Boots WebMD Partners in Health
Return To Boots

Bowel cancer health centre

Select a topic to explore more.
Select An Article


Proctoscopy is an examination of the lower part of the rectum and anal canal with a special 7-10 cm tubular instrument called a proctoscope that's inserted through the anus.

The proctoscopy is done with the person lying on an examination bed on their left side with the knees bent and the bottom exposed.

The doctor will usually check the anus first using a lubricated gloved finger.

Proctoscopy is usually done as an outpatient procedure and may be performed to:

  • Detect conditions affecting the rectum or anus, including fistulae and fissures
  • Examine or treat piles (haemorrhoids)
  • To evaluate abnormal results of a barium enema test
  • To investigate causes of rectal bleeding
  • To monitor growth of benign polyps
  • To check for bowel cancer recurrence.

No special preparation is usually needed before having a proctoscopy, but if the problem being investigated involves constipation-related problems, help to empty the bowels may be given on the morning of the test.

A similar procedure to proctoscopy is sigmoidoscopy which uses a longer tube to examine areas further inside the bowel.

Next Article:

WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on September 19, 2016

Popular slideshows & tools on BootsWebMD

How to help headache pain
rash on skin
Top eczema triggers to avoid
Causes of fatigue & how to fight it
Tips to support digestive health
woman looking at pregnancy test
Is your body ready for pregnancy?
woman sleeping
Sleep better tonight
Treating your child's cold or fever
fifth disease
Illnesses every parent should know
spoonfull of sugar
Surprising things that harm your liver
woman holding stomach
Understand this common condition
What your nails say about your health