Rectal examination

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If you ever submit to a digital rectal examination, it would be wise to avoid letting Mr World's Largest Hands Zhao Liang have a go.

There will, unfortunately, be times when it is necessary for you to place a finger inside the rear end of your patient. No one likes it, not the doctors, not the patients, not your finger; but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

"But doctor, why?!"

So its unpleasant, but important. There are 4 times when it is vital to perform a PR:

  • PR bleed - this is the classic reason. If you have a patient with rectal bleeding, the first thing a senior will say is "Have you done a PR".
  • Unexplained leg oedema -
  • Tenesmus (the feeling of constantly needing to poo) - ever had a really spicy curry? You might have experienced this. Can be a rare presentation of bowel cancer.
  • Urinary disturbance (in men) -

Finger up the bum!

So, you've decided to do a DRE. How to do it, is the next question...