Sign Up Now For
HEALTHbeat
Our FREE E-mail Newsletter

In each issue of HEALTHbeat:

  • Get trusted advice from the doctors at Harvard Medical School
  • Learn tips for living a healthy lifestyle
  • Stay up-to-date on the latest developments in health
  • Receive special offers on health books and reports
  • Plus, receive your FREE Bonus Report, Living to 100: What's the secret?

[ Maybe Later ] [ No Thanks ]

Check out these newly released Special Health Reports from Harvard Medical School
Learn How

New Releases

You can't buy good health but you can buy good health information. Check out these newly released Special Health Reports from Harvard Medical School:

Anoscopy

View other tests


What is the test?

A tube called an anoscope is used to look at the inside of your anus and rectum. Doctors use anoscopy to diagnose hemorrhoids, anal fissures (tears in the lining of the anus), and some cancers.

Back to top >


How do I prepare for the test?

Before the test, you might want to empty your bladder or have a bowel movement to make yourself more comfortable.

Back to top >


What happens when the test is performed?

This test is usually done in a doctor's office. You need to remove your underwear. Depending on what the doctor prefers, you either lie on your side on top of an examining table, with your knees bent up to your chest, or bend forward over the table. The anoscope is 3 to 4 inches long and the width of an average-to-large bowel movement. The doctor coats the anoscope with a lubricant and then gently pushes it into your anus and rectum. The doctor may ask you to "bear down" or push as if you were going to have a bowel movement, and then relax. This helps the doctor insert the anoscope more easily and identify any bulges along the lining of the rectum.

By shining a light into this tube, your doctor has a clear view of the lining of your lower rectum and anus. When the test is finished, the anoscope then is pulled out slowly.

You will feel pressure during the examination, and the anoscope will make you feel as if you are about to have a bowel movement. Do not be alarmed by this sensation; it is normal. Most patients do not feel pain from anoscopy.

Back to top >


What risks are there from the test?

There are no significant risks from anoscopy. Sometimes, especially if you have hemorrhoids, you may have a small amount of bleeding after the anoscope is pulled out.

Back to top >


Must I do anything special after the test is over?

You can return to your normal activities immediately.

Back to top >


How long is it before the result of the test is known?

Your doctor can tell you about your anoscopy exam right away.

Back to top >


View other tests