Jump to content. A digital finger rectal examination is done to check for problems with organs or other structures in the pelvis and lower belly. During the examination, the doctor gently puts a lubricated, gloved finger of one hand into the rectum. He or she may use the other hand to press on the lower belly or pelvic area. A digital rectal exam may be done for men as part of a complete physical examination to check the prostate gland.
An annual pelvic exam is recommended for all women and can consist of some or all of the following procedures: the external genital exam, the speculum exam, the bimanual exam, and the recto-vaginal exam. Gynecologists will sometimes perform a rectovaginal exam in addition to a normal pelvic exam. To do this, your doctor will insert a gloved, lubricated finger into the vagina and another from the same hand into the rectum. He or she will then palpate examine by feeling the abdomen with the free hand. A recto-vaginal exam allows doctors to examine and identify abnormalities in the pelvic area, most specifically those of the uterus and ovaries.
Professional Reference articles are designed for health professionals to use. You may find one of our health articles more useful. Rectal examination is an important part of the abdominal examination and genitourinary examination.
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:.