Frequently Asked Questions
Check out the most frequently asked questions below.
Q: What’s the best PREPARATION H® product for my symptoms?
To find the right relief for your symptoms, try our Personal Relief Finder. Always be sure to read and follow label directions and consult with your healthcare provider with any questions.
Q: Can I use PREPARATION H® while I’m pregnant or nursing?
As with any medicine, if you are pregnant or nursing a baby, seek the advice of a health professional before using
PREPARATION H® products.
Q: Which products should I use for internal hemorrhoids?
Q: Which products should I use for external hemorrhoids?
We have products that treat a range of external hemorrhoid symptoms:
- PREPARATION H® Ointment
- PREPARATION H® Rapid Relief with Lidocaine Cream
- PREPARATION H® Maximum Strength Pain Relief Cream
- PREPARATION H® Anti-Itch Cream Hydrocortisone 1%
- PREPARATION H® Cooling Gel
- PREPARATION H® Medicated Wipes
- PREPARATION H® Medicated Wipes for Women
- Totables® Irritation Relief Wipes
For a personalized product recommendation, see the Personal Relief Finder
Q: Is PREPARATION H® safe for long-term use?
We do not recommend using PREPARATION H® products for longer than stated in our label instructions and warnings. If you have questions about long-term use of PREPARATION H®, we recommend that you talk to your healthcare provider.
Q: Can I use PREPARATION H® after the expiration date?
We do not recommend using our products past the expiration date, as they may not be as effective.
Q: How much PREPARATION H® should I use?
Start by using a pea-sized amount, and apply the product thinly and evenly over the affected area. If you find that a pea-sized amount is not enough, you can use a little more. However, try to use the smallest amount needed to evenly cover the affected area.
Q: How do I store PREPARATION H®?
PREPARATION H® products should be stored at room temperature (as stated on the label). Storing in high temperatures or cold, such as the refrigerator or freezer, may alter the effectiveness of the product.
Q: How often can I use PREPARATION H® Medicated Wipes?
Use PREPARATION H® Medicated Wipes to cleanse the affected area by wiping, patting or blotting up to 6 times a day or after each bowel movement. PREPARATION H® Medicated Wipes can be used before applying topical hemorrhoidal treatments such as Preparation H® Maximum Strength Pain Relief Cream.
Q: Can I flush PREPARATION H® Medicated Wipes down the toilet?
PREPARATION H Medicated Wipes are made with advanced wipe technology, have been scientifically tested to be flushable and are safe for well-maintained sewer and septic systems*. They are made with 100% plant-based materials and are free from chemical binders.* Not recommended for use with basement pump systems. Flush only one wipe at a time.
Q: Is it safe to use PREPARATION H® if I have an existing medical condition or am taking over-the-counter or prescription medicines?
If you wish to use PREPARATION H® and have any medical condition or are taking an over-the-counter or prescription medication, as listed on the label, you should first speak with your healthcare provider.
Q: How does lidocaine relieve hemorrhoid symptoms?
Lidocaine is a powerful numbing agent, which rapidly relieves painful, itching, and burning hemorrhoid symptoms. PREPARATION H® Rapid Relief with Lidocaine Cream contains 5% lidocaine, the highest strength available, plus, glycerin to provide a soothing, protective layer.
Q: The cap on PREPARATION H® Rapid Relief with Lidocaine Cream is difficult to open. Why is it different than other PREPARATION H® products?
The Food and Drug Administration requires a child resistant cap on the tube of PREPARATION H® Rapid Relief product as it contains lidocaine. We understand your frustration with the cap and we are currently working on a new cap design that will be easier to open. We hope to have this in place in the near future. In order to open the current cap, push down on the cap and rotate slightly counter clockwise until the cap lifts off the tube.
Q: Can I use PREPARATION H® on my face for wrinkles and bags under the eyes?
We do not recommend the use of PREPARATION H® for any condition other than the uses indicated on the label.
Q: How do I remove PREPARATION H® fabric stains?
When used as directed,PREPARATION H® products should not stain fabrics. However, any oil-based ointment may cause fabric stains. If this happens, blot the material, pre-treat with an oxygen- or hydrogen peroxide-based cleaner then wash according to the care label.
Q: How do I use an applicator (pile pipe)?
The applicator (pile pipe) is for use in the rectum only. To use: 1. Wash your hands before and after. Try to empty your bowel and bladder just before use. 2. Remove protective cover from applicator. Attach applicator to tube. 3. Squeeze to fill the applicator with ointment. 4. Lubricate applicator well and then gently insert applicator into the rectum ½ inch. 5. Squeeze the tube so that ointment is applied inside rectum. 6. Thoroughly cleanse applicator after each use and replace protective cover. 7. Avoid having a bowel movement for one to three hours after inserting the ointment.
Q: How do I clean the applicator (pile pipe)?
Wash the applicator with warm water and gentle soap, then thoroughly rinse with water.
Q: What is a hemorrhoid?
Hemorrhoids are a painful condition that affects millions of men and women. Hemorrhoids refer to a condition where the veins in the lower rectum and around the anus are swollen, dilated and inflamed (similar to varicose veins in legs). This can result in pain, itching, irritation, burning and sometimes bleeding – this indicates a flare-up. Learn more about hemorrhoids.
Q: What’s the difference between hemorrhoids and piles?
Hemorrhoids are the veins lining the lowest part of the rectum or anus. When there is increased pressure and these veins become swollen or inflamed, they're called hemorrhoids. In the UK, they are often called “piles.”
Q: What’s the difference between internal and external hemorrhoids?
There are two types of hemorrhoids, internal and external. Internal hemorrhoids occur inside the rectum and external hemorrhoids develop under the skin around the anus. Learn more about internal and external hemorrhoids. * Harvard Health Publications. “Hemorrhoids and what to do about them.” Harvard Women’s Health Watch, 2004.
Q: How common are hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are very common. About 75% of all Americans will have hemorrhoids at some point in their lives. Hemorrhoids are not gender-, race- or age-specific. Hemorrhoids are most common among adults ages 45 to 65. Hemorrhoids are also common in pregnant women and new mothers. Learn more about who gets hemorrhoids
Q: Why do pregnant women and new moms get hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are caused by pressure in the hemorrhoid veins. There are several reasons pregnancy may cause extra pressure. For one, a pregnant woman's enlarged womb increases pressure in the hemorrhoid veins. Secondly, a pregnant woman's blood supply actually increases during pregnancy, raising the pressure within her veins. Lastly, a pregnant woman's hormones tend to relax the anal and rectal area's supporting muscles as the baby presses more and more on the veins below it. All these can create extra pressure that triggers hemorrhoids to flare up or form. Add to all of this the fact that pregnancy often causes constipation (a trigger of hemorrhoids), it is no wonder why expectant mothers get hemorrhoids.
If you had hemorrhoids before pregnancy, you're more likely to get them again while pregnant. They may also develop or flare up with the increase of pressure caused by straining during labor.
For more information, see Just for Moms.
Q: Are hemorrhoids life threatening?
Hemorrhoids, in and of themselves, are not dangerous or life threatening
Q: How do I know if I need surgery for my hemorrhoids?
There are surgical options for people with severe hemorrhoids. To determine whether surgery is right for you, talk to your healthcare provider.
Q: What do I do about bleeding hemorrhoids?
Talk to your healthcare provider. Bleeding can be a symptom of hemorrhoids or of a more serious condition.
Q: Do hemorrhoids go away? Can hemorrhoids be cured?
Hemorrhoids are chronic, meaning they don't go away entirely and there is no cure. Hemorrhoid flare-ups, however, come and go. With proper care and lifestyle changes, you can get relief from hemorrhoid flare-ups and help reduce the risk of them reoccurring.
Q: What is a flare-up?
Everyone has a hemorrhoidal plexus, a vascular cushion lining the lowest part of the rectum or anus. A hemorrhoid is a condition in which the veins and tissues in and around the anus swell due to excessive pressure. This is called a flare-up. Learn more about flare-ups.
Q: How long does a flare-up last?
The duration of a flare-up varies by person. They can last anywhere from a few days to over a week. Some people have flare-ups once a month, others only once every few years. Read more about treating flare-ups.
Q: How can I reduce the risk of a flare-up?
You can reduce the risk of flare-ups by following a high-fiber diet, exercising and not causing extra strain while sitting or standing. For more suggestions on reducing the risk of flare-ups, see Live Better
Q: How can I treat my symptoms away from home?
You can treat hemorrhoid symptoms away from home with PREPARATION H® Totables®. They are portable and discreet so you can treat and relieve your hemorrhoid symptoms away from home. For tips on treating hemorrhoids away from home, see Treating Flare-Ups Away From Home
Q: Does stress cause hemorrhoids?
Stress doesn't necessarily cause hemorrhoids but constipation (which may be caused by stress) can cause hemorrhoids. Learn more about stress and hemorrhoids.
Q: Are hemorrhoids hereditary?
Yes, hemorrhoids tend to run in families. If anyone in your family has hemorrhoids, it's a good idea for you to take care of your lifestyle and diet.
Q: Should I eat certain foods to reduce the risk of flare-ups?
A balanced diet, rich in fiber and fluids, can help prevent constipation (a common cause of hemorrhoids and flare-ups). Learn more about what to eat.
Q: Can I exercise when I’m having a flare-up?
There is no reason to avoid exercise because of hemorrhoids, unless it is uncomfortable. If an exercise doesn't feel right, then choose a different exercise.
If you have had hemorrhoid flare-ups in the past, you may want to avoid exercises that increase pressure in the anal area because that can trigger a hemorrhoid flare-up. Examples of this type of activity are horseback riding or bicycling (because they place pressure on your rectum) and weightlifting (because it causes exertion, straining and bearing down on the rectal area).
For tips on exercises to do (and avoid), see Physical Activity.
Q: Are there exercises to help reduce the risk of flare-ups?
Some exercises can help reduce your risk of flare-ups by stimulating bowel function and/or toning the rectal area.
Moderate physical activity, such as brisk walking 20 minutes a day, can stimulate bowel function.* Other beneficial cardio activities include running, swimming and aerobics.
They also stimulate bowel function as well as enhance blood flow and muscle tone.
* Harvard Health Publications. “Hemorrhoids and what to do about them.” Harvard Women’s Health Watch, 2004.
Q: Where can I get a coupon?
For savings on PREPARATION H® products, go to Savings or call our Customer Service Call Center at 1-800-99PREPH (997-7374).
Q: Where can I purchase PREPARATION H®?
For a list of places to buy PREPARATION H®, go to Where to Buy. Our products are available at most retail, grocery, mass and drugstore outlets, as well as at many online retailers. Please ask the store manager for assistance if you do not see the product on the shelf.
Q: Which PREPARATION H® formulas are in the stand-up boxes? Are they different in any way?
The convenient stand-up box is available in PREPARATION H® Ointment, Maximum Strength Pain Relief Cream, Cooling Gel, and Rapid Relief with Lidocaine Cream. No ingredients have been changed. All of the formulas are the same products you trust for your hemorrhoid relief. You can find PREPARATION H® in the stand-up boxes at Walmart.
Q: What sizes does PREPARATION H® come in?
We have several sizes available for many of our PREPARATION H® products—from 0.2 oz. tubes to 56-count packages. Our products are available at most retail, grocery, mass and drugstore outlets, as well as at many online retailers. If you do not see the size you wish to purchase, please speak with the store manager. See what sizes your favorite PREPARATION H® products come in.