Back to Health A to Z. A rectal examination is where a doctor or nurse uses their finger to check for any problems inside your bottom rectum. It's usually very quick and you should not feel any pain. Men sometimes need a rectal examination to check for problems with the prostate. Your doctor or nurse should explain what's going to happen and why you need a rectal examination. First, you'll be asked to undress from the waist down.
Rectal Examination. What is a rectal examination for? | Patient
Skip to Content. A digital rectal exam DRE is a test that examines a person's lower rectum, pelvis, and lower belly. This test can help your doctor check for cancer and other health problems, including:. Prostate cancer in men. Uterine cancer or ovarian cancer in women, along with a vaginal examination. A doctor may do a DRE as part of a routine medical examination. Or you may need a DRE if you have symptoms such as:.
A digital finger rectal examination is done to check for problems with organs or other structures in the pelvis and lower belly. During the examination, the doctor gently puts a lubricated, gloved finger of one hand into the rectum. He or she may use the other hand to press on the lower belly or pelvic area. A digital rectal exam may be done for men as part of a complete physical examination to check the prostate gland.
NCBI Bookshelf. Boston: Butterworths; A wag once remarked, with considerable truth, that a consultant is a doctor who makes a rectal examination. Rectal examination consists of visual inspection of the perianal skin, digital palpation of the rectum, and assessment of neuromuscular function of the perineum.