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OTC medications and home remedies for hemorrhoids
Grade 1 hemorrhoids are treated symptomatically. There can be some spasm of the anal muscles. Warm sitz baths, sitting in a warm tub for 20 minutes, two or three times a day may be helpful. Avoiding spicy food may also prevent anal itching. Over-the-counter medications may be helpful.
Medications are used to control symptoms by softening the stool, decreasing the inflammation of the hemorrhoids and treating the pain.
Stool softeners work by increasing the water and fat content within the stool allowing it to be passed more easily. Docusate sodium is most often recommended drug in this class (Colace, Surfak, Correctal).
Inflammation can be controlled with over-the-counter creams or suppositories. Some brand ingredients (Preparation H) include low dose topical anesthetics to help with symptoms. Others (Anusol, witch hazel) contain astringents that help shrink the swollen tissues. Both may contain low dose steroids (hydrocortisone) to decrease inflammation. People with diabetes should check with their pharmacist or health care professional before using OTC hemorrhoid treatments. If the medication contains a vasoconstrictor (for example, phenylephrine HCI, ephedrine, or epinephrine) it may elevate blood sugar levels if absorbed in large amounts.
Prescription strength lidocaine or hydrocortisone may be offered by the health care professional.