Suppositories, either vaginal or anal, are medications that are inserted into the vagina or anus. They are bullet shaped and along with the medicine have a binding substance that is somewhat waxy. Suppositories are used to deliver both local acting and systemically acting medication. It is inserted as a solid, dissolves from body heat, and is then absorbed through the mucous membranes of the vagina or rectum. This happens much quicker than taking a medication orally as it goes directly into your bloodstream through the mucous membranes, which have a large supply of blood vessels, which are in either your vagina or rectum.

Rectal suppositories are used for such conditions as hemorrhoids and constipation. Delivery of systemic medications such as acetaminophen, aspirin and opiates can also be administered through rectal suppositories. Vaginal suppositories are used to treat gynecological problems such as infections and for hormone treatment. There is a third type of suppository that is not used nearly as frequently as rectal or vaginal suppositories. These are urethral suppositories. Urethral suppositories are pellets inserted into the male urethra (the tube urine comes out of) for the treatment of severe erectile dysfunction.

Using a suppository is actually very simple, wash your hands, remove the wrapping the suppository is in and either squat or lie on your side with one leg bent and the other straight. Push the suppository into the rectum, pointed end first. If you wish, you can moisten the tip of the suppository with a little water to ease the insertion. Make sure your push it in far enough. Close your legs and sit or lie down for a few minutes, then of course wash your hands again. Unless the suppository is a laxative, try not to empty your bowels for about an hour or so. The procedure is the same for vaginal suppositories except of course you are inserting it into the vagina instead of the rectum.

As with all medications keep vaginal and anal suppositories out of reach of children and do not use after the expiration date. Remember they are designed for insertion into the rectum or vagina not to be taken by mouth under any circumstances. Store them in a cool dry dark place but not the refrigerator unless advised to do so. If they get to warm they are harder to insert but placing the closed package under cold running water for a few minutes will help them harden up again.

Suppositories, both vagina and anal are used to treat a variety of problems. The anal ones are available for pain management with ingredients such as Hydromorphone (opiates and narcotics), acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, anti-anxiety medications (benzodiazepines), laxatives, and also containing hydrocortisone and other hemorrhoidal medication. The ones for pain management work systemically while the other two work locally in the rectum. Vaginal suppositories are used to treat a number of infections, such as yeast infections. These work locally in the vagina. Vaginal suppositories that contain hormone replacement work systemically, and to a degree locally also.

The price of oral medications containing the same drugs a suppositories are somewhat cheaper but if you are unable to keep anything in your stomach, or don’t want systemic side effects of some drugs, such as laxatives it is well worth it to get the suppositories. Suppositories also work approximately 45 minutes faster than taking a pill.