What is an Anoscope?

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

An anoscope is a lighted speculum used to perform a procedure called an anoscopy. An anoscopy is an examination of the anus and rectum using an anoscope. It can be used to evaluate a number of health problems, including tears inside the anus, abnormal cell growth, and hemorrhoids.

An anoscope is used to perform an anoscopy, which is an examination of the anus and rectum.
An anoscope is used to perform an anoscopy, which is an examination of the anus and rectum.

There’s no real preparation necessary before a person has an anoscopy. Patients may choose to urinate and have a bowel movement before the procedure in order to increase their comfort during the exam. Usually, anoscopies are performed in a doctor’s office, and hospitalization is not required. A patient may learn the results of his exam soon after having the procedure. Since there are no lab results to wait for, a doctor can share the results of the exam right away.

The anus is the opening at the end of a person’s digestive tract, and the rectum is the final few inches of it. When a doctor uses an anoscope to examine this area, he usually has a patient bend over or lie on a table with his knees up in order to allow better access to the area. He then applies a lubricant to the anoscope. This makes the instrument easier to insert into the anus and ensures a greater comfort level for the patient. The doctor then inserts the instrument into the patient’s anus.

An anoscope is only a few inches long and is about as wide as a bowel movement. It’s inserted just a few inches into the anus, but some people find the idea of the examination uncomfortable and clench their muscles in response. To ease insertion, a doctor may ask the patient to push as if he is trying to have a bowel movement, relaxing his muscles immediately after the push. Not only can this help to make the insertion of the instrument more comfortable, but it may also help the doctor to note any bumps or blockages in the anus.

The light on the end of an anoscope allows a doctor to view abnormalities in the anus and the lower portion of the rectum. Once the examination is finished, a doctor usually removes the instrument slowly in order to prevent discomfort for the patient. Examination by anoscope isn’t dangerous. A patient with hemorrhoids may experience slight bleeding after the examination. Pain isn’t typical for those who have anoscopies, but many people feel the urge to have a bowel movement during the exam.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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Discussion Comments


@pastanaga - While checking on a hemorroid is one of the reasons to have an anoscopy, there are others as well. I think most of the time it isn't done for a standard case of hemorroids, actually.

It's usually done to check up on an infection or something, which makes the procedure even worse, because not only are you embarrassed, you're also worried about what the doctor might discover.


@Iluviaporos - I know this is really difficult to remember when you feel exposed and embarrassed, but to a doctor, it's just another day at the job, you know?

They don't think about this procedure any more than they think about the dozens of others they've done that month, aside from trying to make you as comfortable as possible.

But, to be honest, the best treatment for the embarrassment is prevention. The main reason people have an anoscopy is because they have developed hemorroids, and the main reason they develop those is from not eating enough fiber.

If you've ever had a motivation to get more vegetables into your diet, I'd say an anoscopy is it!


I think the worst part about an anoscope procedure like this is the embarrassment. When I knew I had to have this kind of examination I made sure to completely scrub everywhere in the shower that morning, to make sure I didn't have to worry about one aspect of it.

I also made sure I was doing it with a doctor who was the same gender as me and who I trusted to be very professional.

But, really you just have to accept that it is uncomfortable and just try to pretend that you are somewhere else. The position that you have to sit in and the fact that the doctor has to poke around back there is just not going to get any easier no matter what you do.

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