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Best haemorrhoid creams, treatments and remedies: over-the-counter products to soothe sore piles

Haemorrhoids aren’t the easiest subject to talk about, but there’s no need to suffer in silence. We’ve scoured the Mumsnet forums to bring you the very best haemorrhoid creams and remedies as tried and tested by Mumsnetters.

By Laura Cooke | Last updated May 25, 2023

Let’s talk about haemorrhoids (or piles, if you prefer). They have long been the punchline of many a bad joke, but as sufferers will tell you, haemorrhoids are no laughing matter. In fact, they are, quite literally, a pain in the bum. Piles are lumps containing enlarged blood vessels that appear in or around your bottom and can cause itching, pain and even bleeding when going to the toilet.

Commonly caused by constipation and straining when going to the loo, haemorrhoids can also be the bane of the lives of many pregnant women and new mums. Although the little blighters often go away on their own after a few days, you’ll want something to help see them on their way - not to mention ease the endless itching. According to the NHS, there are three ways to ease the pain of piles: treatment to ease constipation and soften your stool, soothing cold packs and, of course, haemorrhoid cream. Over-the-counter haemorrhoid creams and remedies, such as suppositories, are a great place to start if you want to be free of the so-called grapes of wrath - and most items are available from the same chemists and supermarkets as your prenatal vitamins.

So we’ve spent hours researching honest recommendations on the Mumsnet forums to discover which haemorrhoid creams and remedies our users really rate, and collated this list of the very best on the market. As home to the UK's largest online network of parents, the Mumsnet forums are a wealth of useful recommendations for items for every stage of parenting and pregnancy, from the best pregnancy books to read at the start of your journey to the rop-ranking TENS machines for labour and critically acclaimed parenting books for the years to come.

Here is the best haemorrhoid cream 2023.

The best haemorrhoid cream: at a glance

1. Best overall haemorrhoid cream: Anusol Cream for Haemorrhoids Treatment

Anusol cream

Price on writing: £5 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Treatment type: Cream | Active ingredients: Zinc Oxide, Bismuth Oxide and Balsam Peru | Daily dose: Apply in the morning, at night and after each bowel movement | Safe for pregnancy?: Manufacturer advises to check with GP first

What we love

  • Can be used with suppositories 
  • Rated highly for itch relief
  • Can be used for other bum-related problems too, including anal fissures 
  • Doesn’t stain underwear

What to know

  • Can take several days to work
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women should only use this on the advice of their doctor

What Mumsnet users say

“Anusol is instantly soothing.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user VillanellesOrangeCoat)

“Get some Anusol cream... It works well in relieving the itching.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user skirk64)

“Anusol is good - both in suppository and cream form. You may need to give it about seven days to really work.” (Rated by Mumsnetter puffinkoala)

Our verdict

If itching ‘down there’ is driving you to distraction, then Anusol Cream will soon provide you with some sweet, sweet relief.

Mumsnet users rate Anusol highly for its soothing properties, which kick in as soon as you apply the cream. Meanwhile, the active ingredient gets to work on the haemorrhoid, shrinking it down and reducing swelling while simultaneously alleviating discomfort. Just be aware that it may take several days of application to finish the job. Like with the best stretch mark cream, sometimes you need to be patient to see results.

Unlike other remedies on our list, Anusol can be used on both internal and external piles. So if an unwelcome guest makes an appearance, we recommend getting yourself some Anusol to banish that pesky pile back to where it came from. Your bum will thank you.

Anusol is widely available in most chemists and supermarkets, so you can pick up a tube at the same time as you shop for other essentials such as the best skincare for pregnancy items.

2. Best budget haemorrhoid cream: Germolene Antiseptic Cream

Germolene Antiseptic Cream

Price on writing: £1.79 | Buy now from Superdrug

Key specs

Treatment type: Cream | Active ingredients: Phenol and Chlorhexidine Digluconate | Daily dose: No specific guidance for piles | Suitable for pregnancy?: Yes

What we love

  • Suitable for pregnant and breastfeeding women 
  • Great value
  • Also useful to heal other cuts, scrapes, grazes and stings

What to know

  • Suitable for external use only, so can’t be used on internal haemorrhoids 
  • Doesn’t come with a nozzle for easy application
  • The distinctive Germolene smell isn’t for everyone

What Mumsnet users say

“I’ve had horrific piles in the past. I’ve tried all prescription and over-the-counter stuff and the only thing that worked for me was classic Germolene! Best stuff ever!” (Vetted by Mumsnet user whymewhyme)

“Germolene cream with anaesthetic. It's much, much better than pile cream. And it's not expensive.” (Recommended by Mumsnetter SunnySpills)

Our verdict

As well as being a great all-rounder for cuts, grazes and scrapes, who knew that the humble tube of Germolene could also work miracles on piles too?

Mumsnetters who have tried and tested this cream say Germolene is absorbed quickly and numbs the affected area before making quick work of troublesome haemorrhoids. But unlike other remedies, like Anusol, it’s for external use only, so you may want to look elsewhere if you are bothered by internal piles.

Although Germolene is not marketed as a haemorrhoid treatment, Mumsnetters swear by it as a fast and effective pile treatment. Plus it's suitable for use during pregnancy and for the bargain price of just £2 for a 30g tube, it might be worth stocking up at the same time you pick up your pregnancy test, just in case!

3. Best treatment for internal haemorrhoids: Germoloids Suppositories

Germoloids Suppositories

Price on writing: £5 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Treatment type: Suppositories | Active ingredients: Zinc Oxide and Lidocaine Hydrochloride | Daily dose: Insert one before bed and one in the morning, preferably after a bowel movement. Can be used at any time during the day if needed. Leave a minimum of three to four hours between suppositories | Safe for pregnancy?: Manufacturer recommends checking with GP or pharmacist

What we love

  • Suitable for use in pregnancy and while breastfeeding
  • Easy application

What to know

  • Not a treatment for external haemorrhoids
  • If you struggle with suppositories, you may wish to try an internal cream instead

What Mumsnet users say

“I used Germaloid, the cream and suppositories, but maybe check with your midwife first.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnetter Pinkywoo)

“Get suppositories! You want to suck them back into the void in which they came. Be gone, pile demons.” (Rated by Mumsnet user Ilovethekitties)

“I prefer Germoloids Suppositories to the cream but it depends if the discomfort is inside or outside. You can get both from Amazon which is convenient.” (Vetted by Mumsnetter CosmicComfort)

Our verdict

They say it’s what's inside that counts, and internal piles really need an internal solution. Mumsnetters who have been driven to distraction by internal haemorrhoids swear by Germoloids Suppositories for fast and effective relief. 

Safe for use in pregnancy and breastfeeding (hurrah!), these suppositories slip easily into the back passage. The local anaesthetic provides swift and cooling pain relief while the active ingredient gets to work on shrinking the pile.

While Germoloids is many a Mumsnetter’s go-to product to deal with internal haemorrhoids, which is why we’ve awarded it the best treatment for internal haemorrhoids, if you’re also suffering from external piles, you may want to couple it with another product on our list, such as Germoloids Ointment. But do check the label first. 

Read next: Pregnant and in need of a wardrobe overhaul? We've ranked the best maternity clothes according to Mumsnet users, from the comfiest maternity leggings to the most supportive maternity bras.

4. Best remedy for external haemorrhoids: Hemoproct Instant Relief Gel

Price on writing: £8 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Treatment type: Gel | Active ingredients: 2QR-complex from Aloe Vera | Daily dose: At least twice a day, and after bowel movement | Safe for pregnancy?: Not specified

What we love

  • Can be used to treat both internal and external piles
  • Promotes natural healing
  • Comes with an applicator

What to know

  • Some reviewers said the dosing can be tricky, particularly when used internally

What Mumsnet users say

"Was Hemoproct or something I used many many years ago... Just shrivelled them up." (Recommended by Mumsnet user StrongTea)

Our verdict

A soothing gel which can be used on both internal and external haemorrhoids, Hemoproct claims to deliver instant cooling relief from the pain of piles, soothe the itch and create a barrier against bacteria. It uses a patented '2QR-complex' ingredient derived from Aloe Vera and purports to be free of toxic/harsh chemicals, which is good if you've got sensitive skin. 

Many a Mumsnetter claims that while pregnancy may have triggered their haemorrhoids, the problem has become recurrent months - sometimes even years - after they've had their last baby. Hemoproct claims to help prevent future haemorrhoid outbreaks so could well be worth a try if this is the situation you find yourself in. 

Related: If piles aren't the only post-birth plague you're dealing with, check out our guide to the best pelvic floor trainer.

5. Best soothing haemorrhoid remedy: Care Witch Hazel 200ml

Price: £3.29 | Buy now from Superdrug

Key specs

Treatment type: Cleanser | Active ingredient: Distilled Witch Hazel | Daily dose: Not specified for piles | Suitable for pregnancy?: Not specified

What we love

  • Affordable
  • Provides instant relief
  • Great for the first aid kit as it is great for treating bruises, sprains and sore skin too

What to know

  • Not a haemorrhoid treatment, so you’ll need to use another treatment to shrink the pile
  • May not be suitable for those with allergies
  • Can’t be used on broken skin or internally

What Mumsnet users say

“I use a plain cotton facial cleansing pad and douse it in the Witch Hazel, then pop it by the painful area and leave it there (bum cheeks keep it in place!). Nothing has been anywhere near this effective for me.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user SilentPanic)

“Witch Hazel helps too on soft cotton pads… Apply Witch Hazel on cotton wool then apply gently to the area. I also used to spritz Witch Hazel onto the back end of panty liners or place the cotton wool onto the liner so it ‘sat’ right where it was needed.” (Recommended by Mumsnetter 2020iscancelled)

“If the itching and pain is awful then a tepid bath with some Witch Hazel in is lovely.” (Rated by Mumsnetter RainingZen)

Our verdict

While not strictly a haemorrhoid treatment, as far as Mumsnetters are concerned, Witch Hazel does the job along with the best of them when it comes to soothing painful piles.

What makes Witch Hazel stand out from the rest is its versatility, with those who’ve been plagued by problematic piles applying it straight onto the haemorrhoid, onto sanitary towels or even adding it to bath water in their bid to find relief. 

Best of all, Witch Hazel is easy to find in most high street chemists and supermarkets, so you can easily pick up a bottle (it's a great bathroom cupboard staple even if you don't have haemorrhoids) while you're out shopping for the best gifts for new mums or on the hunt for maternity jeans.

A note of caution though: Witch Hazel has been known to cause red and itchy skin, so those with allergies should consult their GP before applying. Even if you aren’t prone to allergies and haven’t used Witch Hazel before, try a test patch before applying to your haemorrhoid, otherwise you could end up making the problem worse.

Top tip: Did you know gentle rocking on a birthing ball can also help ease haemorrhoid symptoms? 

6. Best haemorrhoid cream for pregnancy: Germoloids Ointment

Price on writing: £5 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Treatment type: Ointment | Active ingredients: Zinc Oxide and Lidocaine Hydrochloride | Daily dose: Use at least twice a day with a minimum of three to four hours between applications. Particularly recommended after a bowel movement. | Safe for pregnancy?: Yes

What we love

  • Can be used internally and externally
  • Affordable

What to know

  • Can sting on application
  • The classic Germolene smell is not everybody’s favourite

What Mumsnet users say

“I bought Germaloids at the pharmacy. It has lidocaine in it, which is an anaesthetic.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user PregnantGotCovid)

Our verdict

Swollen ankles, backache, heartburn… pregnancy can be an incredibly uncomfortable experience. But Germoloids Ointment can effectively take care of this one particular pregnancy gripe. (And for the aches and pains, take a look at our guide to the best pregnancy support belt)

A local anaesthetic numbs the pain and halts the itching while the cream gets to work shrinking down the haemorrhoid. What makes Germoloids stand out from our other recommendations is that it’s suitable for treating external and internal piles and even comes with a handy nozzle for easy application.

The product is quite oily, which makes it easier to go to the toilet and avoid straining, so it helps to prevent a bad situation from getting even worse (shudder).

7. Best anti-itch cream for haemorrhoids: Sudocrem Antiseptic Healing Cream

Sudocrem Antiseptic Healing Cream

Price on writing: £3.29 | Buy now from Boots

Key specs

Treatment type: Cream | Active ingredients: Zinc Oxide, Benzyl Alcohol, Benzyl benzoate, Benzyl Cinnamate and Lanolin (hypoallergenic) | Daily dose: Apply a thin layer as required | Safe for pregnancy?: Not specified

What we love

  • Gentle formula
  • One tub can last a long time - less is more when it comes to Sudocrem
  • Can be used on other types of skin irritation too

What to know

  • Some may find the formula too gentle if piles are particularly bad
  • External use only - not suitable for treating internal piles

What Mumsnet users say

“I find Sudocrem just to lubricate the exit is as good as anything!” (Recommended by Mumsnet user BillywilliamV)

“I would second Sudocrem.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnetter dingledongle)

Our verdict

If your haemorrhoids are on the milder side, then Sudocrem Antiseptic Healing Cream, the saviour of sore bottoms, may just be the answer.

This popular nappy rash cream is an emollient which forms a protective barrier to prevent clothes from rubbing and irritating the haemorrhoid, while its mild local anaesthetic helps to ease the pain. It’s also an antibacterial, so it helps aid the healing process.

Once again, Sudocrem is not strictly a pile treatment, but a great all-rounder which can be used on everything from minor burns to acne and bedsores, so we'd recommend keeping a tub in the bathroom cupboard even if piles aren't an issue. 

It’s gentle enough for babies' bums (and would make a great addition to the best baby gifts bundle) but Mumsnet users who have tried and tested Sudocrem on their haemorrhoids say it does the trick when it comes to bigger bums too.

8. Best natural haemorrhoid treatment: Pure Epsom Salts 1kg Pack

Pure Epsom Salts 1kg Pack

Price on writing: £6 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Type of treatment: Salts for bath | Active ingredient: Magnesium Sulphate | Daily dose: Put two cups in warm bath water then soak for 20 minutes. Alternatively, add one cup of salts to a litre of water, immerse a towel, wring it out and apply to the affected area. | Safe for pregnancy?: Yes

What we love

  • Contains no artificial colours, chemicals or fragrances
  • Suitable for vegans

What to know

  • You may need to use it in conjunction with another treatment
  • Not to be used to treat internal piles

What Mumsnet users say

“DH says a bath with Epsom salt helps.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user seayork2020)

“Also bought some lavender Epsom salts and use them in the bath to soothe.” (Rated by Mumsnetter Sam042017)

Our verdict

Is there anything that can’t be cured by a good soak in Epsom salts?

Well, probably. But our Mumsnetters recommend this natural remedy to help send haemorrhoids on their way. It's safe to use during pregnancy, won't get all over your favourite maternity underwear and can help relieve swelling too, great if you're also suffering with swollen ankles, just pop on a pair of the best compression socks for pregnancy afterwards!

This natural cure-all is great for soothing irritation, including skin irritation caused by sunburn. You can either dilute the salts and apply directly with a towel or go the whole hog and run a soothing bath as Epsom salts are great for soothing tired and achy muscles too. And… relax!

9. Best haemorrhoid wipes: Preparation H Soothing Wipes

Preparation H Soothing Wipes

Price on writing: £1.15 | Buy now from Tesco

Key specs

Treatment type: Wipes | Active ingredients: Witch Hazel | Daily dose: Use before applying piles treatment and after each bowel movement | Safe for pregnancy?: Yes

What we love

  • Helps to prevent irritation caused by regular toilet paper
  • Suitable for pregnant and breastfeeding women
  • Hypoallergenic

What to know

  • Pricey - one pack contains just 30 wipes
  • You’ll need to buy a separate cream to treat haemorrhoids
  • Suitable for soothing external piles only

What Mumsnet users say

“You need Preparation H Wipes for comfort. You use them instead of toilet paper and they are very soothing whilst you are waiting for the cream to do its job.” (Vetted by sophiasnail)

“Preparation H Wipes are a [lifesaver] and soothing when cleansing the area.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user jalopy)

Our verdict

Even the softest toilet roll can feel like you’re wiping your bum with sandpaper when you have painful, itchy haemorrhoids. Although you may be tempted to reach for the baby wipes, Mumsnet users recommend using Preparation H Soothing Wipes instead.

Designed to complement haemorrhoid treatment creams such as Anusol or Germaloids, the wipes contain Witch Hazel and aloe vera to soothe and hydrate itching and irritated skin.

This product stands out from the rest as it’s a quick and effective way of soothing a sore bum while you’re out and about. If you suffer from piles, then the Preparation H Wipes are a handbag essential.

Related: Trying for a baby and want to find out more about your cycle? Our guide to the best ovulation test has you covered.

Do haemorrhoid creams really work?

Yes, haemorrhoid creams do work. They have the dual function of soothing itching and reducing the size of the haemorrhoid. Suppositories, for internal haemorrhoids, work in the same way.

The products on our list are over-the-counter remedies, as recommended by Mumsnet users who’ve experienced piles. If your piles are particularly severe, painful or don’t respond to over-the-counter medication, see your GP who can prescribe something stronger or refer you for further treatment.

How do I choose the best haemorrhoid cream? 

There are a number of things that you should consider before purchasing haemorrhoid creams or remedies.

  • Internal or external? If your piles are external (on the outside) then most of the treatments on our list should be suitable. However if the product is for external use only, then you’ll need to look elsewhere if you’re suffering with internal haemorrhoids.
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding? As with so many other medications, not all haemorrhoid treatments are suitable for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, so always check with your GP first.
  • What does it do? Many of the products on our list are specifically designed to treat haemorrhoids by reducing the itching and shrinking the pile. Others are not marketed as a treatment for piles, but nevertheless come highly recommended by our Mumsnetters for tackling the problem. Others are just designed to alleviate discomfort, rather than reduce the size of the haemorrhoid, and may need to be used in conjunction with another treatment. Always read the label first.
  • Active ingredient: Don’t forget to check the active ingredient(s) of the product just to make sure there’s no chance of an allergic reaction.
  • Application and dose: Do you have to rub cream on? Does the treatment come with an applicator? Or is the treatment a suppository? What’s the dose and how long should you use it for? You need to find out the answers to these questions before purchasing.

How long do haemorrhoid creams take to work?

According to the NHS, you should expect to see an improvement after seven days of home treatment. If you’ve been using a haemorrhoid cream for longer than seven days and there are no signs of the treatment working, then you should book an appointment with your GP.

What cream is best for haemorrhoids?

Our Mumsnetters recommended Anusol Cream as the best and most effective haemorrhoid cream. It's easy to use, soothes the itching from the first application and works its magic on both internal and external piles.

How we chose our recommendations

Our expert writers and journalists spend hours researching the very best quality products for our Swears By articles.

All the haemorrhoid creams and remedies on this list have been tried and tested by Mumsnet users who have recommended their favourite based on factors including effectiveness, speed and ease of use. We include these so you know that real people are behind these recommendations.

We’ve also consulted trusted medical websites, including the NHS, to provide an authoritative voice on haemorrhoids and haemorrhoid treatment, so you can rest assured our article contains safe and reliable medical information.

Finally, we collated all that information and then looked at other online reviews to see which haemorrhoid creams and remedies have received the best recommendations.

This article is not intended as a countdown of the ‘top nine’ best products, but rather a list of recommendations so you can be safe in the knowledge that you are getting honest and reliable advice on choosing an appropriate over-the-counter haemorrhoid remedy to meet your needs.

Why you should trust us

We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.