An anoscopy is an exam that allows your doctor to see inside the rectum and anal canal. This exam can be used to confirm a diagnosis of hemorrhoids if a patient is complaining of itching, discomfort or rectal bleeding. An anoscopy can also be used to diagnose anal fissures, anal polyps, infection, inflammation, and tumors.

Preparing for an Anoscopy

Your doctor may recommend using laxatives, enemas, or other methods before the procedure to ensure that your bowels are completely empty. You should also empty your bladder immediately before an anoscopy. These preparations may help you feel less discomfort during the test.

The Procedure

An anoscopy is usually done in a doctor’s office. You’ll be asked to lay on your side on the exam or to bend forward over a table.  A lubricant is applied to an anoscope, a 3- to 4-inch tube that has a light on the end. The tube is gently inserted into the anus and rectum. You may be asked to push and then relax while the doctor examines the rectum through the scope. The anoscope is then slowly removed.

The procedure may cause some discomfort or a feeling of pressure, but pain medications are usually unnecessary. An anoscopy only takes a few minutes, and you should be able to return to regular activities immediately. This is a safe, painless, and quick exam.

Your doctor will be able to discuss the results of your exam immediately. If a tissue sample is taken during the exam, further testing and results may be discussed at a later date.


You may experience some anal bleeding for a short time after an anoscopy, especially if you have hemorrhoids. Mild discomfort is common, and some pain may be experienced if a biopsy is needed.