Health A-Z

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Once you have described your symptoms, your doctor will ask questions about your medical history and lifestyle that will help in evaluating your anal problem. Depending on your symptoms, the doctor may ask about:

  • Your bowel habits, especially any history of constipation

  • Your medical history, including any history of bleeding disorders, episodes of rectal bleeding, inflammatory bowel disease, sexually transmitted diseases or radiation treatment for cancer

  • Your use of prescription or nonprescription medications that may increase the risk of bleeding

  • Whether you practice anal intercourse or have any history of anal trauma

Next, your doctor will perform a physical examination of your abdomen, followed by an external examination of your anal area and a digital (finger) rectal examination. Usually your doctor will also perform anoscopy (insertion of a tubelike instrument into the anus to look inside the anal canal) and sigmoidoscopy (a short telescope to examine the rectum and lower colon).

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