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Stop the Itching: Steroid Treatments for Hemorrhoid Symptoms

written by: CatNorth • edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski • updated: 4/30/2011

Hemorrhoids cause itching, irritation and other symptoms. In some cases, over-the-counter creams and ointments relieve these symptoms. In other cases, hemorrhoid treatment with steroids becomes necessary. Learn about this type of treatment to understand its uses and side effects.

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    Hemorrhoids are inflamed veins in the lower rectum or anus and may result from bowel movement strain or another type of strain. Having hemorrhoids is common, especially after age 50. Symptoms can include discomfort and itching, but many remedies are readily available. Healthy lifestyle changes can thwart the development of new hemorrhoids. If you already have them, however, options such as hemorrhoid treatment with steroids may help to temporarily relieve the symptoms.

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    Medication

    Most topical medications used to calm the symptoms of hemorrhoids contain steroids. Typically, these are over-the-counter medications, so you don’t need a prescription to get them. They relieve the common pain and itching associated with this condition. Medications containing steroids can decrease inflammation and swelling around a hemorrhoid4. This may help to further ease itch and pain. Check with your health care provider, though, if you have more severe symptoms like bleeding. Ask your physician or pharmacist for advice about self-care and effective medications. They may recommend specific steroid creams, ointments, suppositories or pads depending on your condition and symptoms. Over-the-counter medications are for short-term use only.

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    Side Effects

    Avoid using over-the-counter products for hemorrhoid care for any longer than a week unless your physician instructs you to do otherwise. Many hemorrhoid treatment products, especially those that contain steroids, can cause side effects. Inflammation, skin rash and skin thinning are some common side effects.

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    Lifestyle Changes

    Although over-the-counter medications containing steroids for temporary relief of hemorrhoid symptoms are usually safe to use, it’s important to explore long-term remedies such as lifestyle changes. Regular exercise and healthy eating can help heal and prevent hemorrhoids. The Medscape3 website recommends eating a high-fiber diet to prevent hemorrhoids or relieve their symptoms. Fiber adds bulk to the stool, making it softer and easier to pass. This helps avoid strain during bowel movements, reducing the risk of developing hemorrhoids and other digestive problems.

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    Product Reviews

    You can get online reviews of steroid treatments for hemorrhoids. For example, Drugs.com5 provides a review page of medications used for hemorrhoids that may or may not include steroid ingredients. According to the website, a couple of well-reviewed hemorrhoid medications include Analpram-HC and Epifoam. Analpram-HC is a topical cream with combined corticosteroid and local anesthetic constituents. Epifoam is topical foam also with a combination of topical corticosteroid and local anesthetic. Although it scored lower than other medications for hemorrhoid relief, Preparation H Cream received good reviews. It falls into the group of non-steroid medications. Ultimately, though, follow your health care provider’s advice for hemorrhoid treatment with steroids.

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    References

    1. Mayo Clinic: Hemorrhoids http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hemorrhoids/DS00096
    2. Medscape: Hemorrhoids in Emergency Medicine Treatment and Management http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/775407-treatment
    3. Patient.co.uk: Hemorrhoids http://www.patient.co.uk/health/Haemorrhoids-%28Piles%29.htm
    4. Drugs.com: Drugs associated with Hemorrhoids http://www.drugs.com/condition/hemorrhoids.html