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.

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  1. Angie
    West Virginia

    After experiencing extreme pain, burning and itching from a thrombosed hemorrhoid for just a day (which was enough) I was desperate to find anything that would help. I know you can’t believe everything you read on the internet. However, when you’re in excruciating pain, you’ll do just about anything. Well, I put some Vicks Vapor Rub on some toilet tissue and applied a little bit to my hemorrhoid. I was crossing my fingers that it wouldn’t send me over the edge I was already dangling on. WHAT A RELIEF!!! Feels SO much better!! Wish I would have known about this sooner. Would have staved off a few sleepless nights in the past. Thank you, thank you!!

  2. jojo

    My anal area is in pretty bad shape due to years of frequent bowel movements because of colitis and all of my Colon having been removed over 20 years ago. I have raw, burning and itching hemorrhoids and having a bowel movement is hell and getting the burning to stop afterwards is nearly impossible. I’ve spent a small fortune over the years trying to find relief. I stumbled upon the vicks on my own and it does give me great temporary relief from the discomfort but I’m concerned because I read somewhere that if the skin is broken I can get camphor poisoning. Does anyone know anything about this? Also I’m seeking a remedy to heal the raw areas. It’s not easy to heal when I have frequent loose bowel movements.

  3. Tim

    If I was better with words I’d craft them in a way that my sincerity would be undeniable to all when I say – this worked.

    If you’re scared of the possible burning – start with the smallest amount possible and work up. Nothing, except a solid night sleep has ever worked this well for me.

  4. eu

    Yes, it works on hemorrhoids better than the expensive creams sold for that purpose. Its a miracle cream.

  5. jeevan

    Very informative

  6. Raven

    It sure does work!!! Thank you guys…it was such a relief. :)

  7. Sidekick

    Vicks Vapor Rub = glorious relief for hemorrhoids!
    After many sleepless nights and trying the usual warm baths, ointments, cold compresses, I was so glad that I found this information during my web search.
    The combination of refrigerated witch hazel-soaked baby wipes as a compress and Vicks has brought me complete relief. Luckily, I have no bleeding or broken skin so there was no stinging at all, just a very cold, soothing feeling which lasts for 4 or more hours. Amazing!

  8. RWI

    I read this last week and thought everyone was crazy. Last night I woke up with an itch so bad that I scratched until I stared bleeding. That’s when I said “Well this is gonna probably hurt like hell but what do I have to lose.” Sweet mother of Mary the first 10 seconds burned like everyone else said plus a had a cut down there. But after the 10 seconds it was sweet bliss, I could finally sit on a chair without a hemorrhoid cushion. I kid you not in one night my Hemorrhoid has shrank by 25% Thank you all for the advice! I have a happy bum again.

  9. beth

    Im going to try, but does vicks also help the hemorrhoid shrink or go away?

  10. RaDel

    I tried Vicks this morning. I had relief almost instantly. No more sting. I thank everyone on this site as you all gave me the courage to give it a go. Am definitely a lot more comfortable.

  11. vsf

    Vick works great. In desperation like everyone else, I’ve tried it.
    Recommend to all. You got nothing to lose!

  12. Hs3

    Ok everybody I am going to try Vicks vapor rub

  13. Meek

    Holy Hannah! I have been incapacitated by a hemorrhoid for two days although I have had them for four. I was doing all the remedies… sitz bath, ice, sitz bath, ice and I was in hell… and yes I was using OTC ointments as well. It got so bad today I had to take a Valium, and I HATE drugs. I stumbled on the Vicks suggestion then looked at this site… and decided to take the risk.
    That was 15 minutes ago and I am 95% pain free… Seriously… if could hug everyone of you right now, I would. Good God I am going to get a good nights sleep. I am a big guy, a trainer and weight lifter and I am damn near tears in gratitude. I understand if you are hesitant and I made the choice in desperation but I wish I had acted even just a minute earlier.

  14. SG

    I have been miserable for over a week and after reading this post mixed some vicks with some viscous lidocaine and applied it. Wow what relief! The viscous lidocaine is a prescription but it’s worth trying to get your hands on. I have the cooling feeling from the vicks and the pain relief from the lidocaine.

  15. SSJ

    I too have tried all remedies including stretching, which I felt help straighten out the bulge. Ice was the next step. Cooled the bulge nicely. Then I took the plunge and used Vic for the first time, about 10 minutes ago. Wow! The cooling effect is fantastic. Even if it does not effect a cure at least I have found some relief. I shall sleep well tonight. I will report back in a couple of days.

  16. kz

    Thank you for suggesting Vicks. The intense itch woke me up at 4:00 in the morning. I tried hydrocortisone cream, that didn’t help. I figured like everyone else, what I had to lose. I applied the Vicks, it stung for 10 seconds and then no more itch or pain. For the first time in 3 weeks I am comfortable.

  17. RB

    I can not believe this actually works. Mine have been swollen & bleeding for at least a month. The itching is enough to drive anyone insane. I was online searching for a hemorrhoid spray. The reviews are pretty good but the price is pretty high, like $20 for an ounce. While searching about the spray, came across this site. Just like everyone else, thought what do I have to lose? I was amazed. Feels like I have an ice cube between my cheeks. Still experiencing a little itch, but nothing like before, and the pain is virtually gone. Thank you all so much!!!

  18. GM

    Hi, thought it only fair that I share my experience seeing as I got the Vicks tip on here. I have been suffering pretty badly with hemorrhoids for a couple of years and other the last year have undergone banding 3 times without any real success and my consultant was saying that the next time he see’s me if there was no improvement that we would have to look at having an operation.
    I was desperate to avoid this as one of the risks involved is incontinence and I think I would rather have the pain and discomfort than that. Anyway after reading the Vicks tip I thought why not give it a try which I did just under 3 weeks ago and WOW just amazing my condition is 90% better already not fully cured but can see that happening pretty soon, I am also now using fybogel which helps me to go once properly in the morning which also helps a lot, so thanks for the tip I can’t wait to tell my consultant at the beginning of march, be interesting to see what he says.

  19. DML

    I havent suffered from “hemmies” as long as some of the folks commenting on here, but wish to convey HUGE thanks to those who suggested the Vicks. The Vicks INSTANTLY took away the pain and itching I had been experiencing for almost 3 days. Now I can comfortably sit on the couch or a hard chair to do computer related work. Thanks a million!

  20. Jodi

    Ok, you just made me bust a ‘rhoid laughing my butt off cuz I was thinking the same thing LOL GMTA!

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