Q. I’ve been plagued with external hemorrhoids for years. They weren’t particularly painful, but the itch was unbelievable and kept me awake at night. I tried every hemorrhoid cream on the market, sitz baths with vinegar, witch hazel and ice but nothing took away that itch. I even tried medication intended for ringworm and yeast infections.
I was seriously considering surgery when I read your column about Noxzema. I had nothing to lose and got a jar the next day. I got almost instant relief and haven’t had a problem since! It’s ridiculous to think that hemorrhoids could be such trouble, but I feel like I have my life back.
A. Over a decade ago we heard from a fork lift driver:
“I sat on a leather seat, sweating, for hours. Five or six days a week I drove all over the plant delivering materials. You can imagine how that aggravates hemorrhoids.
“Many of my friends had operations for this problem, but I resolved mine more easily with Noxzema.”
People have used this old-fashioned skin cream to relieve itching from eczema, seborrheic dermatitis and “mystery itches.” It contains camphor, menthol and eucalyptus.
Menthol is considered a topical analgesic, although some individuals develop sensitivity and irritation in response to it. Camphor seems to have a similar action, but it should only be used externally. It can be toxic if absorbed. Eucalyptus is often used with camphor and menthol in products such as Listerine or Vicks VapoRub and seems to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects.
Another Itchy Bottom Story:
We also heard from a woman in great distress:
Q. My question is so embarrassing I cannot ask anyone, not even my doctor. Every time I try to bring up the subject, I chicken out at the last minute.
It has to do with itching in a very personal place. Sometimes it’s so bad I can barely sit still. This is especially uncomfortable in church.
A hot soak in the bathtub helps. I had also used hemorrhoid preparations, but they provide only temporary relief and are messy. Is there anything that can relieve anal itching that isn’t greasy? It’s driving me crazy.
A. Although an itchy bottom is not discussed in polite company, you would be surprised how many people suffer this complaint. It has several possible causes, including perfumed toilet paper or spicy foods. Some people report that black pepper gives them trouble while others implicate chilis.
Hygiene is essential in managing this condition but “scrubbing” makes matters worse. So does itching and scratching.
The French solve this problem with a bidet, which allows for thorough rinsing. Gentle wiping with plain witch hazel is an alternative. Be wary of moist towelettes, though. Some people are allergic to the preservatives that are used and end up with an itchy bottom triggered by this ingredient. Read more about this problem at this link.
If dietary discretion and cleanliness don’t help, talk this over with your doctor. Pinworms may be a factor and can readily be treated.
P.S. We promise you, doctors have heard far more embarrassing questions than this.