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.
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.”
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.
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 35 to 55. Hemorrhoids are also common in pregnant women and new mothers. Learn more about who gets hemorrhoids.
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.
Are hemorrhoids life threatening?
Hemorrhoids, in and of themselves, are not dangerous or life threatening.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
How to use Preparation H Suppositories?
- Before inserting, empty your bowel and bladder. Wash your hands and cleanse the affected area by patting or blotting with an appropriate cleansing wipe.
- Remove the outer wrapper from the suppository. Avoid handling the suppository for too long or it will melt in your hands.
- Lie on your side with your lower leg straightened out and your upper leg bent forward toward your stomach. Lift upper buttock to expose rectal area.
- Insert one suppository, pointed end first, with your finger until it passes the muscular sphincter of the rectum, about 1 inch in adults (if not inserted past the sphincter, the suppository may pop out).
- Hold buttocks together for five seconds. For best results, remain lying down for five minutes to avoid having the suppository come out. The suppository should melt once inserted, leaving you with little or no discomfort when holding it in.
- After inserting the suppository, avoid having bowel movement for one to three hours.
What can I expect from Preparation H products?
Preparation H is all about getting your butt feeling comfortable again. Our products are formulated to protect, soothe, relieve pain and irritation, mild or severe, day or night.
I’m having trouble opening Preparation H Rapid Relief Totables Wipes — what should I do?
Ensure that the wrapping is folded at the dotted line. Then, tear at the provided notch.
What is the new Rapid Relief with Lidocaine Spray?
Our new Rapid Relief with Lidocaine Spray contains a dynamic duo of phenylephrine to reduce swelling and lidocaine to numb the pain, all in one convenient spray. Easily get to the bottom of your hemorrhoid symptoms without the mess. Just spray and get on with your day.
What products are in the Rapid Relief line?
Everyone’s butt is different, which is why our powerful Rapid Relief formula can be applied in several ways. Reduce swelling and numb any irritation with our Rapid Relief with Lidocaine Spray, Rapid Relief With Lidocaine Cream, or our Rapid Relief Totables Wipes.
Soothing Relief Spray vs. Rapid Relief with Lidocaine Spray
If you’re looking for a gentle approach, try the Soothing Relief Cooling Spray that’s made with witch hazel to calm burning and soothe any itching.
In need of something stronger and faster? Rapid Relief with Lidocaine Spray has a powerful combination of phenylephrine and the maximum strength of lidocaine to reduce swelling and numb pain.
How to use Rapid Relief with Lidocaine Spray?
Ensure the nozzle is open. Then, simply spray on the irritated area up to 4 times daily or after each bowel movement from any angle.
Lidocaine is a powerful numbing agent that provides rapid relief to painful, itching, and burning hemorrhoid symptoms. Every one of our Rapid Relief products contains the maximum strength of lidocaine to knock the bottom out of its misery.
Do I need to hold Rapid Relief with Lidocaine Spray in a certain way?
Rapid Relief with Lidocaine Spray, as well as the Soothing Relief Cooling Spray, can be applied from any angle. Just spray and go on with your day. No ifs, ands, or buts.
Is there an option that doesn’t require you to touch your butt?
We get it: you want to treat your butt, not touch it. Our new Rapid Relief with Lidocaine Spray and Soothing Relief Cooling Spray allows you to relieve your hemorrhoid symptoms from a distance.
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.
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.
Which products should I use for internal hemorrhoids?
Suppositories reduce internal swelling and are ideal for nighttime relief. Ointment comes with an applicator for internal use. For a personalized product recommendation, see the Personal Relief Finder.
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 Multi-Symptom Pain Relief Cream
- PREPARATION H Anti-Itch Cream Hydrocortisone 1%
- PREPARATION H Cooling Gel
- NEW! PREPARATION H Rapid Relief Totables Wipes
- PREPARATION H Medicated Wipes
- PREPARATION H Medicated Wipes for Women
- PREPARATION H Totables Irritation Relief Wipes
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Multi-Symptom Pain Relief Cream.
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.
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.
How does lidocaine relieve hemorrhoid symptoms?
Lidocaine is a powerful numbing agent, which rapidly relieves painful, itching, and burning hemorrhoid symptoms. Rapid Relief with Lidocaine Cream contains 5% lidocaine, the highest strength available, plus, glycerin to provide a soothing, protective layer.
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. In order to open the current cap, push down on the cap and rotate slightly counter clockwise until the cap lifts off the tube.
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.
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.
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.
How do I clean the applicator (pile pipe)?
Wash the applicator with warm water and gentle soap, then thoroughly rinse with water.
Which PREPARATION H formulas are in the stand-up boxes? Are they different in any way?
The convenient stand-up box is available in Ointment, Multi-Symptom 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.
What happened to the Anti-Itch Cream in the red box?
We’ve relaunched our red box Anti-Itch Cream as a part of the Preparation H Soothing Relief line. Experience the same maximum-strength itch relief with Preparation H Soothing Relief Anti-Itch Cream.
Can I use Preparation H Soothing Relief Cleansing & Cooling Wipes every day?
Yes! These wipes are gentle enough for everyday use. Plus, they contain witch hazel to calm burning and soothe itching.
Can I apply Preparation H Soothing Relief Anti-Itch Cream as needed/How do I Use it?
We recommend using Soothing Relief Anti-Itch Cream no more than 3 to 4 times per day. When you’re ready, just clean, dry, then apply.
Can I flush Preparation H Soothing Relief Cleansing & Cooling Wipes?
Yes. Our wipes are biodegradable, flushable, and 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.
What are new Preparation H Soothing Relief Cleansing & Cooling Wipes?
Preparation H Soothing Relief Cleansing & Cooling Wipes are gentle, daily use wipes that keep your butt feeling clean, cool, and irritation-free. They’re also soap-free and fragrance-free.
What is new Preparation H Soothing Relief Anti-Itch Cream?
Preparation H Soothing Relief Anti-Itch Cream is a soothing, smooth cream with Hydrocortisone 1% for maximum-strength butt itch relief.
Which Preparation H Wipes are best to use for everyday cleaning?
Both Preparation H Soothing Relief Cleansing & Cooling Wipes and Preparation H Medicated Wipes are great for everyday use. Soothing Relief Wipes are an even more gentle option.
What does the Hydrocortisone 1% do in Preparation H Soothing Relief Anti-Itch Cream?
Hydrocortisone is used to relieve itching. Preparation H Soothing Relief Anti-Itch Cream contains maximum-strength relief* without a prescription.
What is new Preparation H Soothing Relief Cooling Spray?
Preparation H Soothing Relief Cooling Spray is an innovative new way to treat butt discomfort, offering targeted relief from burning and itching associated with hemorrhoids. Simply spray on the irritated area for quick, no-touch relief.
Do I need to hold Preparation H Soothing Relief Cooling Spray a certain way?
No. The spray bottle is designed to work at any angle for soothing and refreshing on contact.
Is there a Preparation H option that doesn’t require you to touch your butt?
Yes! New Preparation H Soothing Relief Cooling Spray offers targeted relief of burning and itching. Simply spray on the irritated area for cooling, soothing relief.
Are there Preparation H products that are not creams or gels?
Yes, Preparation H is available in a variety of different forms including Wipes and Spray. To find the product right for you, check out our Relief Finder.
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).
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.
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.
Can I use an HSA or FSA to buy PREPARATION H products?
You can use your HSA and FSA tax-preferred savings account to purchase certain OTC products including PREPARATION H. The passage of the CARES Act by Congress includes provisions to restore OTC eligibility under tax-preferred HSA and FSA accounts. Your plan details may vary, so save your receipt and check with your benefits or health provider for eligibility.
Where can I find PREPARATION H in store?
PREPARATION H products can be found near the pharmacy or digestive health aisle at most retail, grocery, mass and drugstore outlets. Please ask the store manager if you cannot locate the product in store.