First Time User? Enroll now.
COVID-19: Vaccine information, visitor restrictions, and additional resources | Medicaid: The program is changing and you must take steps to keep your UNC Health providers
Home > Health Library > Digital rectal exam
A digital (finger) rectal examination checks for abnormalities of organs or other structures in the pelvis and lower abdomen. During a digital rectal exam, a doctor inserts a lubricated, gloved finger of one hand into the rectum and may use the other hand to press on the lower abdomen or pelvic area.
The exam is commonly done to check the prostate gland in men and the uterus and ovaries in women. The doctor can also feel other structures during the exam.
A digital rectal exam is routinely done for men as part of a complete physical exam and for women as part of a regular gynecological exam (usually done at the time of a Pap test). The exam may also be done to help identify the cause of symptoms such as rectal bleeding or blood in the stool, abdominal or pelvic pain, a change in bowel habits, or urinary problems in men.
Current as of: December 17, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Jimmy Ruiz MD - Hematology, Oncology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2021 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
2615 Lake Drive
Raleigh, NC 27607
901 Ridgefield Drive
Raleigh, NC 27609
934 Vandora Springs Road
Garner, NC 27529
1505 SW Cary Parkway
Cary, NC 27511
501 Health Park Drive
Garner, NC 27529