Q. Years ago my mother, who was a nurse, used Vicks VapoRub almost as a cure-all for us children. One hot summer day, my family and friends were out in the yard enjoying themselves while I was in the house suffering silently with a very sore rectum.

I didn’t want to tell anyone of my embarrassing pain, so I decided to use Mother’s cure-all, Vicks. I felt if it could cure just about everything, it should be able to cure my pain. WAS I EVER WRONG!

My sister says she still remembers hearing my screams as I ran from one end of the house to the other like a cat with its tail on fire. An ice cube finally cooled things down a bit, but whenever Vicks is mentioned, I still remember that pain.

A. The maker of Vicks VapoRub is very clear that the product is for external use only. The label states, “Do not use: by mouth, in nostrils, on wounds or damaged skin…” That should include other orifices as well.

Years ago we heard from readers that Vicks could be used as a hemorrhoid remedy. Someone who tried it had a reaction very much like yours:

“Applying it [Vicks] to the most sensitive escape route in the human abdomen make 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!'”

Perhaps you will be interested in the many other creative applications that people like your mother have come up with. You’ll find them in our Guide to Unique Uses for Vicks.

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  1. RM

    I use original paste Desitin for rectal/anal discomfort. It works on diaper rash and relieves pain and itching in seconds for adults too.

  2. Donnie

    Before my Celiac diagnosis, I ran to the toilet several times a day. I had a very raw and sore bungy. A little dab of antibiotic ointment + pain reliever, like Neosporin, put out the fire. I just used a tiny amount on TP and rubbed it on the sore spot. Worked very well for me. Sure glad I never tried Vicks. LOL

  3. mary

    What must have been so horrible described so humorously, brought big laughs. Thank you for sharing.
    It does remind me of other mis-uses for various ‘cures’–although not quite this extreme, I am happy to hear some others make similar mistakes…….

  4. Raymond R.

    I have found vicks to be very effective for treating hemorrhoids.

  5. Tx nana

    Not esp.helpful but such a hilariously funny description, though I have empathy for user. A great fan of yours, keep up good work.

  6. jcds

    I couldn’t help but laugh at the 2nd letter. My mother used Vicks on everything also. Laughter is the best medicine, better than Vicks!

  7. Bert B

    Sounds like the old high school football trick. When the rookies would come on board we would put a rub called “Atomic Balm” into their jockstrap. Rub it in nice and smoothe and then wait for the screams!

  8. SR

    Thank you, thank you for making my day! I am laughing so hard I can barely type correctly! Both articles are just hilarious to me, but I know it wasn’t to them. I appreciate them sharing their stories.

  9. CGB

    I have found a ‘miracle cure’ for most sores on the skin, especially in private places and it never burns — coconut oil. You know the sensation from a bout of diarrhea on the lower parts? Immediate relief with c.o. My friend complained this week of a sore in his ear where his hearing aid was rubbing. I suggested c.o. and he told me yesterday it was cured with one application. So cheap, good for so many things. I buy a variety that does not smell or taste like coconut for external uses.

  10. Nlg

    Thank you for sharing this, and especially for the second letter. It has given a fun start to my day!

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