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Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the
Harvard Medical School

What Happens During the Test?

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 who do not have pain with bowel movements do not feel pain from anoscopy.

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