Preparation H hemorrhoid cream is one of the most popular and well known over the counter treatments for hemorrhoids in the world. Almost everyone with access to a television has seen their ads for quick hemorrhoid symptom relief, and Preparation H is a common sight on drugstore and pharmacy shelves alike. However, many people don't know exactly how extensive the Preparation H line really is, nor what range of symptoms it can treat.
Many Preparation H products use several vasoconstrictors, astringents and so on, so all of the safety and storage information is presented here for all of the products. Fortunately, safety and storage don't vary much across the spectrum of Preparation H hemorrhoid treatments.
First off, ask your doctor before using any Preparation H hemorrhoids treatment if you have heart disease, high blood pressure, thryoid disease, or diabetes. Men should ask the doctor before starting Preparation H treatment if you have difficulty urinating because of prostate gland enlargement. Women should ask first if pregnant or breastfeeding. Children under 12 years of age should only use Preparation H with a doctor recommendation.
Second, ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any Preparation H hemorrhoids treatment if you are currently taking any prescription medications for high blood pressure or depression. Pharmacists are often a bit more up to date on potential drug interactions and asking them is free at your local drugstore.
Next, you should stop use and ask your doctor if bleeding happens, the hemorrhoids do not improve or even get worse within seven days.
All Preparation H products should be stored between 20 to 25 degrees C (68 to 77 degrees F). They should also be stored out of the reach of anyone who might try to eat them. If any Preparation H treatment is eaten, call Poison Control as soon as possible. Medications are powerful things capable of changing bodily function, and these aren't meant for oral consumption.
The standard Preparation H is usually the first Preparation H that anyone thinks of, and probably the bestseller of the line. By understanding the active and inactive ingredients in the standard Preparation H hemorrhoids cream, you can be sure that you're getting the best Preparation H for you.
The active protectant and moisturizing ingredients in the standard Preparation H ointment are light mineral oil, petrolatum, and shark liver oil. These provide a barrier coating against irritants and helps soothe the inflammation so often associated with hemorrhoids. The other active ingredient is phenylephrine, which is a vasoconstrictor. Basically, phenylephrine makes the blood vessels shrink. Considering that hemorrhoids are overgrown, weakened blood vessels, making them shrink can really help make an inflamed hemorrhoid feel better.
The inactive ingredients in standard Preparation H are in many ways just as soothing as the active ingredients. They include benzoic acid, methylparaben, propylparaben and butylated hydroxyanisole, which are antioxidants and preservatives for the ointment. Corn oil, glycerin, lanolin, lanolin alcohols, mineral oil, paraffin, tocopherols excipient (Vitamin E derivates) and white wax all help moisturize and protect the hemorrhoids in addition to providing body and stability to the ointment. Thymus vulgaris (thyme) flower/leaf oil is an antimicrobial ingredient that protects from bacteria and fungi, also helping to preserve the ointment while giving it a nice scent.
The standard Preparation H can be used on external hemorrhoids and squeezed up into the anorectal canal with the attached applicator tip to help with internal hemorrhoids. However, remember that not all Preparation H products can be used in a similar manner. Carefully read the section on the specific product you want to use that way before you try it.
The Cooling Gel Preparation H helps get relief for seriously inflamed and out of control external hemorrhoids fast. The active ingredients include phenylephrine, the same blood vessel constrictor that's found in standard Preparation H, and witch hazel extract, which also helps cool inflamed tissues and shrink blood vessels. In combination, these two active ingredients soothe itching and burning and temporarily shrink inflamed hemorrhoidal tissue.
Considering that the Cooling Gel Preparation H is, in fact, a gel, it shouldn't come as a surprise that the inactive ingredients list doesn't have very many traditional oil-based moisturizers in it. However, it does have aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice in combination with purified water, Vitamin E acetate, and propylene glycol, a common moisturizer to help protect and soothe hemorrhoids. The rest of the inactive ingredients are either gel-builders, such as hydroxyethyl cellulose, and polysorbate 80, or preservatives such as edetate sodium, sulisobenzone, methylparaben, propylparaben, and sodium citrate. Whenever trying to create an oil-free gel, then preserving the active ingredients becomes more important because a water-based gel increases active ingredient exposure to oxygen.
One important note about the Cooling Gel Preparation H for hemorrhoids treatment is that you cannot put it in the anorectal canal. Cooling Gel Preparation H is only usable on external hemorrhoids.
Maximum Strength Pain Relief Preparation H is a wonderful choice for particularly painful external hemorrhoids. External hemorrhoids often tend to be much more painful than internal hemorrhoids because of their location on a very dense band of nerve endings located just outside of the anal sphincter. Again, due to some of the ingredients in Maximum Strength Pain Relief Preparation H, you should only use it on external hemorrhoids instead of trying to insert it in the anorectal canal.
The active ingredients in Maximum Strength Pain Relief Preparation H hemorrhoids treatment are pretty impressive, including pramoxine, a local anesthetic and anti-itching medication that numbs the hemorrhoid on contact. Phenylephrine is once again included to constrict blood vessels, along with glycerin and white petrolatum for protective and moisturizing properties.
The inactive ingredients in Maximum Strength Pain Relief Preparation H once again include aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf extract, mineral oil, purified water, propylene glycol, tocopherols excipient, and Vitamin E acetate to help with moisturizing and barrier creation. Of course, that's in addition to anhydrous citric acid, butylated hydroxyanisole, carboxymethylcellulose sodium, cetyl alcohol, citric acid monohydrate, dexpanthenol, edetate disodium, glyceryl monostearate, methylparaben, polyoxyl lauryl ether, polyoxyl stearyl ether, propyl gallate, sodium benzoate, stearyl alcohol and xanthan gum as preservatives and paste builders. While you may not have been interested in the chemical names of all of the inactive ingredients, they are included here for anyone who may be allergic or sensitive to any given substance.
Anti Itch Cream Hydrocortisone 1% Preparation H is an ointment that only contains one active ingredient, namely hydrocortisone. This corticosteroid is actually produced by the human body, though of course a synthetic version is used in the Anti Itch Preparation H hemorrhoids treatment. Hydrocortisone works by suppressing the immune system components that cause inflammation, which naturally reduces inflammation and the itching that goes along with it.
Unfortunately, hydrocortisone can also deplete the collagen in skin and cause thinning of the tissues overall, which leads to increased hemorrhoid risks over the long term. Therefore, you should be very careful to only use Anti Itch Preparation H for short periods of time when the itching is at its worst. In addition, Anti Itch Preparation H for hemorrhoids is only for external use. If you put it into the anorectal canal, your intestinal tissue would absorb far too much hydrocortisone and lead to very bad side effects.
The inactive ingredients for Anti Itch Preparation H for hemorrhoids treatment are very similar to Maximum Strength Pain Relief Preparation H for hemorrhoids treatment. The preservatives used in Anti Itch Preparation H for hemorrhoids treatment are anhydrous citric acid, butylated hydroxyanisole, carboxymethylcellulose sodium, cetyl alcohol, citric acid monohydrate, edetate disodium, methylparaben, propyl gallate, propylparaben, simethicone emulsion, sodium benzoate, sodium lauryl sulfate, stearyl alcohol and xanthan gum as preservatives and stabilizers. Glycerin, glyceryl oleate, glyceryl stearate, lanolin, propylene glycol, purified water, and white petrolatum all help moisturize and protect the hemorrhoidal tissue.
Preparation H suppositories are specifically meant for insertion into the rectal canal and consequent symptom relief for internal hemorrhoids. They are mostly made of cocoa butter, a protectant that will melt at body temperature, in combination with phenylephrine to constrict blood vessels and shark liver oil to protect and help heal internal hemorrhoids. Preparation H suppositories help relieve itching and burning while protecting and shrinking hemorrhoidal tissue and lubricating the area to help make bowel movements less painful.
The inactive ingredients include corn starch, which helps to thicken the suppository while helping create a protective coating over the hemorrhoids, along with methylparaben and propylparaben, both preservatives that help keep the active ingredients good and working for a long period of time.
Preparation H wipes are one of the simplest products in the Preparation H line, only using witch hazel extract as the active ingredient. Of course, witch hazel is an astringent that helps relieve itching, burning and discomfort while causing the local blood vessels to shrink. It's one of the oldest hemorrhoid remedies in the book, so don't overlook Preparation H wipes just because they seem simple. They can be very useful for general relief and for wiping up after a bowel movement instead of dry toilet paper.
The inactive ingredients used for Preparation H wipes add to the general usefulness, with aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice, glycerin, propylene glycol, and purified water helping nourish and moisturize the hemorrhoidal area. Anhydrous citric acid, capryl/capramidopropyl betain, diazolidinyl urea, methylparaben, propylparaben, and sodium citrate all help with preservation and stabilization of the wipe solution.
There are two important things to keep in mind when it comes to Preparation H treatment wipes. The first is that you should never try to apply the wipes nor the wipe solution to internal tissue, which includes internal hemorrhoids that are poking out. These wipes are for external use only. The other important thing to keep in mind is to not squeeze wipe solution out of a wipe back into the container. Your hands might be contaminated, and if you squeeze the wipe solution back into the container, you may have just contaminated the whole container. If a Preparation H wipe is too wet for your preference, squeeze it into the toilet bowl or into the sink before using.
As you can see, the Preparation H line is quite comprehensive, with products for just about every sort of hemorrhoid symptom relief you might require. However, hemorrhoid symptom relief is all these products are meant for. Preparation H products should never be used as a substitute for a proper hemorrhoids cure plan, including a proper hemorrhoids diet, exercise plan, and controls for hemorrhoid causes. In addition, further hemorrhoid remedies might be necessary to cure an active case of hemorrhoids. When Preparation H products are used properly for hemorrhoid symptom relief in conjunction with other hemorrhoid remedies capable of curing hemorrhoids, then they are most effective.
Physician's Desk Reference, PDR Network LLC, November 2009
Research and main write by Loni L. Ice, editing and additional writing by D. S. Urquhart.