Vaseline for Hemorrhoids - Does Vaseline Help Hemorrhoids Or Make it Worse?
Posted on 22 July 2018 by Maryanne Johnson
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Growing up, it seemed as if parents recommended putting Vaseline on just about anything as if Vaseline was more than just a lubricating jelly, but rather a cure for anything under the sun.
For older adults, Vaseline's near-magical abilities still hold true, and you may have even heard of Vaseline being used for diseases like hemorrhoids.
Many people do not realize that Vaseline is just petroleum jelly. Petroleum jelly was invented in 1872 by a man named Robert Chesebrough, who initially observed workers in the oil and gas industry utilizing a reside they dubbed as "rod wax."
Inspired by the rod wax's ability to heal the worker's raw hands of cuts and burns, Chesebrough then created the new use of petroleum jelly by studying it from the rod wax samples, calling it Vaseline.
Vaseline, the brand, has become synonymous with petroleum jelly. Throughout the years, Vaseline has been used in many different ways.
Petroleum jelly is used in sports, medicine, tattooing, beauty products, hair styling, and it is even used as an additive for explosives.
Vaseline has been used for the purposes of:
- Sunscreen to protect from UV rays
- As a means to prevent scarring
- An ingredient in skin lotions
- For cosmetics and beauty care products
- Preventing diaper rash
- Chapped hands and lips
- The prevention of moisture loss
- Lubrication for sports and exercise
- Retaining heat, for example, keeping swimmers warm in the chilled water
- Caring for animals by acting as a moisturizer, medication, and antibacterial applicator
- Creating explosives
- Stain removal
With so many purposes, it’s no surprise that people have used Vaseline as a hemorrhoid treatment.
People with hemorrhoids, either mild or severe cases, want to provide a lubricating yet healing medication on their external hemorrhoids to encourage them to shrink faster, make them more comfortable, while also subsiding hemorrhoidal symptoms.
Can You Put Vaseline on a Hemorrhoid?
Vaseline contains relatively mild ingredients that are designed to lubricate and rehydrate the skin. In actuality, Vaseline merely is petroleum jelly.
Petroleum jelly can be used externally on any part of the body, including the rectal area. This area is sensitive, especially the anus, but Vaseline is a hypoallergenic product with an extremely low risk of an adverse reaction.
Many doctors will even recommend the application of Vaseline on the anal area to heal the delicate skin and as a lubricant to prevent further irritation during movement.
For hemorrhoids, Vaseline can be helpful to prevent sore and painful external hemorrhoids from worsening and producing their equally painful symptoms.
Before applying Vaseline on an external hemorrhoid or the anal area, you should clean the area thoroughly and pat it dry. Vaseline can be reapplied throughout the day and following bowel movements.
When applied on the anus directly, Vaseline can make stools pass through the rectum easier, preventing anal fissures and straining. Subsequently, by doing so, you can promote the quicker healing of your hemorrhoids.
Is Vaseline Safe for Hemorrhoids?
The application of petroleum jelly has long been recommended to patients to use as a lubricant in the anorectal area for issues like fissures, external hemorrhoids, pruritus ani (anal itching), and the tearing of delicate anorectal skin brought on by pregnancy and childbirth.
Because Vaseline is a safe form of petroleum jelly, it can be used on the anal area with a low risk of side effects.
Vaseline can be used for young children and adults. Most frequently for children, Vaseline is applied in the rectal area to prevent diaper rash.
The purification process put in place by the Vaseline brand ensures the safety of Vaseline in the application with the anorectal area.
According to the official online site of Vaseline's frequently asked questions, the company states that it “ensures the safety of its jelly by putting it through a triple purification process.” This purification process removes harmful impurities, creating a product that is both non-irritating and hypoallergenic.
Vaseline is petroleum jelly based, and petroleum jelly is comprised of hydrocarbons. In the frequently asked questions section of Vaseline’s site, ingredients in the original formula consist of 100% petroleum jelly, which “is a blend of mineral oils and waxes.”
Vaseline is safe for external hemorrhoid use but is not advisable to use Vaseline inside the rectum as a means to treat internal hemorrhoids. You can lubricate external hemorrhoids with Vaseline and expect movement, sitting, standing, and vigorous activities to be more manageable.
Vaseline for Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy
Pregnancy, though a joyous time for an expecting mother, can also bring about a serious of physical difficulties, like swelling, aches, discomfort, and of course, hemorrhoids.
Hemorrhoids become increasingly more common in the third trimester of pregnancy and equally as occurring following childbirth, primarily if the baby is delivered vaginally.
Hemorrhoids become extraordinarily familiar with pregnancy because the growing uterus puts pressure and stain on the veins located in the rectal area, internally and externally.
Pregnant women, women who are postpartum, and older adults, are reportedly the majority of persons who experience this lower rectal disease.
Vaseline can be applied to painful external hemorrhoids during pregnancy as a lubricant and as a means to heal broken skin in the rectal area. Because hemorrhoids are inflamed veins, Vaseline may not efficiently target the swelling, but it will treat superficial skin cuts, fissures, and irritations.
Pregnant women may experience these symptoms of hemorrhoids, especially during their third trimester:
- Painful and tender lumps around the anus
- Anal discharge
- Rectal burning
- Thrombosed hemorrhoids (blood clots inside an external hemorrhoid)
- Discomfort in movement, certain positions, and while sitting or standing
- Difficulty while having a bowel movement
- Rectal bleeding
- Mild to intense itching (pruritus ani)
Vaseline, because it consists of the one ingredient of petroleum jelly, may not help with some symptoms.
For pregnant women using Vaseline on external hemorrhoids, they can expect some relief in itching, burning, soreness while moving, sitting, or standing, and perhaps an increased recovery time.
Does Vaseline Work for Bleeding Hemorrhoids?
Vaseline has skin-repairing properties, adding moisture to skin cells to promote quicker healing. This gentle product has been advertised for years as a means to aid in skin repair for minor cuts, burns, and wounds, much like Neosporin.
Its lubricating properties work as a skin-protecting barrier to nurture and enrich skin cells.
For bleeding hemorrhoids, Vaseline can be a helpful tool in the treatment process. Regardless of whether Vaseline has helped with bleeding hemorrhoids, either internal or external, you should still report the bleeding to your doctor.
If your hemorrhoids are bleeding, they could be at risk for infection. Typically, bleeding hemorrhoids refers to a blood clot that has formed inside of an external hemorrhoid and has burst on its own. Exposed and broken skin can attract bacteria and harmful germs.
The area should be cleaned and disinfected, first. Vaseline can be applied afterward, acting as a powerful protective barrier to deter bacteria and damage from irritation. Vaseline can provide the skin cells with additional moisture, which can assist in healthy regeneration and regrowth.
Rectal bleeding and thrombosed hemorrhoids that rupture and bleed should be taken seriously, as an infection could arise from broken skin, or the rectal bleeding could be an indication of another gastrointestinal issue.
Does Vaseline Cure Hemorrhoids?
Unfortunately, there is no cure for hemorrhoids, but Vaseline can be helpful in healing them more quickly. Even without treatment, hemorrhoids can go away within a few days to a week.
Hemorrhoids are often a reflection of our diet and lifestyle. A diet lacking in fiber means straining and constipation, both of which puts additional, abnormal pressure on rectal veins, leading to hemorrhoid flare-ups.
Lack of exercise, fluid intake, and obesity play a role in rectal vein inflammation as well.
With proper management, and even just a change of diet, hemorrhoid flare-ups can be controlled and in some cases, can completely subside. Everyone has hemorrhoids, and most of the time, it is just a matter of having a healthy, regular colon to keep them from becoming inflamed.
If you find that you are using Vaseline or other topical hemorrhoid treatments on your hemorrhoids for longer than a week, then you should talk to your doctor about a different treatment plan.
Hemorrhoids that are reoccurring or hemorrhoids that have signs of complications will require a more aggressive approach.