How to differentiate between Anorectal Cancer and Piles?


Everyone on this earth is busy making money from working hard in jobs or business and other things. But does anyone really care about their bodies? The fact is really important to understand that the body is the base of every emotion you have, every feeling you feel, every work you do and every thought you have. Not taking care of your body gives a chance to diseases, disorders and conditions to rise inside the body and maximum of these diseases, disorders or conditions are due to fluctuating lifestyle and dietary habits. Lifestyle includes all the things we do like prolong sitting for hours, too much work on screen, no fixed time of eating along with dietary habits like eating too much fast food, binge eating, eating without thinking etc. give rise to many lifestyle disorders and one of such diseases is piles. Anorectal Cancer and Piles has become a really common problem. In this article we will discuss the basic difference between both conditions and how Ayurveda can be of great help in managing both of these conditions.

Herbs for Anorectal Cancer and Piles

Introduction Of Anorectal Cancer and Piles

Anorectal conditions, whether cancer or piles, are one of the most common problems encountered in today’s world and the surprising thing is that people sometimes don’t even know that they have developed such a pathology. In Ayurveda piles is known by the name Arsh and ancient texts also mentioned its types like vataj Arsh (having predominance of vata dosha), piitaj Arsh (having predominance of pitta dosha), kaphaj Arsh (having predominance of kapha dosha) and raktaj Arsh (bleeding piles). On the other hand anorectal cancer will be kept under the category of arbudha. There are many types of arbudha which will be mentioned later in this article. The modern concept of piles explains that piles are of three types that are internal, external and prolapsed. The article will cover both of the aspects along with the difference in approach of management for piles and anorectal cancer.

Now, as we all know that these conditions are related to anal canal. Then let’s gather certain important facts about anal canal.

Facts about anal canal

  • The anal canal is the terminal part of the large intestine.
  • It is situated below the level of the pelvic diaphragm. It lies in the perineum.
  • The anal canal is about 3.8 cm long. It extends from the anorectal junction to the anus.
  • It is directed downwards and backwards.
  • The anus is the surface opening of the anal canal, situated about 4 am below and in front of the tip of coccyx in the cleft between the two buttocks.
  • The surrounding skin is pigmented and adjusted into radiating fold and contains a ring of large apocrine glands (scent glands).

After understanding some facts about anal canal, now we can discuss piles and anorectal cancer seperately.

Understanding piles or hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids, words are derived from greek word haima which means to bleed and rhoos which stands for flowing. The pile is derived from the latin word pila whose exact meaning is ball.

Definition of hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids are the dilated, tortuous or varicose veins occurring in relation to the anus and originating from the epithelial plexus formed by radicals of the superior, middle and inferior rectal veins, Cure Piles or Hemorrhoids.

Hemorrhoids epidemiology

  • Prevalence rate is around 44% in ten million people.
  • Peak prevalence age is between 45-65 years of age. But presently common in youngsters too. But it’s the least prevalent.
  • Gender is equally susceptible.

Etiological factors

Etiological factors are divided into two parts that are primary and secondary.

1. Primary Factors

Include hereditary factors, anatomical factors (absence of valves in superior hemorrhoidal veins, resulting in unsupported superior rectal veins and due to constriction of muscle tissue while defecation leads to hemorrhoids), morphological factors like return of rectum blood is affected by gravity, some physiological factors, chronic constipation, faulty habits of defecation, dietary habits like low fibre diet, sedentary habits, exciting habits like excessive motion frequency, IBS, straining due to heavy work and many others like sitting in cold seat, vehicle riding, obesity, episiotomy etc.

2. Secondary Factors

Include pregnancy, abdominal tumors, portal obstruction and straining during micturition.

In Ayurveda there are certain specific causes for onset of piles or any type of Arsha. These includes

  • Intake of heavy, sweets, cold and abhishyandi aahar (food which is heavy and slimy), vidahi aahar (causing burning in stomach), viruddh anna (improper food combinations).
  • Indigestion, eating less in quantity.
  • Asaatmaya food (improper food).
  • Intake of Cow meat, fish, pig meat, buffalo meat, goat meat, sheep meat in heavy quantities regularly.
  • Excessive sneha paan (intake of ghee), curd, sesame and jaggery intake.
  • Doing no exercise.
  • Sleeping in day time.
  • Indigestion
  • Prolonged constipation

Understanding anorectal cancer

Anorectal cancer means that carcinoma growth which is formed in the tissue of anal canal which can be below or above dentate line. But maximum cancers related to rectum or whole anal canal are usually above dentate line. In ayurveda any kind of tumor is kept under the category of arbuda. For the formation of arbuda all three dosha are responsible and due to excess of dosha there is metabolic crisis resulting in proliferation.

Causes of anorectal cancer

The reasons for this condition remain the same as that of piles including chronic smoking, family history and gastrointestinal diseases.

Specific characteristic of malignant growth or arbuda

Ayurveda explains symptoms in arbuda as:

  • Vritham (round)
  • Sthiram (immovable)
  • Manda ruja (slightly painful)
  • Mahant (big size)
  • Unalpa-moolam (deep seated)
  • Chirvirrudhi (slowly increasing)
  • Apakam (non-suppurating)

These characteristics remain same in almost all the cancerous cases whether it is anorectal or any other cancer.

Symptoms of anorectal cancer and hemorrhoids

Symptoms Of Anorectal Cancer Symptoms Of Piles
  • Unexplained weight loss even in absence of dieting
  • Bowel obstruction including difficulty passing stool
  • Anemia
  • Fatigue
  • Bleeding per rectum which may or may not stop
  • Episodes of constipation or diarrhoea
  • Can spread to other regions
  • Pain while passing stool
  • Tenesmus (feeling like you need to have a bowel movement)
  • Pruritis that is itching in external anal region
  • Bleeding is present only when the stool is hard or constipated due to absence of fibre in the diet
  • Can develop during pregnancy due to high abdominal pressure
  • Discomfort while sitting
  • Pinching pain in anus
  • Irritation in anal region
  • Altered bowel movements

Diagnosing anorectal cancer and hemorrhoids

Anorectal Cancer Hemorrhoids
  • Colonoscopy is done and in presence of any mass biopsy sample is taken.
  • Biopsy sample is a small piece of tissue from the overgrowth.
  • They are also diagnosed using DRE (Digital rectal examination).
  • CT scan (Computed tomography)
  • MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging)
  • Hemorrhoids, on the other hand can be diagnosed while per rectal examination using a proctoscope.

Treatment anorectal cancer and hemorrhoids

Anorectal Cancer Hemorrhoids
  • The treatment of anorectal cancer includes chemotherapy, radiation therapy, radiosensitizers and incision with surgical method.
  • With mild symptoms it can be managed well with some local ointments and sitz’s bath on a regular basis.
  • Patient is asked to increase the fibre intake and fluid intake.
  • More exercising is recommended
  • Kshar sutra application
  • Rubber Band ligation
  • Surgically it can be excised (Hemorrhoidectomy)
  • Sclerotherapy
  • Hemorrhoid stapling
  • Sometimes intake of laxatives is also advised.

Now that we know the basic difference between anorectal cancer and hemorrhoids, it’s time to discuss the herbs and formulations which can be used to manage both of the conditions really well. Following are some formulations as well as single herbs which can be used.

Herbs for anorectal cancer

1. Curcumin Capsules (extract from Curcuma longa)

It is known to enhance body metabolism and has an anti inflammatory effect. It helps in boosting digestion which is very helpful in absorption of oral drugs used in chemotherapy. Curcumin also acts as an antioxidant and protects body cells from free radical damage. It also reduces risk of metastasis (spread of cancer cells to healthy tissues or cells of other organs via bloodstream or lymph nodes) and also can prove beneficial in relieving symptoms in cases of anorectal cancer.

2. Kanchnaar Guggul

This is a classical herbal formulation which can play a very important role in supporting cancer patients. The main constituents of this formulation are kachnar bark (Bauhinia variegata), amalaki (Emblica officinalis), bibhitaki (Terminalia bellerica), haritaki (Terminalia chebula) and many more. Kachnar bark extract has a cytotoxic property. It also has a chemoprevention effect and protects the patient’s body from excessive side effects of chemotherapy drugs. It also has anti tumor effects and it might play some role in dissolving the cancerous tumor. Triphala (amalaki, bibhitaki and haritaki) is known to have anticancer properties. It helps in reducing proliferation (multiplication of cancerous cells to produce more of its kind) of cancerous cells.

3. Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum)

Tulsi is known to have many properties but in cervical cancer patients it can be used as antioxidant and also helps in slowing the progression of cancerous conditions. Cancer is a condition which generally occurs due to accumulation of free radicals in the body. When something acts to eliminate these accumulated free radicals then it is called an antioxidant. Intake of such antioxidants in cancer patients usually prevents metastasis (damage by metastasis is not reversible).

4. Guggul Sterone

Guggulsterone is a gum extracted from the tree Commiphora wightii. This extract is used from centuries in various herbal preparations and works as an analgesic, used in liver, urinary and many more disorders. Sterone is proved to have cancer preventive properties and also is used in case of metastasis.

5. Chandraprabha Vati

This classical formulation is used for treating many conditions from centuries. In cancerous conditions it can be used as an anti-inflammatory agent and thus can help in edema reduction.

In anorectal cancer, cancer immunotherapy can also be done with Certain Ayurvedic herbs. These are called jeevaniya mahakashaya. The jeevaniya mahakashaya is a group of 10 herbs these herbs are:

  1. Jivaka (Malaxis acuminate)
  2. Rishabhaka (Microstylis muscifera Ridley)
  3. Meda (Polygonatum verticillatum)
  4. Mahameda (Polygonatum cirrhifolium)
  5. Kakoli (Roscoea purpurea)
  6. Ksheer kakoli (Lilium polyphyllum)
  7. Mudgaparni (Phaseolus trilobus)
  8. Mashaparni (Teramnus labialis)
  9. Jeevanti (Leptadenia reticulata)
  10. Madhuka (Glycyrrhiza glabra)

Jeevaniya mahakashaya as immunity enhancer

  1. Explains that the enlisted herbs in jivaniya gana are having life promoting and sustaining properties. They are known to sustain prana. These herbs work by revitalizing the body’s energy and hence feeds the mind. The tissues of the body are sustained due to oxygen which is the gross aspect of prana. But if understood in ayurvedic terms then prana is one that nourishes the cell functioning.
  2. If we talk in terms of ayurveda then imbalance doshas are believed to be the root cause of every disease and even death (acc. To charaka). Aggravated or depleted doshas are the reason for the decay of cells and tissues. Above mentioned 10 herbs help in balancing the imbalanced doshas and rejuvenates the decaying tissues and cells.the effect of herbs of jivaniya group are anabolic in their nature, having the quality of kapha that helps in building, nourishing and strengthening the body.
  3. In order to build healthy tissues, the body first needs to sustain rasa dhatu after which all the body tissues are sustained, nourished and strengthened. Rasa dhatu has similar qualities to that of kapha and thus has the potential to strengthen the six other dhatus. The common features of herbs enlisted is that they promote kapaha that is having the nutritive action on the body and is capable of promoting sustainability to all seven dhatus (first tissues).

Karma of jeevaniya mahakashaya on body

  1. They act as a unique body energizer that improves the body’s endurance and immunity.
  2. Maintains healthy body functioning for adequate physical performance and fight and flight response.
  3. Reduces fatigue, promotes healthy circulation that is rich in oxygen and eliminates toxins from the blood. This purified system and blood helps in maintaining normal and healthy ranges of hormones.
  4. It promotes routine cellular health and supports defense against various pathological agents.
  5. These herbs are a very good source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Herbs for hemorrhoids

Suran: Suran (Amorphophallus campanulatus) belongs to Suran kula and has names in many languages. Like in english it is called telugu potato, telinga potato and tacca. In Sanskrit it is called arshoghni, kanda, kandahar, suvritta, vatari, kandasuran, sthulkandak, tivrakandak and ruchyakandak. The plant is found all over India. It has laghu, ruksha and tikshna guna (inherent properties), vipak (post digestion effect) is katu, potency is hot and prabhav or main action is arshoghna. The suran is having vatakaphshamak effect which means it pacifies vata and kapha dosha but it aggravates pitta dosha that’s why it is contraindicated in skin disorders and bleeding disorders. When used internally it behaves as an appetizer, digestive, hepatic stimulant, laxative, analgesic and also has anti haemorrhoidal effect as mentioned before.

In an addition Acharya charak has mentioned Arshoghan mahakshay. This group of herbs has been enlisted with 10 herbs which are having a very great effect on hemorrhoids due to their common pharmacological effect. Now let’s start with the discussion on arshoghan mahakshay.

Arshoghan mahakashaya

S.No. Name Of Herbs Rasa Panchak (Pharmacological Properties)
1. Bilva (Aegle Marmelos)
  • Guna– Laghu, Ruksha
  • Rasa– Tikta, Kashaya
  • Virya– Ushna
  • Vipaka– Katu
2. Kutaj (Holarrhena Antidysenterica)
  • Guna– Laghu, Ruksha
  • Rasa– Tikta, Kashaya
  • Virya– Sheeta
  • Vipaka– Katu
3. Chitraka (Plumbago Zeylanica)
  • Guna– Laghu, Ruksha, Tikshna
  • Rasa– Katu
  • Virya– Ushna
  • Vipaka– Katu
4. Nagar (Ginger) (Zingiber Officinalis)
  • Guna– Laghu, Snigdha
  • Rasa– Katu
  • Virya– Ushna
  • Vipaka– Madhura
5. Ativisha (Aconitum Heterophyllum)
  • Guna– Laghu, Ruksha
  • Rasa– Tikta, Katu
  • Virya– Ushna
  • Vipaka– Katu
6. Abhaya (Terminalia Chebula)
  • Guna– Laghu, Ruksha
  • Rasa– Madhura, Amla, Katu, Tikta, Kshaya
  • Virya– Ushna
  • Vipaka– Madhur
7. Dhanvayas (Fagonia Cretica)
  • Guna– Laghu, Sheeta
  • Rasa– Kshaya, Tikta, Madhur, Katu
  • Virya– Ushna
  • Vipaka– Madhura
8. Daruharidra (Berberis Aristata)
  • Guna– Laghu, Ruksha
  • Rasa– Tikta, Kshaya
  • Virya– Ushna
  • Vipaka– Katu
9. Vacha (Acorus Calamus)
  • Guna– Laghu, Tikshna
  • Rasa– Tikta, Katu
  • Virya– Ushna
  • Vipaka– Katu
10. Chavya (Piper Retrofractum)
  • Guna– Laghu, Ruksha
  • Rasa– Katu
  • Virya– Ushna
  • Vipaka– Katu

All of these herbs which are kept under arshoghan mahakashaya are having kashya, tikta and katu taste. If we go through the information above then it is clear that max. Drugs have tikta and katu taste. This is followed by kashaya tasting herbs and then madhur tasting herbs. Finally the amla taste stays with only haritaki or abhaya and no herb is having lavana taste.

The katu rasa basically have agni deepan properties and rochyatiasanam properties. Tikta rasa is arochak ghana that means it subsides anorexia, has digestive and digestion enhancing effects. In addition ropana and stambhana properties are with kashaya rasa. This thus indicates that katu, tikta and kashaya rasa has a very great effect in treating arshas or piles. That’s why herbs with these properties are kept under arshoghan mahakashaya.

9 out of ten drugs are ushna virya and only one is sheeta virya. This indicates that ushna veerya or potency destroys constipation and expels out stool freely. They can also help in reducing haemorrhoids if they are dry. Sheeta veerya dravya has a major role in bleeding piles by stopping excessive blood flow.

For bleeding piles exclusively there are 3 madhur vipak dravya and seven katu vipak dravya. They help in reducing bleeding and dry piles as well.

Laghu guna or inherent property is present in all herbs along with that 7 herbs possess ruksha property and 2 herbs possess tikshan property. These inherent properties work mostly on Arsh or piles. Laghu guna helps in eliminating indigestion, tikshna guna helps in expelling feces properly and their veerya also removes sroto rhodes that are blocking in the micro channels. They penetrate minute srotas in management of arsh and systemic medications act by improving appetite, regularize bowel habits, astringent action on blood vessels and maintain agni and srotas in equilibrium.

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Either piles or anorectal cancer, these both are the result of wrong, lazy and sedentary lifestyle we live and food we eat. Not being able to exercise or not being able to eat healthy is just an excuse. When you want to do something you do it by hook or by crook. So the same passion we should or we may say you must show towards your body as well as its the place where your soul lives, because of this body you are doing what you’re doing, this body is the reason for your every achievement, failure, love and lost so embrace it, take care of it as it is very important. There is nothing wrong with taking care of your body. The herbs which are mentioned above are also really effective and if used properly can help in both of the conditions really well. The herbs are potent enough to take care of your body whether it’s cancer or its just simple haemorrhoids. In case of more queries kindly visit

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Dr. Vikram Chauhan (MD - Ayurveda) is a Globally Renowned Ayurveda Physician with Expertise of more than 25 Years. He is the CEO & Founder of Planet Ayurveda Private Limited, a leading Ayurveda Brand, Manufacturing, and Export Company with a Chain of Clinics and Branches in the US, Europe, Africa, Southeast Asia, India, and other parts of the World. He is also an Ayurveda Author who has written Books on Ayurveda, translated into Many European Languages. One of his Books is "Ayurveda – God’s Manual for Healing". He is on a Mission to Spread Ayurveda All Over the Planet through all the Possible Mediums. With his Vast Experience in Herbs and their Applied Uses, he is successfully treating Numerous Patients suffering from Various Ailments with the help of the Purest Herbal Supplements, Diet, and Lifestyle, according to the Principles of Ayurveda. For More Details, visit