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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.
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.
Here are the best haemorrhoid creams and remedies to buy right now.
1. Best overall haemorrhoid cream: Anusol Cream
Price: £4.19 | Buy now from Amazon
“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)
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.
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.
- 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
- Can take several days to work
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women should only use this on the advice of their doctor
- Active ingredients: Zinc Oxide, Bismuth Oxide and Balsam Peru
- Daily dose: Apply in the morning, at night and after each bowel movement.
2. Best budget haemorrhoid cream: Germolene Antiseptic Cream
Price: £1 | Buy now from Amazon
“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)
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.
For the bargain price of just £1 for a 30g tube, what have you got to lose?
- Suitable for pregnant and breastfeeding women
- Great value
- Also useful to heal other cuts, scrapes, grazes and stings
- 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
- Active ingredients: Phenol and Chlorhexidine Digluconate
- Daily dose: No specific guidance for piles
3. Best treatment for external haemorrhoids: Hemoclin Gel
Price: £16.99 | Buy now from Boots
“I feel your pain! This made a massive difference for me, but you would need to check if OK [to use] during pregnancy. It was recommended to me as safe to use while breastfeeding.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user WeeM)
When it’s time to bring in the big guns to deal with bothersome external piles, Hemoclin Gel is a great choice.
What makes this product stand out from the rest is its hygienic aerosol applicator system. Just put the applicator into the bottle and press firmly for a couple of seconds until the applicator is ‘charged.’ Then just apply it to the affected area and let the gel do its thing. Quick, straightforward and, best of all, no mess at all.
The treatment can be used for up to 30 days if necessary, although the manufacturers say two weeks should be plenty. However many reviewers say they noticed a difference almost immediately.
Hemoclin is considerably more expensive than other treatments like Germolene, but for a combination of speed and precision, some would say it’s well worth the extra expense.
- Suitable for use in pregnancy
- Special applicator is easy to use and makes no mess
- External use only
- Active ingredients: Hemoclin
- Daily dose: Apply at least twice a day for two weeks
4. Best treatment for internal haemorrhoids: Germoloids Suppositories
Price: £5.50 | Buy now from Amazon
“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)
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.
- Suitable for use in pregnancy and while breastfeeding
- Easy application
- Not a treatment for external haemorrhoids
- If you struggle with suppositories, you may wish to try an internal cream instead
- 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.
5. Best soothing haemorrhoid remedy: Boots Distilled Witch Hazel BPC (200ml)
Price: £3 | Buy now from Boots
“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)
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.
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.
- Provides instant relief
- Great for the first aid kit as it is great for treating bruises, sprains and sore skin too
- 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
- Active ingredient: Distilled Witch Hazel
- Daily dose: Not specified for piles
6. Best haemorrhoid cream for pregnancy: Germoloids Ointment
Price: £3 | Buy now from Amazon
“I bought Germaloids at the pharmacy. It has lidocaine in it, which is an anaesthetic.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user PregnantGotCovid)
Swollen ankles, backache, heartburn… pregnancy can be an incredibly uncomfortable experience. But Germoloids Ointment can effectively take care of this one particular pregnancy gripe.
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).
- Can be used internally and externally
- Can sting on application
- The classic Germolene smell is not everybody’s favourite
- 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.
7. Best anti-itch cream for haemorrhoids: Sudocrem Antiseptic Healing Cream
Price: £5 | Buy now from Amazon
“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)
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.
It’s gentle enough for babies' bums, but Mumsnet users who have tried and tested Sudocrem on their haemorrhoids say it does the trick when it comes to bigger bums too.
- 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
- Some may find the formula too gentle if piles are particularly bad
- External use only - not suitable for treating internal piles
- Active ingredients: Zinc Oxide, Benzyl Alcohol, Benzyl benzoate, Benzyl Cinnamate and Lanolin (hypoallergenic)
- Daily dose: Apply a thin layer as required
8. Best natural haemorrhoid treatment: Pure Epsom Salts 1kg Pack
Price: £5.47 | Buy now from Amazon
“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)
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.
This natural cure-all is great for soothing irritation, including skin irritation caused by sunburn, while reducing swelling. 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!
- Contains no artificial colours, chemicals or fragrances
- Suitable for vegans
- You may need to use it in conjunction with another treatment
- Not to be used to treat internal piles
- 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.
9. Best haemorrhoid wipes: Preparation H Soothing Wipes
Price: £4.07 | Buy now from Amazon
“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)
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.
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.
- Helps to prevent irritation caused by regular toilet paper
- Suitable for pregnant and breastfeeding women
- Pricey - one pack contains just 30 wipes
- You’ll need to buy a separate cream to treat haemorrhoids
- Suitable for soothing external piles only
- Active ingredients: Witch Hazel
- Daily dose: Use before applying piles treatment and after each bowel movement
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 is the most effective haemorrhoid cream?
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.