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Digital rectal examination


Brief Description – A digital rectal examination is an examination of the lower rectum. The doctor uses a gloved, lubricated finger to check for any abnormal findings.


Why the Test is Performed

This test is performed for many reasons. It may be done:

  •  As part of a routine yearly physical exam in both men and women
  •  When your doctor suspects you are bleeding somewhere in your digestive tract
  •  When men are having symptoms that suggest the prostate is enlargedIn men, the test can be used to check the size of the prostate and to look for abnormal bumps or other changes of the prostate gland. A digital rectal exam may be done to collect stool for testing for faecal occult (hidden) blood as part of screening for colorectal cancer.

    How the Test is Performed

    The doctor will first look at the outside of the anus for haemorrhoids or fissures. Then he or she will put on a latex glove and insert a lubricated finger into the rectum. In women, this exam may be done at the same time as a pelvic exam.

    How to Prepare For the Test

    It is a routine part of physical examination and as such requires no special preparation.

    During the Test

    You may feel mild discomfort during this test. Try to relax and take a deep breath during the insertion of the finger into your rectum.

    After the Test

    After the test you may feel a little sore.


    There is no known risk associated with digital rectal examination.

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