Hemorrhoid Cream on Your Throat?

Doctor with an actor

Dr. Jahn,

I heard a coach say that you can apply an anti-inflammatory ointment such as a hemorrhoid cream right on the outside of your throat at your larynx and this will reduce vocal fold swelling! Can this be true????


Dear Allan,

Although this is incorrect, it is not as bizarre as it sounds – at first. 

Hemorrhoid remedies such as Preparation H contain witchhazel, which is an astringent. This means that it reduces inflammation and swollen tissue. Preparation H has been used by plastic surgeons as a cream to apply over the face to reduce inflammation, and Tucks, which is a moistened towelette used for inflamed hemorrhoids, has been used by some to reduce swelling of the eye lids.

Here is the problem, however. Laryngitis, or swelling of the vocal folds, is an internal problem, at some distance from the surface skin covering the neck. There is no anatomic way that applying an astringent to the outside of your neck will reduce internal inflammation of the larynx. Unless there is some indirect effect, such as a reflex or shared innervation, that most of us are not aware of, I would have to disagree with your coach.

-Anthony F. Jahn, MD, FACS, FRCS(C)

This discussion is for general information and not to be construed as specific medical advice that you should obtain from your own physician.

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