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What is the best prescription medicine for haemorrhoids?

Andrew Bellingham

Andrew Bellingham

Pharmacist | 20+ Years | BPharm | Dip Clin Pharm

Haemorrhoids (piles) are a common condition, where veins become swollen and inflamed. They can be uncomfortable, itchy, and even painful. 

Around half of adults over 50 have experienced them at some point. But they can affect people of any age, especially if you’re pregnant, overweight, or have a lifestyle that involves a lot of sitting.

With so many treatment options out there, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. So in this article, we’ll give you a breakdown of the different treatments available so you can make informed decisions about your treatment for better comfort and relief.

What is the best medicine for haemorrhoids?

From topical treatments to rectal corticosteroids, bulk laxatives, and painkillers, there are several approaches to consider. 

Each type of medication targets different aspects of haemorrhoid symptoms, offering relief in various ways. 

Topical treatments

Topical treatments are creams, ointments, or gels that you apply directly to the affected area. These usually contain hydrocortisone, which is a type of steroid (known as corticosteroid). 

Though they don’t help to cure piles, they can help to reduce itching, swelling, and discomfort. 

These treatments are widely available as an over-the-counter medication, but for larger amounts, you may need to get a prescription. 

When using a topical treatment, you should carefully follow the instructions on the packaging, or follow the advice given to you by your GP or pharmacist. 

Rectal corticosteroids

Rectal corticosteroids are also used to reduce inflammation and swelling caused by haemorrhoids, and usually come as suppositories.

These medications are typically prescribed for short-term use to ease acute symptoms and promote healing. However, they should only be used as directed by your GP or pharmacist to avoid potential side effects like skin thinning or increased risk of infection that can occur if taken for longer than advised. 

Bulk laxatives

Bulk laxatives help keep your bowel movements regular by adding bulk and moisture to your poo. They’re gentle and work gradually, making them perfect for easing constipation without causing discomfort.

Using these laxatives can also help you avoid straining when having a poo, meaning that you’re less likely to worsen your symptoms.

Remember to drink plenty of water when using them and be patient, as it may take some time to see results. While they may not offer immediate relief from itching or pain, they can help improve your overall bowel health and reduce irritation over time.


Taking a painkiller like paracetamol can help to reduce the pain and discomfort caused by your piles. 

However, it’s important to note that you should not take ibuprofen if your piles are bleeding. This is because non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen and aspirin, can actually make rectal bleeding worse.

You can also try topical creams containing lidocaine or benzocaine for direct relief.

Remember to follow the instructions carefully and consult your pharmacist or GP if you have any concerns. 

Frequently asked questions about haemorrhoids medicine

What are the best painkillers for haemorrhoids?

The best painkillers for haemorrhoids include paracetamol and topical creams with lidocaine or benzocaine. Always follow usage instructions.

How do I use topical treatments for haemorrhoids?

Apply a small amount of topical treatment directly to the affected area according to the instructions provided. Avoid excessive use and consult your GP or pharmacist if you have any concerns.

Are bulk laxatives effective for haemorrhoid relief?

Bulk laxatives can help ease haemorrhoid symptoms by promoting regular bowel movements, reducing strain, and preventing constipation.

A man holds his bum through his jeans in pain due to haemorrhoids, the affected area is highlighted red

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