Common symptoms of haemorrhoids are pain, and bleeding after going to the toilet.

Preparations containing corticosteroids reduce inflammation, which helps to ease discomfort.

Do not use the preparation for longer than seven days at a time.

It may cause stinging when it is first applied. This will soon pass.

About preparations for haemorrhoids containing a corticosteroid

Used for Haemorrhoids (piles)
Also called Anugesic-HC®; Anusol-HC®; Anusol Plus HC®; Perinal®; Proctofoam HC®; Proctosedyl®; Scheriproct®; Ultraproct®; Uniroid-HC®; Xyloproct®
Available as Cream, ointment, suppositories, spray, and foam

Haemorrhoids (piles) are swellings that can occur in the anus and lower rectum (back passage). Small blood vessels in these areas sometimes become wider and fill with more blood than usual. These blood vessels, and the tissues around them, then form into small swellings, called haemorrhoids. The most common symptom is bleeding after going to the toilet. Larger haemorrhoids may cause pain, irritation, and itch.

Your doctor may recommend a preparation containing a corticosteroid (more commonly referred to as a 'steroid') if there is a lot of swelling. Corticosteroids are similar to certain chemicals which are produced naturally by your body. Typical ones used for haemorrhoids are hydrocortisone, prednisolone, and fluocortolone. They reduce inflammation, which helps to ease itching and pain. Some preparations also contain a local anaesthetic and/or other soothing agents.

You can buy some of these preparations without a prescription at pharmacies. Others are only available on prescription. You should not normally use them for longer than one week at a time.

Before using the preparation

To make sure this is the right treatment for you, before you start using it, make sure your doctor or pharmacist knows:

  • If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • If you have an infection in the area to be treated.
  • If it is for a child.
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine, or to any creams or ointments.

How to use the preparation

  • Before you start the treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The leaflet will give you more information about the specific preparation you have been given, and a full list of any side-effects which you may experience from using it.
  • Your doctor or pharmacist will tell you how often to use the preparation, and these directions will also be printed on the packaging to remind you. As a guide, most preparations are recommended to be used twice daily (morning and evening) and after a bowel movement.
  • Some creams and ointments are intended to be used on the skin around the back passage only. Some others contain an applicator or nozzle, so that the preparation can be applied inside the back passage. If you have been instructed to use the preparation internally, use the applicator provided. Wash and rinse the applicator/nozzle after each use.

How to use suppositories:

  1. Remove the suppository from the wrapping.
  2. Stand with one leg raised on a chair (or lie down on your side if you prefer).
  3. Using your finger, gently push the suppository into your back passage as far as comfortable, pointed end first. You may find this easier to do if you moisten the suppository with a little water first.
  4. Remain still for a little while to help hold the suppository in place.
  5. Wash your hands afterwards.

How to use Perinal® Rectal Spray:

  1. Before you use the spray for the first time, remove the cap and press the pump down once or twice. This will 'prime' the pump to make it ready for use.
  2. Point the spray at the area around your bottom and press the pump down once.
  3. Replace the cap and wash your hands afterwards.

How to use Proctofoam HC® Rectal Foam:

  1. Shake the canister well before each use.
  2. Withdraw the plunger slowly until it stops at the catch line.
  3. Hold the applicator with the nozzle downwards, and then insert the top of the canister of foam into the nozzle.
  4. Press the canister top gently so that foam fills about a quarter of the applicator. Only a short press is needed to do this. Wait a few seconds for the foam to expand and then press the canister top again. Continue to fill the applicator a little at a time until the foam reaches the fill line.
  5. Stand with one leg raised on a chair (or lie down on your side if you prefer) and gently insert the applicator into your back passage. Push the plunger to empty the applicator.
  6. Wash the applicator after each use.

Getting the most from your treatment

  • This preparation should only be used for short periods of time. Do no use it for longer than seven days at a time unless you have been advised to do so by a doctor. This is because it will increase the risk of your experiencing side-effects from the corticosteroid.
  • Try to avoid becoming constipated, as this can lead to you straining at the toilet. You can do this by eating foods containing fibre (such as fruit, vegetables, cereals, and wholemeal bread) and drinking plenty of water each day.
  • Go to the toilet as soon as you feel the need. Some people suppress the feeling and plan to go to the toilet later. This may result in bigger and harder stools forming, which are then more difficult to pass.
  • If your symptoms do not improve, or if significant bleeding occurs, make an appointment to see your doctor.

Can these preparations cause problems?

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.

Possible side-effects What can I do if I experience this?
A feeling of burning, tingling or stinging This should soon pass
Changes in behaviour or mood If you become anxious, confused, or start having worrying thoughts, speak with your doctor as soon as possible

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this preparation, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

How to store these preparations

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.