Some say the cushion is too stiff

Sitting on a soft cushion will ease your recovery, Dr. Childs says. You may be able to use a pillow at home, but if you need targeted lack-of-pressure, a donut pillow is the ideal shape. 

Place it between your butt and the couch and you’ll feel less pressure on your pelvis, coccyx, lower back, and perineum. The opening is about 7.5 by five inches—a good size for most tushes to sit on the cushion and keep the hemorrhoid-specific area of the anus free of pressure. 

What’s more, the size is ideal for taking the pillow with you on long car rides or airplanes where prolonged sitting might otherwise aggravate a hemorrhoid.

This pillow is made of dense comfort foam so it won't flatten out after hours of sitting or deflate. We love the non-slip bottom to avoid constant readjustment. And the velour cover is machine washable for easy cleaning and optimum sanitation.

Active Ingredients: Foam and velour cover | Dose: N/A | Uses: Reduces pressure on pelvis and lower body and relieves hemorrhoid pain

Best Itch Relief: Preparation H Soothing Relief Anti Itch Cream

Preparation H
Pros
  • Immediate relief

  • Easy-to-transport packaging

Cons
  • Reapplication may be needed

Itching is a common symptom of hemorrhoids, and an itch in that particular location can be very frustrating. Preparation H's Soothing Relief Anti-Itch Cream can provide fast, prescription-strength relief.

This treatment can be applied four times daily and comes in an easy-to-carry tube, so you can take it with you wherever you go. It's made with one percent hydrocortisone cream, and can be gently blotted on the affected area for immediate relief.

Active Ingredients: Hydrocortisone (1%) | Dose: Blot on affected area up to 4 times daily | Uses: For hemorrhoid and anal itching relief

Final Verdict

When it comes to hemorrhoid relief, the single, must-have product is Doctor Butler's Hemorrhoid & Fissure Ointment (view at Amazon). It will treat the majority of your symptoms and can be used anywhere, any time of day. If you need serious soothing and have the time and a tub, Thena Sitz Bath Soak (view at Amazon) is an almost guaranteed pain relief. If you have hemorrhoids regularly, take Naticura Hem-Control Herbal Hemorrhoid Remedy (view at Amazon) to help soften your stool—and go see your doctor for what else you can do.

What to Look for in an Over-the-Counter Hemorrhoid Treatment

Ingredients:

What to look for in a hemorrhoid treatment depends on the product. Ointments and creams can help ease the pain and itching. Witch hazel in particular is quite soothing, as is aloe vera, coconut oil, or even vitamin E, Dr. Childs adds. A topical anesthetic like lidocaine can be helpful, too. Hydrocortisone, a corticosteroid, can help with itching and irritation, if that's your main concern.

Form:

When you have a hemorrhoid, it can be extra painful to try and have a bowel movement; natural stool softeners with ingredients like psyllium (which is just fiber) work well, she adds. If you're not trying to add any more pills to your daily regimen, opt for a cooling pad or seat cushion that can relieve some of the pain naturally. Bath salts for soaking are another great way to ease the itch without medication.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are OTC hemorrhoid treatments effective?

    Yes, OTC hemorrhoid treatments are effective. Henry Govekar M.D., a colon and rectal surgeon at Rush University Medical Group in Chicago, suggests first seeing a doctor to make sure you do have a hemorrhoid, and not something potentially more serious. Then he suggests doing a warm sitz bath for about 10 minutes a day to reduce swelling. He also encourages patients to get on a fiber diet through vitamins or food changes to maintain a soft stool that’s easy to pass. He says over-the-counter creams and ointments are a good option, but don’t use it for more than a week if there’s no improvement. 


    He advises avoiding steroid creams because they can irritate the skin. He says some ointments on the market include zinc oxide, which helps protect skin and helps with discomfort. 

  • How long does it take a hemorrhoid treatment to work?


    It depends on the type of hemorrhoid. Internal hemorrhoids are treated with sitz baths, diet modifications and OTC products. Dr. Govekar usually waits four to six weeks and many patients see symptoms disappear in about a month. External hemorrhoids can take a few weeks to a month to go down in size.

What the Experts Say

“Most people come to doctors after seeing blood in the toilet. Don’t try to treat it. If you have this bleeding going on you should see your doctor to make sure it’s not something more serious.  When I hear about a patient with rectal bleeding, I wonder about what it could be. Especially as we’re seeing younger and younger people diagnosed with colon and rectal cancer.”—Henry Govekar M.D., a Colon and Rectal Surgeon at Rush University Medical Group

Why Trust Verywell Health?

Rachael Schultz is a freelance writer with a focus in health and nutrition. Her articles have appeared on a handful of other Health sites, and she has a degree from the Savannah College of Art and Design. She specializes in breaking down science and medical jargon into digestible information.

Additional reporting to this story by Marlene Lenthang

As a health writer, Marlene Lenthang knows just how important it is to find the right product for your body and mind. Over the years she has written about health crises, vaccines and product guides. She takes careful note of doctor recommendations, medical research and customer reviews in every product review to assure readers can choose quality products and understand the science behind them.

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