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What is the difference between various Anusol products?

Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen MartinReviewed on 19.10.2023 | 2 minutes read

All Anusol products are used to treat hemorrhoids but vary in their formulations. Both Anusol cream and ointment contain the same active ingredients (zinc oxide, balsam of Peru, and bismuth oxide). Here we'll take you through the differences so you can choose an option that suits you.

Doctor’s advice

Cream? Ointment? Suppository?

Products come in creams, ointments, and suppositories. Anusol cream is thinner than the ointment, making it easier to rub in. The thicker consistency of Anusol ointment means it's good for relieving sore, dry skin.

Anusol suppositories are inserted directly into the anus, which is a better choice for internal hemorrhoids. If you have internal and external hemorrhoids, Anusol suppositories can be used alongside the cream or ointment.

Anusol Plus ointment and suppositories also contain the local anesthetic pramoxine. All of the products are available over-the-counter.

What about steroid-containing versions?

Anusol HC cream and suppositories differ from the regular Anusol in that they also contain a mild steroid called hydrocortisone. However, these products are only available by prescription.

How do I use the products?

Anusol ointment and cream are applied directly to the affected area after washing and drying. Best practice is to apply using a gauze dressing, but many people use a clean finger.

For treating internal hemorrhoids, screw the nozzle onto the tube before removing the nozzle cap. Insert the nozzle into the anus and squeeze gently. Clean the nozzle after each use.

The suppositories should be inserted into the anus 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.

How does it work?

Anusol products contain active ingredients that work by reducing irritation. They also have antiseptic properties that help prevent the growth of bacteria around your piles. This protects the area, thereby reducing itch and irritation. These ingredients are zinc oxide, balsam of Peru, and bismuth oxide.

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

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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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