What is an anoscopy?

An anoscopy is an examination of the anal canal using a 3-4 inch long tube shaped instrument. An anoscopy is a simple medical procedure that can be completed in the doctor’s office.

It is most frequently used to diagnose anal fissures, hemorrhoids, as well as some cancers.

What to expect with an anoscopy

An anoscopy can be performed in your doctor's office. To make the process more comfortable, you will need to take a laxative to empty your bowels at home. At the office, you will remove your underwear. Your doctor will ask you to either lie on your side with your knees bent or lean over an examination table. Using a lubricant, they'll insert a tool called an anoscope into your anus. An anoscope is a rigid, hollow tube with a light on the end of it.

It's necessary to relax your muscles as if you are having a bowel movement. Once inside fully, the anoscope can help your doctor look closely at your organs and internal lining. After the examination is complete, your doctor may also perform a digital rectal exam. This involves feeling the inside of your rectal area with a lubricated, gloved finger. If your doctor sees something that is abnormal, they may take a small sample of tissue to test it in a laboratory. 

Overall, this process may be uncomfortable, but it should be painless. What your doctor discovers will help create a treatment plan for you.

Common conditions requiring an anoscopy

There are many conditions that your doctor may discover through an anoscopy. You may have an abscess. This is a deposit of pus that causes swelling and may create a tear in your tissue. Your doctor may see evidence of inflammatory bowel disease or a sexually transmitted infection. If you have inflamed and swollen veins called hemorrhoids, your doctor will be able to see that with this procedure. This is also a way to discover growths in the lining of your rectum or colon that may or may not be cancer. Treating all of these conditions usually begins with an anoscopy.

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