Vicks Vapor Rub for hemorrhoids? Could it really work? The menthol based rub is most known for its uses as a cough suppressant. But, it has been reported to be effective in the temporary relief of hemorrhoid symptoms. Since many people already keep Vicks Vapor Rub in the medicine cabinet, the at-home treatment may be just what you need to reduce bothersome symptoms when they strike.
Treatment Options Available for Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids are a pretty common condition. They fall into two categories: internal and external hemorrhoids. Internal hemorrhoids are often not associated with symptoms. They usually resolve on their own and cause little to no pain unless they become prolapsed or thrombosed. External hemorrhoids are the hemorrhoids that are most commonly associated with pain, bleeding, itchiness, burning, and discomfort.
The most common causes of hemorrhoids are:
- Poor diet
- Poor hygiene
- Poor bowel habits
- Chronic constipation
- Chronic diarrhea
- Prolonged periods of sitting or standing
While most hemorrhoids can be treated at home, some cases require additional medical treatment if they become severe or symptoms are too much to handle. The best way to treat hemorrhoids is to prevent them from occurring. Simple lifestyle changes can help speed the healing process and prevent future recurrence of hemorrhoids. Lifestyle changes include:
- Eating a better diet. Most hemorrhoids are caused from chronic constipation. This can be due to the fact that you don’t take in enough fiber. Increase your daily fiber intake and be sure to include lots of fruits and vegetables.
- Increase your daily water intake. Improper hydration can also cause constipation. Be sure you drink enough water each day. If you suffer from hemorrhoids or constipation, try to increase your daily water intake.
- Practice better hygiene and bowel habits. Many patients report that they suffer from hemorrhoids because of constant straining during bowel movements. Don’t wait to go. When you feel the urge, get to the bathroom at your earliest convenience. You should also be sure you practice proper hygiene, including wiping good after bowel movements and showering regularly.
- Exercise regularly. Daily exercise can help patients get rid of hemorrhoids and keep them away. In addition to improving your overall health, regular exercise can help you move around more often. It will give you energy and keep your body in better condition.
If lifestyle changes do not help, you may want to look to other medical treatments for hemorrhoids.
Medical Treatments for Hemorrhoids
When at-home natural remedies and lifestyle changes don’t work, it may be necessary to use medicine to treat your hemorrhoids. Over-the-counter medications are available in most drug and grocery stores. They include creams, ointments, suppositories, and wipes that help ease the symptoms and heal hemorrhoids. You can also use stool softeners, anti-inflammatories, and pain relievers for additional support.
If over-the-counter medications don’t work, it may be time to consult your physician. They can prescribe a stronger medication that can further help the problem. Additionally, there are several non-invasive procedures that doctors perform on a regular basis. Rubber band ligation and sclerotherapy are the most common options. They are performed right in the doctor’s office and don’t require anesthesia.
During rubber band ligation, your doctor will apply a small, tight band around the base of your hemorrhoid. The band cuts off the blood supply to the hemorrhoid and causes it to die off. Sclerotherapy is similar in that it is performed in a doctor’s office and the doctor injects the hemorrhoid with a chemical that causes it to shrink and heal.
When non-invasive procedures don’t work, surgery may be necessary. The two type of surgical procedures used to treat hemorrhoids are stapling and hemorrhoidectomy. During a hemorrhoidectomy, a patient will be put under anesthesia and a small incision is placed in the hemorrhoid to remove the vein. The skin is stitched back up and the patient is sent home to heal. Stapling is most commonly used for prolapsed internal hemorrhoids. Using a medical-grade stapler, surgeons secure the hemorrhoidal tissue in place on the rectal wall. The hemorrhoid loses its blood supply and the tissue shrinks back to normal.
How Can Vicks Vapor Rub Help with Hemorrhoids?
Vicks can be an effective treatment to reduce the pain and itch caused by hemorrhoids. By applying a generous dab of Vicks directly to the problem area, it can reduce swelling and symptoms of pain and itch for several hours patients have reported. Like most at-home treatments, this is just a temporary solution. But, it can provide enough relief to get you through your day.
It is important to note that some patients have reported a momentary stinging sensation when Vicks Vapor Rub is first applied. This is often followed cooling relief that makes the stinging tolerable. If stinging persists, be sure to stop use immediately and contact a medical provider for instructions on how to relieve the burn. It is very important not to apply Vicks to broken skin. This can cause extended irritation and severe burn that will not go away immediately.