Jar of Vicks VapoRub

Q. I read a message on your website about someone who put Vicks VapoRub on his hemorrhoids. He complained that “Vicks on his hemorrhoids felt like napalm” and described the sensation as “spontaneous combustion that made me feel like I was a jet fighter with afterburners. Mayday!”

My experience has been quite different. I have used Vicks on my hemorrhoids and it works amazingly well. Vicks is, however, for external use only. What that means is that if there is broken skin involved then lift-off can be achieved. Vicks on broken skin is not a happy feeling.

A. We have been surprised at the number of people who report benefit from Vicks VapoRub on hemorrhoids:

“Tried Vick’s vaporub as haemorrhoid remedy It worked immediately, effectively and without pain.”

“OMG…Vicks is brilliant. It shrinks them too. A star all the way!”


“Vicks is great for hemmies. Granted if you are extremely sensitive I would avoid it but if you aren’t and are looking for relief it’s a must.”


“I have had hemorrhoids for 40 years. About 35 years ago, while living in England, I was able to treat them with an ointment I found that was sold there. I brought some back to the U.S., but could never find it here. The two principal ingredients listed on the tube were camphor and menthol.

“I now use Vicks VapoRub. Regular use relieves the itching as well as the swelling for me.”

“I’ve used Vicks since childhood and recently carried it on my backpacking journey across the world. As I recall Vicks was available in most countries. It works on bug bites, some fungus infections, hemorrhoids, ‘dings & nicks’ and as a chest rub. I wouldn’t be without it – ever!

Regards, Bob

We grant you that such testimonials are compelling. But there is a dissenting viewpoint. It is the one expressed by John Welter, writing in the Durham Herald-Sun, March 24, 2001:

“…in a clinical setting where no one could see me, I scientifically applied a sufficient amount of VapoRub to the inflamed area and waited for results. I’d like to report to Joe Graedon that almost immediately, I could breathe better. In an essay I’m writing for The New England Journal of Medicine, I state that: ‘After applying VapoRub to the hemorrhoids, I had no respiratory problems in my pants.’

“What really happened is that the active ingredients in VapoRub–which I think are menthol, camphor and napalm–instantly engulfed my hemorrhoidal locality in spontaneous combustion. The warmth of VapoRub on a congested chest might be comforting; applying it to the most sensitive escape route in the human abdomen made me imagine I was a jet fighter with afterburners. I moved distractedly through the house like an F-15 pilot saying: ‘Mayday! Mayday! I took a direct hit to my tail section! Eject! Eject! There’s a fire in my cockpit!’ Well, not the cockpit, really. I forget the military term for butt.

“The use of VapoRub for hemorrhoids was supposed to be a home remedy, although obviously it has military applications… I must politely report to Joe Graedon that while it’s possible that a few people might benefit from VapoRub on their hemorrhoids, I think most people will respond with such well-known expressions as, ‘Shots fired! Officer down! We have casualties!'”

We would love to hear about your hemorrhoid treatments. Please comment below.

Join Over 90,000 Subscribers at The People's Pharmacy

Each week we send two free email newsletters with breaking health news, prescription drug information, home remedies and a preview of our award-winning radio show. Join our mailing list and get the information you need to make confident choices about your health.

  1. Linda

    Have been using it occasionally for about a month. I will never buy Prep H again! The cooling sensation was wonderful; I don’t have any broken skin though. Really need this in a tube.

  2. Hannah

    I’m 25 weeks pregnant and just realized yesterday that my mystery butt pain was hemorrhoids! UGH!!!! I was in search of releif and needed to use items I already had at home. I saw a couple recommendations to try vaporub. After reading this article I was very nervous too (didn’t wanna be running around the house screaming with flaming booty). But 90% of the testimonals I read swore it worked almost instantly and painlessly. So with shaking hands and a racing heart I decided to go for it. It was INSTANT sweet relief! I only applied a tiny amount one time last night and 17 hours later I am still pain free (even after my bm this morning)!!! Vaporub is amazing!!!!!

  3. Pa

    Well i m suffering with piles for almost 15 years and i read ur comments after i decided to use vick for it and its unblievable within 30 min my pain discomfort disappear…. its great vick love u

  4. martha
    new york

    I’ve had Hemorrhoids before when I was pregnant but this time I awoke in the middle of the night with burning and pain. It surprised me since I had no indication they were coming on and oh boy did they hurt! I had to go pee in which I found out just how bad they hurt after a quick wipe. I didn’t know about Vick’s then although we use it for just about anything. So after a long night of no sleep due to pain and couldn’t get comfortable even if I swung by the ceiling fan at one point I thought might would at least cool them down enough to sleep! After a night of trying to sleep and searching the internet for some comfort after the alarm had went off this morning I found an article about Vick’s.

    Kinda irritated me since I had actually looked at the jar sitting in the bathroom and thought its good for about anything else but was scared to try it. So I read through the comments and they said not to worry it would not burn. so I took a shower and mentally prepared myself to dip my finger in and give it a try! Mind you I left the shower on just in case it was like the 4th of July but to my surprise it actually was an instant relief !! I had to go to work so I decided to put some on a pad and wear it during the day to help with the pain and it worked great!! Im also taking aspirin but just started that a coulple hrs ago and have already noticed the swelling going down!

  5. Ronald J.
    Bluffton IN

    I’ve been interested in doing this myself. But I will tell you of another home remedy that works very well for hemmies. That is milk thistle. It will also shrink your varicose veins to just about nothing. Try it!

  6. Pedro

    At first, i was somehow skeptical to the use of this method, and even more after reading some of the comments in here!
    I tried it at home in my lunch break, and all i can say is that it worked, it didn’t gave me any kind of burning sensation, only relief in the pain.
    I did try it and immediately sat on top of a freezed Gel cold pack for pain therapy , and all i can say is that the only two things i feel right now as i am writting this is a senstional cool feel on my behind and that still lattent bother from the hemmie still not shrinking, but no pain at all!
    This was the best thing i could try, after taking meds like Venex and Daflon, and using creams like Synalar Rectal and Anacal!
    The relief from VaporRub was much more intense!!!
    I’ll try it again when i go home for the day and see how it goes in the morning….
    Thank you very much for this tip!!!

  7. Linda

    After reading everyone’s testimonials, I had to try this. I bathed a few hrs. Ago.in Epsom salts and hot-ish water. I have hemorrhoids and a partially healed fissure. Didn’t hurt. Feeling pleasantly cool. I am hoping it helps heal them. I will let you know.

What Do You Think?

We invite you to share your thoughts with others, but remember that our comment section is a public forum. Please do not use your full first and last name if you want to keep details of your medical history anonymous. A first name and last initial or a pseudonym is acceptable. Advice from other commenters on this website is not a substitute for medical attention. Do not stop any medicine without checking with the prescriber. Stopping medication suddenly could result in serious harm. We expect comments to be civil in tone and language. By commenting, you agree to abide by our commenting policy and website terms & conditions. Comments that do not follow these policies will not be posted.