Introduction: Cheap Alternative for a Common Hemorrhoid Treatment
Okay, yes. This is a sensitive subject, and possibly an irritating one, but bear with me.
Inflamed hemorrhoids is a condition that affects a lot of people, particularly people who spend a lot of time sitting down. There are a number of treatment methods, up to and including surgery, but one of the simplest is the basic medicated cleansing pad. Marketed under the brand name Tucks®, these pads are used for cleaning the affected area and also providing some pain and swelling relief. Unfortunately, the pads are small. That makes them ineffective for cleansing.
The other big name in hemorrhoid treatment, Preparation H®, sells a larger pad, but they are more expensive. I'm suggesting an alternative that is effective and economical. Because it involves a bit of DIY, I thought I'd share it with the instructables community.
The active ingredient in Tucks® pads is something called "witch hazel". Even though the larger pads are sold under the Preparation H® name, they do not contain the phenylephrine that the brand's famous creams and ointments do. The active ingredient is still witch hazel. According to the source of all that is good and holy, this astringent liquid is derived from the leaves and bark of Hamamelis virginiana. Before you start to panic, I'm not going to tell you to go seek out these leaves and rub them on your unmentionable areas. That sounds like a recipe for much more discomfort, rather than less. (Especially if you pick the wrong leaves!) Instead, I'm going to tell you that the commercial formulation is available on its own. It can be found with isopropyl alcohol and hydrogen peroxide in most stores.
Another product sold in those same stores is a "flushable moist wipe" or "towelette". These are sometimes shelved near toilet paper, sometimes near adult incontinence products.
Purchasing these two products and combining them yourself is a cheaper alternative to even the off-brand of larger medicated wipes. It's a simple matter of pouring some of the liquid into the package of wipes. It will soak through and voila, the previously plain wipes are now medicated. I've found that a bottle of witch hazel contains enough to treat 2-3 packages of wipes.
Based on prices for store-brand products at my local Super Target®, here is a cost breakdown.
Round pads $3.49 per 100 => $0.0349 per pad
Large medicated pads $3.49 per 48 => $0.072708333 per pad
Large pads + witch hazel $3.51 per 84 => $0.041785714 per pad (assuming 1/2 bottle of witch hazel per package of wipes)
The small round pads are still less expensive per unit, but not by much.
One final note: because it's used as a facial astringent, witch hazel is also sold in scented varieties, such as rose, lemon, and wintergreen. I've not tried these scented products, but they may work equally well.