How do hemerrhoid ointments work

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I've had hemorrhoids for around 5 years which and a couple of weeks ago they got bad enough that there was blood on the toilet paper every time I wiped so I went to the doctor thinking I would have to organise a hospital visit to get the hemorrhoid surgically removed but he just prescribed me an ointment. The active compounds in the ointment are prednisone, a steroid antiinflammatory and cinchocaine, a local anasthetic. I didn't think it was gonna work, I thought those compounds would just remedy the symptoms temporarily but it seems to have more of less healed the problem. No more blood on the toilet paper, when I insert my finger in there to apply the ointment, I can't even feel the hemorrhoids any more.

How does it work? Is the idea to reduce the swelling with the prednisone so that the body can heal the problem? Whats the cinchocaine for? Is it just to temporariily remedy the pain?
 

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Simon Bridge
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You are basically correct - the cremes treat the symptoms and the body takes care of the rest. Persistence can be due to a feedback effect - where the pain causes swelling which causes more pain which... etc. So, reducing the swelling and pain will break the cycle.

Since the body can usually deal with hemorrhoids by itself, but the condition is annoying and treatment slow, there are a lot of naturopathic and herbal "remedies" on the market which do pretty much the same or (more usually) less.

An accessible overview is:
http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsweek/Hemorrhoids_and_what_to_do_about_them.htm

They have to get pretty bad for surgery to be needed.
 

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