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Treating a Hemorrhoid Flare Up

Person putting ice into ice bag

About 75% of all Americans will have hemorrhoids at some point in their lives. Fortunately, most flare-ups are not severe and can be improved with Preparation H and simple, at-home treatments.


  1. Use topical treatments

    Over-the-counter hemorrhoid products can provide relief for hemorrhoid symptoms, like pain, burning and itching. Among over-the-counter hemorrhoid brands, Preparation H is the brand doctors recommend most by name. To find the right product for you, use the Personal Relief Finder.

  2. Soak in hot water

    To soothe symptoms and reduce the risk of flare-ups, soak the anal area. One way to do this is to take a “sitz bath” of plain, warm water for 10 minutes, two to three times a day. This can relieve itching, irritation and spasms in the sphincter muscle. Sitz baths (sold in pharmacies) are small, plastic tubs that fit over a toilet seat. You can also sit in a regular bathtub with a few inches of warm water or use the shower “wand” attachment. Soap may aggravate your flare-up. Afterward, gently pat the area dry.

  3. Avoid dry toilet paper if it is irritating

    If dry toilet paper is irritating, gently clean the area with Preparation H Medicated Wipes up to 6 times a day or after each bowel movement. They cool, soothe and comfort.

  4. Apply cold or moist compress

    To reduce swelling, apply cold compresses or ice packs wrapped in a towel directly to the external area for up to 10 minutes. (Do not put ice into the rectum or leave ice on longer as it can freeze the skin.) Preparation H Medicated Wipes can be used as a moist compress. First cleanse the area. Fold new wipe to desired size and place in contact with anal area for a soothing and cooling effect. Leave in place for up to 15 minutes and repeat as needed.

  5. Take OTC oral pain relievers

    Oral pain relievers can temporarily reduce the pain associated with hemorrhoids.

For tips on treating hemorrhoids while at work or traveling, see Treating Flare-Ups Away From Home.