Witch hazel (Preparation H clear gel)

How does it work?

Preparation H clear gel contains hamamelis water, more commonly known as witch hazel. Hamamelis acts as an astringent. Astringents are commonly used in haemorrhoid preparations as they cause the cells they are in contact with to shrink and dry out. This causes shrinkage of the haemorrhoid, thereby relieving the associated pain and discomfort.

Haemorrhoids occur when veins in the wall of the rectum become swollen and irritated. They may cause itching, irritation and pain on passing stools. This preparation is used to relieve these swollen tissues and to act as a lubricant to ease painful bowel movements when the skin is dry and sore.

What is it used for?

  • Piles (haemorrhoids).
  • Treatment for dry and irritated skin around the anal area.

How do I use it?

  • Wash your hands thoroughly before and after applying this medicine.
  • Preparation H clear gel should be used after the bowels have been emptied. The area around the anus should be thoroughly washed and dried before applying the ointment.
  • This ointment can be used externally around the anal area or applied into the anus (back passage). For application into the back passage, a nozzle provided with the gel should be screwed on to the tube. The nozzle should then be gently inserted into the rectum and a small amount of ointment squeezed out. The nozzle should be withdrawn slowly. The nozzle should be thoroughly cleaned after each use.
  • Preparation H clear gel can be applied when required after each bowel movement.


  • If symptoms persist despite treatment, seek medical advice from your doctor or pharmacist.
  • This medicine is not to be taken by mouth.

Not to be used in

  • Known sensitivity or allergy to any ingredient.

This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy.

If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Certain medicines should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, other medicines may be safely used in pregnancy or breastfeeding providing the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, before using any medicine.

  • This preparation is safe to use during pregnancy and by breastfeeding mothers.

Side effects

  • None known.

How can this medicine affect other medicines?

This medicine is not known to affect any other medicines. However, as with all medicines, if you are already taking any other medicines you should always check with your pharmacist before taking this one as well.

Other medicines containing the same active ingredient

There are currently no other haemorrhoid preparations available in the UK that contain witch hazel as the active ingredient.