An anoscopy is a medical procedure that can help the healthcare provider to find out any abnormality in the gastrointestinal tract, mainly in the anus and rectum. A device called an anoscope (small tube) is inserted into the anus and rectum. This device is made of plastic (disposable) or stainless steel (sterilizable). This procedure helps the doctor to get a detailed overview of the tissue within the anal-rectal regions. An anoscopy procedure can find out a wide range of health conditions and diseases that can affect the lower region of the intestines, which include:


Anal fissures



Rectal polyps

Also Read: Anal Fissures: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

How To Prepare For The Test?

A person going to get an anoscopy procedure should empty the bladder and bowels before the test. This will help the person to be more comfortable during the procedure. The doctor may give a laxative or enema to help a person completely empty bowels before anoscopy is done.

What Does An Anoscopy Mean?

The anoscope is a rigid hollow tube that is 3 to 5 inches long, and about 2 inches wide. It is equipped with a light and lets the doctor check the anus and rectum in detail. The doctor may ask the patient to lie down in the fetal position on a table or bend forward over the table. The doctor will then insert the device, which is well lubricated with lubricating gel into the lower gastrointestinal tract through the anus. The doctor may ask the patient to strengthen internal muscles and relax as one would having a bowel movement, this aids the placement of the anoscope. As the procedure is completed, the doctor will gently withdraw the anoscope.

Additionally, the doctor may decide to do other procedures together with the anoscopy. These include:

Digital Rectal Exam (DRE): This test involves placing a gloved and lubricated finger into the rectum via the anus. It is done to find out any irregularities inside the rectal region.

Biopsy: Based on the results of other tests, the doctor may also suggest taking a small sample of tissue(biopsy).


This is a painless procedure, but the person may feel pressure or an urge to have a bowel movement. There may be a minimal amount of bleeding if the person has haemorrhoids.

What Does An Anoscopy Procedure Find Out?

This procedure can diagnose several health conditions, including:

Abscess: It is a deposit of pus that can result in swelling and other issues in the tissues around it. An abscess may be caused due to:

Any blockage in the gland

Infection or tear in the tissue (anal fissure)

Sexually transmitted infection (STI)

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Anal fissures are tears in the tissue of the anus that can develop due to the following problems:


Continuous diarrhoea

Decreased blood flow

It can also appear after pregnancy or in people with Crohn’s disease.

Haemorrhoids are swollen veins around the anus and rectum, the veins swell during extra pressure or strain. It is common in pregnant women and can also develop due to an infection or straining during a bowel movement. It can be very painful and cause bleeding


Polys are extra growths that protrude from the lining of the rectum or colon. It is usually benign, but at times can be cancerous. Regular check-ups can be helpful in preventing polyps from becoming a serious issue.


Cancer can develop in the lower GI tract, including the anus and the rectum. But cancers in this region are quite uncommon.

Also Read: Rectal Cancer: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

What To Do Post Procedure?

Anoscopy is an outpatient test, once the procedure is completed, the person can carry out regular activities. The results will help the doctor to determine further treatment plans or if they need any more testing.