Prevalence of hemorrhoids in the US is reportedly 4.4% pf the population, with an estimated 10 million individuals reporting the condition annually. The condition refers to swollen veins in the anus or rectum, that cause symptoms such as itching, pain, and bleeding. Various treatment options are presently available for the condition, and Hydrocortisone cream is one among the popularly used topical application. A large number of patients are apprehensive about application and pose the question – can you put hydrocortisone cream on hemorrhoids? Following subsections offer a detailed look at the condition and the topical cream as an answer to the question.

Overview of hemorrhoids

Also known as piles, hemorrhoids, as outlined above are swollen veins in the anus and rectum. The condition is relatively common among men and women, and are of two types: internal and external. Internal hemorrhoids are located inside the rectum and are not visible from the outside. They can cause symptoms such as itching, pain, and bleeding, but they are usually not as painful as external hemorrhoids. External hemorrhoids, on the other hand, are located outside the anus and are visible. They can be painful and can cause itching, bleeding and discomfort.

Hemorrhoids are attributed to a variety of factors, including constipation, diarrhea, straining during bowel movements, and pregnancy. They can also be caused by long periods of sitting or standing, obesity, and a low-fiber diet. Treatment options for hemorrhoids include lifestyle changes such as increasing fiber in the diet, increasing hydration, and avoiding prolonged sitting or standing. Over-the-counter creams, ointments, and suppositories can also provide temporary relief from symptoms. For severe cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the hemorrhoids.

Overview of hydrocortisone cream

The topical application can help to reduce the inflammation and itching associated with hemorrhoids, but this does not shrink the hemorrhoids and is not a cure. The cream contains a mild steroid, and is typically intended to be used for a short duration. Prolonged use of hydrocortisone cream can lead to skin thinning, skin atrophy and other skin problems.

Mechanism of action

The mechanism of action of hydrocortisone cream is based on its ability to mimic the effects of the hormone cortisol. When applied topically, hydrocortisone cream binds to specific receptors in the skin cells called glucocorticoid receptors. Following this, the hydrocortisone activates the receptors, which leads to a cascade of anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative effects within the cell. These effects include the inhibition of the production of inflammatory mediators, such as prostaglandins and leukotrienes, and the inhibition of the migration of inflammatory cells to the site of inflammation. Hydrocortisone also reduces the activity of certain enzymes that contribute to inflammation, such as phospholipase A2 and cyclooxygenase. This leads to a reduction in inflammation, redness, and swelling of the affected area.

In addition to its anti-inflammatory effects, hydrocortisone also has the ability to suppress the immune response by inhibiting the activity of T-lymphocytes and other white blood cells. This can help to reduce itching, which is a common symptom of many skin conditions.

Possible side effects

All medications can trigger undesirable outcomes, and the nature of effects depend on various factors. For some, the effects may be mild, while it may be severe for others. It is also necessary to bear in mind that all users of medications are unlikely to experience effects, with a significant percentage of users free from all undesirable outcomes. With the background information, it is time to offer additional information to answer the question – can you put hydrocortisone cream on hemorrhoids? The mild steroid in the cream is generally considered safe when used as directed; however, there are possible side effects associated with the use of hydrocortisone cream.

Some of the common side effects include:

While mild effects are known to resolve without the need for any medication, it is necessary to seek medical intervention in the event of any persistent or adverse side effects.

Drug interactions

All medications come with the possibility of drug interactions, and hydrocortisone cream is no exception.

When used with other topical medications, hydrocortisone cream may increase the absorption of other medications through the skin. This can lead to an increased risk of side effects or an overdose of the other medication. It is important to avoid using other topical medications on the same area of skin as hydrocortisone cream, unless advised by a healthcare professional.

Hydrocortisone cream may also interact with certain oral medications, such as blood thinners, diabetes medications, and immunosuppressants. These interactions can increase the risk of bleeding, changes in blood sugar levels, or a weakened immune system. The cream can also possibly weaken the effectiveness of certain vaccines such as live attenuated vaccines. It is essential to inform healthcare professionals about all medications, vitamins and supplements in use before using hydrocortisone cream.

Ideal dosage

A significant percentage of users report undesirable outcomes as a result of incorrect dosage and schedule. It is necessary to follow recommendations diligently to avoid side effects. The ideal dosage of hydrocortisone cream for hemorrhoids will vary depending on the individual and the severity of the symptoms.

Typically, hydrocortisone cream can be applied to the affected area 2-4 times per day. The usual strength is 1% hydrocortisone cream and it should be used for the shortest duration possible, usually not longer than a week or two. Hydrocortisone cream can only offer temporary relief of symptoms and is not claimed to be a cure for hemorrhoids. A combination of treatment such as hydrocortisone cream, increased fiber in the diet, and increased hydration is usually recommended.

Advanced treatment options for hemorrhoids 

The following advanced treatments are presently available for curing hemorrhoids. Some of the options are chosen only when the condition does not respond to other treatment options.

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