There are no dietary treatments that have been shown to consistently help or heal hemorrhoidal symptoms. In most cases, if a food causes a flare-up of symptoms, it is best to avoid that food. If you want to use topical medication, first try petroleum jelly—an inexpensive but often effective treatment. Over-the-counter (OTC) hemorrhoid medications typically contain emollients designed to facilitate easier passage of stool and protect the anal area. The best prescription hemorrhoid creams, such as Analpram-HC (2.5%) with hydrocortisone, contain topical steroids that decrease inflammation of the tissue overlying the hemorrhoidal veins and may reduce discomfort.

Cautlon: Symptoms of diseases, such as colon cancer and inflammatory bowel disease, can mimic hemorhoidal symptoms. Rectal bleeding demands immediate attention. Consult a physician for an evaluation before beginning self-treatment.

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