Do Hemorrhoidal Suppositories Provide Relief?

Hemorrhoids can get in the way of life, causing pain, itching, swelling and discomfort. This condition is caused by constipation and excessive pressure on the rectum which irritates and enlarges blood vessels in and around the anus. It can be an incredibly intrusive condition to have to cope with but it’s also one for which there are many relief remedies available. Hemorrhoidal suppositories are one of these remedies that can calm swelling and pain or tackle the constipation that is causing the hemorrhoids in the first place.

In this guide, we’ll go over the effectiveness of hemorrhoidal suppositories as well as what they can treat and how to use them. We’ll talk about how quickly they work, hemorrhoidal suppositories side effects and drug interactions and how suppositories compare to other hemorrhoid treatments that are available. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll be able to decide whether or not hemorrhoidal suppositories are right for you. Let’s jump in and take a look at how suppositories for hemorrhoids work!

What Do Hemorrhoid Suppositories Do?

Hemorrhoidal suppositories are designed to provide temporary relief from the symptoms of hemorrhoids. They calm swelling, burning and itching, dull the pain and can make you more comfortable as you go about your day to day business. 

Suppositories for hemorrhoids are typically oblong shaped and inserted directly into the rectum. The medication itself is often coated with a lubricating substance such as cocoa butter. Once the suppository is inserted into the rectum, the medication begins to dissolve and disperse, reaching affected areas inside the anus. 

Hemorrhoidal Suppositories Uses

OTC hemorrhoid suppositories usually contain a medication called phenylephrine. The manufacturer’s recommended hemorrhoidal suppositories dosage of phenylephrine, usually up to four insertions a day, can reduce the swelling in affected blood vessels which, in turn, reduces discomfort, pain, itching and burning.  They may also contain ingredients such as coconut oil that can leave a protective barrier on the affected area, so the hemorrhoids are not exacerbated by bowel movements. . 

How to Use Hemorrhoidal Suppositories

Using suppositories can be uncomfortable but it’s relatively easy when you take your time and read all of the instructions that come with the medication. It’s also important to consult with your physician when you have questions about the use of suppositories and clarify any drug interactions. If you are struggling with the application of hemorrhoidal suppositories, you may wish to ask someone close to you to assist. 

To use a suppository for hemorrhoids, take these steps: 

First, you’ll want to evacuate your bowels. That way, you can give the suppository time to dissolve before you have a bowel movement and potentially lose the suppository, so it’s always a good first step to make sure you’re working with empty bowels. 

Next, wash your hands. It’s always best to ensure any bacteria on your hands is washed away prior to handling the suppository so germs are kept away from the affected area.  

Now, it’s time to remove your clothes. You’ll only need your pants and underwear removed far enough to be able to put one leg up.

If your suppository is wrapped, open it up. Often suppositories will come in individual wrappings which should be discarded. 

At this point, you can apply lubrication to the suppository. Some people prefer to apply a non-petroleum based lubricant to the suppository to make it easier to insert. Petroleum-based lubricants may prevent the suppository from melting, so it’s best to use a different kind of lubricant. 

Now it’s time to get into position. You’ll have to find a position with your leg lifted. You can do this with the use of a chair or toilet seat, or even by lying down on your side. One leg should be straight, while the other is pulled in toward your chest. 

Take a moment to take a deep breath and relax. Relaxed muscles are a lot easier to work with. 

Now, it’s time to insert the suppository. Using the narrower end first, push the suppository into your rectum and keep pushing until it’s fully inside. 

Once you’ve inserted the hemorrhoidal suppository, it’s important to rest for a few minutes. Take a seat or lie down for around fifteen minutes to ensure the suppository begins to melt. 

After your fifteen minutes is up, you’ll want to get dressed and wash your hands. You don’t want to transfer any bacteria picked up during this process to any other surfaces. 

Relief should come soon, but it’s important to try not to have a bowel movement for at least one hour.  Hemorrhoidal suppositories use should be limited to around one week to avoid rash and irritation that can come from prolonged use. 

How Long do Hemorrhoid Suppositories Take to Work?

How long do hemorrhoid suppositories take to work? Usually, the soothing action of hemorrhoidal suppositories will kick in within a few minutes of using the medication. As the suppository dissolves, it will continue to deliver pain-reducing and anti-inflammatory effects. Healing may begin within one week of continued use.

Side Effects of Hemorrhoid Suppositories

What are the possible hemorrhoidal suppositories side effects? Hemorrhoidal suppositories don’t often come with side effects when you use the medication as directed. You may feel some discomfort during the application process, depending on how inflamed and raw the affected tissue is. 

However, if you experience certain symptoms, you should stop using the medication right away and see your doctor as soon as possible. These symptoms include severe headache, irregular heartbeat, nervousness or shakiness, or trouble sleeping. You may also be alert for any signs of allergy to this medication though this type of allergy is incredibly rare. 

Precautions for Using Hemorrhoidal Suppositories

It’s always a good idea to consult with your doctor before starting any new medication. You can have your doctor or pharmacist check the ingredients of any suppositories you’re intending on using and make sure there is nothing that you are allergic to. They may also want to check for drug interactions. If you have diabetes, heart problems, high blood pressure or an enlarged prostate, it’s especially important to seek the advice of your physician before using hemorrhoidal suppositories. Pregnancy may also be a risk factor for some suppositories so ask your doctor which product is best for you. 

Prolonged use of hemorrhoid suppositories can cause irritation and rash. It’s best practice to use this form of medication for no longer than a week to avoid these problems.

Suppositories vs. Creams for Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids can be broken down into two types: internal and external. 

Internal hemorrhoids are enlarged blood vessels inside of the rectum, while external hemorrhoids form on the outside of the anus. Hemorrhoid suppositories are best used for internal hemorrhoids. If you’re struggling with external hemorrhoids, you may prefer the use of hemorrhoid creams and ointments. 

Topical treatments for hemorrhoids can be over-the-counter or prescription-strength and offer medicinal ingredients that relieve itching, swelling, burning and pain. 

A hemorrhoid suppository will offer longer-lasting relief than a topical cream, because the medication is absorbed slowly by the rectal tissue as it breaks down, but it takes longer to kick in. 

Relief provided by hemorrhoid creams and ointments is often instantaneous, while the relief suppositories provide gradually increases as the medication is absorbed.

At Doctor Butler’s we do not make a suppository because we’ve found that ease and relief of ointment is sufficient for most people.

Other At-Home Remedies

If you’re set on trying a hemorrhoid suppository however, you might prefer a DIY, home made method. While a homemade suppository will not have any of the active ingredients that medicine provides, these alternatives to over-the-counter medicated hemorrhoid suppositories can still give you relief from itching, burning, swelling and pain. 

Coconut Oil Suppositories

Coconut oil suppositories are easy to make and use. Simply cool coconut oil in the shape of a suppository so it can be handled without melting. Popping it in the freezer until it is solid is the best way to achieve this. Then insert it into the rectum just as you would a medicated suppository. The temperature of these homemade suppositories will instantly cool the affected area, providing a calming effect to any swelling, burning or itching. As the oil melts, it provides a protective barrier to the hemorrhoids so that any forthcoming bowel movements will have minimal irritating effects on the area. Coconut oil is also known to be a natural anti-inflammatory which can reduce the swelling, bringing longer-lasting relief from pain and discomfort. Be sure to wash your hands before making the suppository, before inserting it and after you’ve inserted it. 

Mineral Oil

Similarly to the coconut oil suppositories, you can make suppositories that include mineral oil. Mineral oil is one of the most common natural remedies for constipation and will have a mild laxative effect to relieve any constipation that is exacerbating your hemorrhoids. As constipation is often a cause of many cases of hemorrhoids in the first place, this remedy offers added relief. 

Mix a little bit of mineral oil into the coconut oil this time before you freeze it in the shape of a suppository. You may also use other solid oils such as cocoa butter. When the mixture is solid, insert the suppository into your rectum with clean hands and wash your hands afterwards. The coolness provides instant relief, while the mineral oil is absorbed into your body which can help make bowel movements easier.  

Pair this with a high fiber diet and your constipation is bound to ease. 

Final Thoughts on Finding Relief with Hemorrhoidal Suppositories

The best hemorrhoidal suppositories are going to be those that contain phenylephrine to reduce swelling, and a protectant like mineral oil or coconut oil to make bowel movements less painful.

Suppositories are a tried and true method of reducing internal hemorrhoid pain, but with our expertise at Doctor Butler’s, we’ve found that most patients prefer the convenience of an ointment and an applicator.

With ointment, you don’t need to wait to make sure the suppository stays in place after applying before going about your day or heading to bed. Ointment based over-the-counter hemorrhoid topical treatments offer instant relief from the discomfort of internal hemorrhoids, and external hemorrhoids as well.

And, one tube of ointment will last longer than the typical 12 pack of suppositories.

Whether you go with suppositories, ointments, non-medicated methods like sitz bath soaks, or applications of warm witch hazel (like we recommend in our treatment plan here), if your symptoms do not clear up in one to two weeks you should speak to a physician ASAP.

Take a look at Doctor Butler’s catalog of hemorrhoid ointment options, soothing wipes, witch hazel sprays, epsom salts and specially designed cushions for comfort. Don’t wait to find relief for your hemorrhoids. Try these remedies today.

About Robert Cutler, D.O.

Dr. Robert Cutler has performed duties as a specialist in the field of Proctology over 30 years as a practicing physician. Over this time, he has had great success integrating patient care from both an efficiency standpoint and as a practical approach to holistic and preventative medicine.

Dr. Cutler also performs FDA approved Clinical Trials and has had formal research training in Human Subject Assurance Training, OHRP/NIH and Good Clinical Practice for Investigators, Quintiles. Dr. Cutler continues to work on creating more affordable solutions to help people who are affected by ano-rectal problems as well as various chronic or acute skin issues.

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