What is an Anoscopy?
An anoscopy is a simple medical procedure that evaluates a person’s gastrointestinal tract especially the anus and rectum to identify any abnormal growth in the area. An instrument is used to observe the lower region of the rectum and the wall of the anus. It is used to diagnose hemorrhoids, fissures (tears in the lining of the anus), and cancer in that region. This procedure is performed using a device known as anoscopy and lasts for about 20-30 minutes.
What is the function of the GI system?
The gastrointestinal tract is responsible for the consumption, digestion, and expulsion of food and liquids consumed by an individual. It includes various body parts like mouth, pharynx, salivary glands, liver, gall bladder, stomach, spleen, pancreas, large and small intestine, rectum and anus.
The main function of the gastrointestinal tract is to break down the food, absorb the nutrients and provide energy for the body to continue functioning. It also stores the unabsorbed food and ensures that is get expelled from the body. This tract plays a vital role in maintaining the health of any human being.
Are gastrointestinal disorders on a rise in India?
GI disorders vary from mild illness, discomfort to lifelong disorders and sometimes life-threatening ones like cancers. With a surge in fast-food culture, people have begun investing more and more additives and unhealthy amounts of fat and sugar in recent decades.
Since 1990, there has been a visible decrease in gastrointestinal infectious disease but an increase in diseases like liver cancer, pancreatitis, appendicitis, etc. Though mortality rates due to gastrointestinal issues have decreased over the years, there has been an increase in the prevalence of gastrointestinal problems in India.
Why should one undergo anoscopy?
The anal and the rectum play the most important role in the body. After all the nutrition for the food is taken and distributed through the body, the remaining unused food and toxins need to be expelled from the body which done with the help of the rectum and the anus. Sometimes the remaining food or toxins can create the following complications that warrant an individual to undergo anoscopy.
Cancer: Cancerous tumors can grow at any part of the body. In order to detect tumors in the lower digestive tract, especially the anus and rectum an anoscopy is required.
Abscess: This is a condition where a certain amount of pus starts developing in the anus. It can be caused by several reasons like infection, blockage of a gland, sexually transmitted infection, anal fissure, etc. An anoscopy will help in detecting the same so that the right medication or treatment can be prescribed.
Inflammation: The rectum and anal lining are extremely susceptible to swelling and inflammation. This can be detected and then treated accordingly with the help of an anoscopy.
Anal fissures: This refers to a tear in the lining of the tissue of the anus. This can occur due to constipation, bowel movements, a prolonged period of diarrhea and a decrease in blood flow. It is commonly found in people of all age groups.
Anal polyps: Polyps are growths that develop on the lining of the rectum or the colon. They are normally benign but regular screening helps in avoiding them or knowing if they are malignant or cancerous.
Hemorrhoids: This is a condition that occurs due to swelling of the vein in the anus or the rectum. These swollen veins can be extremely painful and cause bleeding. It commonly occurs during pregnancy or due to strained bowel movements.
How is an anoscopy performed?
The patient will be asked to lie down on their side with their knees drawn to their chest. For the procedure, the doctor will request the patient to remove all forms of clothing and material from their lower part of the body. They will then use a device known as an anoscope for diagnosing the issue.
This device is a rigid tube that is three to four inches long and about two inches wide. It allows the doctor or healthcare physician to examine the anus and rectum at the detail. Before inserting the device, it would be coated with an antiseptic lubricant.
It would be inserted lightly inside the anus. Next, a cotton swab coated with a certain liquid will be inserted into the device. The device is first removed gently and the cotton swab will remain inside for a few more seconds.
The liquid on the cotton swab will help in identifying the abnormal cells quickly. Once the cotton swab is taken out the device will be inserted in again for examination. If any abnormal growth has been detected then the doctor may also request a biopsy to take place.
For a more detailed examination, a high-resolution colposcope would be used. This is a high magnifying device that is used to further examine the interiors. This part of the examination might be done by the colorectal surgeon. Once the examination is the device will be withdrawn.
What preparations need to be done for an Anoscopy?
The patient needs to inform their physician about any current medication they are consuming. Based on the kind of medication, the patient might have to stop consuming the medication a few hours before the examination. The doctor or the healthcare physician will also request the patient to empty their bowel and bladder for the examination. Sometimes they might prescribe laxatives for the same. There is no fasting required for this procedure.
What are the possible results of an Anoscopy?
A patient can immediately avail of the anoscopy results and have it interpreted by a healthcare physician. In case the healthcare physician also recommends a biopsy, then the results will only come out after a few days.
Normal results suggest no bleeding, hemorrhoids, inflammation, infection, and other issues. It shows that the anal canal is normal in shape, size, and color. Abnormal results indicate the presence of abnormal growth, hemorrhoids, fissures, etc.
What is the cost of undergoing an anoscopy procedure in India?
The price for this procedure varies from region to region from private to public hospitals throughout the country. The price ranges from 10000- 40000 in India.
Is the anoscopy procedure recommended for pregnant women?
Yes, since hemorrhoids are quite common among pregnant females, at times this diagnostic method could be prescribed for them. The patient needs to inform the doctor prior to the procedure about the pregnancy. This has also been used for the early detection of rectal carcinoma in pregnant women.
Can children and infants undergo this procedure?
In rare cases, if the doctor suspects anal/rectal abnormalities in an infant, an anoscopy procedure could be prescribed. It is mostly performed to diagnose anal fistulas in infants and children.
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