Medical Q&As

Proctoscopy - what does it entail?

I am a 25-year-old male and I am due to go to hospital soon to have a proctoscopy performed. What exactly does this entail?

A proctoscope is an instrument that allows the doctor to look inside the rectum. It is a short rigid metal tube with a diameter of approximately two centimetres. It can be used in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions of the rectum and anus. For example if a person is suffering from internal piles the doctor can see the piles clearly and if appropriate can inject them through the proctoscope. It is also possible to remove rectal polyps with the proctoscope. The instrument is lubricated on the outside before it is gently pushed in through the anus. This can cause some slight discomfort as the tension in the anal sphincter is overcome. Once inside the sphincter the doctor is able to get a good view of the interior of the rectum because of the light source that is an integral part of the instrument. Proctoscopy is usually performed without anaesthesia and most people are able to tolerate the procedure very well without too much discomfort. The main sensation in the rectum is one of pressure rather than frank pain. Generally the procedure should not last longer than a couple of minutes. In most cases it is performed as an outpatient procedure.