Digital Rectal Exam For Rectal Analysis
Digital Rectal Examination is a relatively
simple test to check the prostate gland. Prostate is an internal organ which lies in front of the rectum.
This examination is done for detection of prostate conditions where the examiner puts a lubricated gloved
finger of one hand into the rectum. A digital Rectal Exam is also performed for women as a part of
gynaecological examination to check uterus and ovaries. A healthy prostate gland is usually soft, smooth and
symmetrical. In case if there are irregularities in the same, some lumps, jagged areas, enlargements etc may
Relevance of Digital Rectal Exam
A Digital Rectal Examination is usually done for the detection of few conditions like rectal
bleeding, belly or pelvic pain, change in urination and bowel habits. Digital Rectal Exam helps to check any enlargement in
the prostate gland, tumor in the prostate gland etc. It also helps finding hemorrhoids such as cancer in the
rectum. As Digital Rectal Exam alone can’t
find haemorrhoids, a sigmoidoscopy may also be required to detect and diagnose internal haemorrhoids. Along
with the Digital Rectal Exam, a PSA test is also performed as part of the screening test for prostate cancer.
It is not necessary that the irregularities found in the Digital Rectal Exam and the PSA test is resulted in
prostate cancer. If the PSA level is low some other tests may be performed to detect the prostate cancer.
Abdominal Ultrasound, Magnetic resonance Imaging, Computerized Tomography are the other methods
Procedure of the Digital Rectal Examination is uncomfortable but not painful. Pain occurs in
conditions in case if the prostate is reddened due to a condition called prostatitis. Prostatitis is a
fleeting irritation of the prostate gland which typically causes the prostate to swell and become tender on
the examination. Small amount of bleeding may also happen if the patient is having haemorrhoids or other
rectal problems. A main disadvantage of this procedure is that, the doctor or the examiner will be able to
feel only the back line of the prostate and hence abnormalities present in the middle or other inner parts of
the prostate may not be known. If any irregularities are reported, a biopsy may be required for the
confirmation of the prostate cancer. Biopsy is a procedure where small tissues from the prostate gland is
removed and examined through the microscope.
Usage of Digital Rectal Examination
This examination is used for diagnoses of various conditions such as,
- Rectal and other kinds of tumours
- Prostatic disorders and benign prostatic hyperplasia;
- Appendicitis or other abdomen trouble
- Faecal incontinence, neurological diseases, or traumatic spinal cord
- Gynaecological palpations
Digital Rectal Exam is also combined with a faecal occult blood test (FOBT) that is important for the diagnosis of
gastrointestinal bleeding. Though Digital Rectal
Exam is an insufficient screening for colorectal cancer, it is an integral part of a general
examination for several types of cancers or other rectal diseases.