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Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen MartinReviewed on 19.10.2023 | 3 minutes read

Anusol is a medication used in the treatment of hemorrhoids (also known as piles) and works to soothe the symptoms of discomfort and itchiness. It comes in three formulations which are cream, ointment, and suppositories. Anusol also comes in a formulation containing hydrocortisone, a mild steroid with anti-inflammatory properties. The hydrocortisone-containing versions are named Anusol HC and require a prescription.

Doctor’s advice

Who is it for?

Anusol is for adults to use in the treatment of hemorrhoids (also known as piles). Hemorrhoids are enlarged blood vessels in and around the anus which look like small red or purple lumps. Symptoms of piles can be blood after a bowel movement, and they can also cause pain or itching around the anus. The blood from piles will usually be bright red and usually seen on wiping, in the bowl, or on top of the stool. People can also have no symptoms at all.

Anusol products should not be used by anyone under the age of 18. Like all medications, don’t take them if you have previously had an allergic reaction to the medication, if you have severe kidney or liver problems, or if you have other medications or medical conditions that you would normally discuss it with your doctor or pharmacist before starting something new.

Use in pregnancy is not recommended unless directed by your doctor. If you have rectal bleeding, or blood in the stool, you should ensure you have spoken to your doctor about it before trying self-treatment options.

How does it work?

Anusol products contain active ingredients that work by reducing irritation. Find out the difference between various Anusol products. They also have antiseptic properties that help prevent the growth of bacteria around your piles. This also helps reduce itchiness and irritation by protecting the area. These ingredients are zinc oxide, balsam peru, and bismuth oxide.

The hydrocortisone-containing products work in a similar way as the regular Anusol. However, the added hydrocortisone has stronger anti-inflammatory effects.

How should I use Anusol?

Anusol is for topical use only. After washing and drying, the ointment and cream are applied directly to the affected area. The best practice is applying with a gauze dressing, but many people will also use a clean or gloved finger.

The suppositories must not be swallowed – they are designed to be inserted into the rectum after cleaning and drying the area. Insert one suppository at night, first thing in the morning, and after every bowel movement, ensuring that the suppository is inserted far enough not to fall out. Always wash your hands before and after every use.

Are there any side effects?

As with any medication, some people may suffer unwanted side effects. Common effects include burning, redness, irritation, itching, and pain around the rectum. If you do experience severe symptoms, you should stop using Anusol and seek advice from your doctor.

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This article has been written by UK-based doctors and pharmacists, so some advice may not apply to US users and some suggested treatments may not be available. For more information, please see our T&Cs.
Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed on 19.10.2023
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