Can You Use Hydrocortisone on Hemorrhoids?

Medically Reviewed on 11/22/2022
Can You Use Hydrocortisone on Hemorrhoids
Hydrocortisone is a corticosteroid that can reduce the pain and swelling of hemorrhoids

Hydrocortisone can be used to relieve itching and swelling associated with hemorrhoids and is typically applied up to 3-4 times a day. 

If over-the-counter hydrocortisone has not improved your symptoms within 7 days, stop using it and consult your doctor.

What is hydrocortisone?

Hydrocortisone is a corticosteroid (steroid) medication that reduces pain, itching, and swelling by calming down your immune response (inflammation). It can be used to replace the natural stress hormone, cortisol, in people who do not produce enough of it. 

Hydrocortisone is used to treat a variety of medical conditions and is available in the form of creams, injections, suppositories, and pills.

How to treat hemorrhoids

External hemorrhoids

Take a sitz bath. Sitting in warm water increases blood flow to the affected area, which speeds up healing and eases pain. For this, you will need a tub, a shallow bucket, or a plastic sitz bath and fill it up with warm water. Spend 10-20 minutes sitting in the water 2-4 times a day. Use a clean cotton towel to gently pat the area dry afterward, or let it air dry.

Use Preparation H or a generic equivalent. Gently clean the area with an alcohol-free wet wipe or a soft, wet cloth. When applying the lotion, use a tissue. Apply Preparation H up to 4 times daily. You can also use hydrocortisone 1% cream (over the counter) or hydrocortisone 2.5% cream (prescription).

Internal hemorrhoids

Use Preparation H or a generic equivalent suppository (available over the counter). The best time to use a suppository is right before bedtime but it can be used up to 4 times a day. For easier insertion, you can try putting K-Y jelly on the suppository. You can also use hydrocortisone 25 mg suppository (prescription) or proctofoam-HC (prescription).

How to use hydrocortisone cream for hemorrhoids

Pay attention to the instructions on the label. Below are steps to follow when using rectal hydrocortisone:

  • Wash your hands before and after application.
  • Apply a thin film of cream to the affected area.
  • Use only on small areas of the skin. Avoid using on healthy skin.
  • Do not use it more frequently than recommended.

Regarding the administration of this medication to children, consult your pediatrician since extra care will need to be taken. Avoid covering the area with plastic or tight-fitting diapers when administering hydrocortisone to a child.

What precautions should you take with rectal hydrocortisone?

Inform your doctor of the following before using rectal hydrocortisone:

  • Allergies you may have, including those to medications, foods, or any ingredients in rectal hydrocortisone.
  • Other prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, dietary supplements, and herbal products you are taking or intend to use.
  • You are nursing a baby, intend to get pregnant, or are already pregnant. 
  • Intend to get vaccinated for another disease.
  • You are about to undergo any surgery, including dental surgery.
  • You have any of the following:
    • Fungal infection (other than on your skin or nails)
    • Intestinal obstruction
    • Peritonitis (inflammation of the lining of the stomach)
    • Fistula (an abnormal connection between two organs inside your body or between an organ and the outside of your body)
    • Tear in the wall of your stomach or intestine

Rectal hydrocortisone can impair your ability to fight infection and prevent you from showing symptoms when exposed to infections. While taking this medication, avoid contact with people who are sick and wash your hands frequently. If you believe you may have come in contact with someone who has chickenpox or measles, contact your doctor immediately.

What are serious side effects of hydrocortisone cream?

The following side effects should be reported immediately to your physician or other healthcare providers:

  • Skin irritation or burning
  • Dark red skin patches
  • Infection
  • Skin ailment that has not healed
  • Hair follicles with painful, red, pus-filled blisters
  • Loss of skin thickness


Everyone has hemorrhoids. See Answer
Medically Reviewed on 11/22/2022
Image Source: MedicineNet

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