A digital rectal exam is a test that examines organs and other structures in the pelvis. A health care professional conducts the test by gently inserting a lubricated, gloved finger into the rectum. This test allows the doctor to routinely check the health of the prostate gland for men, and the uterus and ovaries for women.
This test may be done to check for abnormal growth, prostate or colorectal tumors, hemorrhoids, causes of rectal bleeding and pelvic pain, or to collect a stool sample for testing.
Risks and precautions
There is almost no risk associated with this test. During the test, you may experience some discomfort. Rarely, you may feel faint or lightheaded.
After the test, you may have some rectal bleeding if you have anorectal diseases (such as hemorrhoids).
Before the test
Be sure to tell your doctor if you have any anorectal conditions such as hemorrhoids.
If you are taking any prescription or over-the-counter (non-prescription) medications, supplements, or herbal products, make sure you inform your doctor or pharmacist. Ask them whether it is necessary for you to stop taking any of these medications and products before the test. It is also important to tell them if you have allergies to certain medications or have certain medical conditions.