A digital rectal examination DRE is a simple procedure doctors use to examine the lower rectum and other internal organs. A DRE is done for a number of reasons. It can detect conditions like an enlarged prostate benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate cancer. Read more: What do you want to know about enlarged prostate BPH? The prostate is a walnut-sized organ that supplies some of the semen released during male ejaculation. This fluid nourishes and protects sperm released during intercourse.
Skip to Content. A digital rectal exam DRE is a test for both men and women. It allows a doctor to check the lower rectum, pelvis, and lower belly for cancer and other health problems, including:. A doctor may perform a DRE as part of a routine medical examination. Or a person may need a DRE if he or she has symptoms such as rectal bleeding, a change in bowel habits, urethral discharge or bleeding, or a change in urine stream.
The rectal exam is important to make sure causes of rectal bleeding such as hemorrhoids are not missed. Additionally, understanding how to palpate the prostate gland is important for looking for cancer and diagnosis prostatitis. A rectal exam should be performed on most patients with abdominal pain and any concern for blood loss. Here, we review some important steps of a compete rectal exam.
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 shouldn't 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.