The UK edition of Reader's Digest has published a list of nine home remedies for treating hemorrhoids, which is good news for anyone in the overlapping Venn diagram of "Reader's Digest subscribers" and "People unaware of pharmacies."
Some of the magazine's suggestions include holding a warm teabag against your butthole while you're sitting on the toilet (which, as a side note, might be the saddest mental image that can be conjured of any living person); applying Vicks Vaporub "to the outside of the anus"; and grating a raw potato, making a poultice out of it, and holding a wad of wet potato against that same general area.
But according to WalesOnline, other less-reliable websites have suggested that an even better way to get relief from the itching and burning is by shoving an entire frozen potato wedge directly into your asshole.
"Insert the frozen potato slice in your anus and leave it inside for 30 seconds. Repeat the process for three to five days," one site quoted by the outlet says. "The next three to five days leave the slice inside for 30 seconds more each time."
The unidentified author, who is probably neither a medical professional nor a potato farmer, suggests that the tuber itself has astringent properties that can address the itchiness, while its cool temperature helps with the swelling. Meanwhile, actual doctors are emphatically telling people not to do this.
"There is no medical evidence that putting frozen potatoes inside the anus can help cure [hemorrhoids], so I would urge caution to anyone thinking of doing it," Dr. Diana Gall said, dismissing any DIY Ore-Ida suppositories as "old wives' tales."
This obviously isn't the first time that medical professionals have had to emphatically debunk potentially dangerous home remedies. A few months ago, Dr. Jennifer Gunter, an OB/GYN and author, posted a lengthy Twitter thread warning women not to attempt to treat yeast infections by putting garlic cloves in their vaginas.
Some of the “vaginal garlic aficionados," as she called them, do believe that a compound found in garlic called allicin has antifungal properties. That might be true, but garlic does not release allicin unless it is cut or chopped, and she really doesn't advocate combining chopped garlic with an ultra-sensitive set of mucous membranes. ("OUCH" was her pretty obvious analysis of that situation.)
But some people are probably buying vagina cloves for the same reason that they're cutting potatoes into easily insertable shapes: because it can be embarrassing to talk to a doctor about medical conditions that affect those parts of your body. According to Harvard Medical School, around half of the population has experienced "one or more of the classic symptoms" of hemorrhoids by the time they hit 50 years old—but only one third of people who are afflicted ever seek medical treatment.
If you're struggling with that particular condition and you're not comfortable placing an order from Walgreens dot com, then maybe you can give that potato poultice thing a go. Just keep it on the outside of your body. ON THE OUTSIDE.