Digital Rectal Exam For Women

Submitted by Medical Health Test Team on October 19, 2012

A digital rectal exam is often used as standard procedure in the detection and diagnosis of certain conditions that afflict the organs and body structures in the pelvic and lower belly regions. While it is used in older men to check for the development of prostate cancer, it is also commonly used to check also for colorectal cancer.

The digital rectal exam for women is used to check the health of a woman's reproductive system, including the organs like the uterus and ovaries. The digital rectal exam is therefore commonly included as standard procedure by some gynecologists in routine pelvic examinations along with the Pap test. The digital rectal exam is also recommended in case there are some symptoms like pelvic pain or vaginal bleeding that cannot otherwise be diagnosed. The test may also be recommended for the detection of colorectal cancer, but for both men and women it is not recommended for those under the age of 40 years. Digital rectal exams could help to ascertain the degree of posterior vaginal wall relaxation, to check for a prolapsed of the ovary or metastatic masses from abdominal carcinoma, as well as to detect the any thickening of the rectovaginal septum.

A digital rectal exam is not just used for meant for women however, as some of the conditions that it is used to detect may be present in both men and women. While prostate cancer is naturally restricted to men other conditions like colorectal cancer are not gender specific. A digital rectal exam may also be recommended to check on symptoms like rectal bleeding or the presence of bloodied stools, changes in urinary patterns or bowel habits, and belly or pelvic pain that cannot otherwise be explained. At times this test may also be used for the collection of a sample to test for the presence of blood in stools. In certain cases it may even be used to check for and examine hemorrhoids growths. This however is not usually the best method for diagnosis of internal hemorrhoids as it involves soft tissue that is not very easy to feel.

The use of digital rectal exams as part of the routine procedure in gynecological testing has been questioned by some experts. These experts believe that the exam does not help significantly enough in the detection of conditions and even deters many patients from getting routine examinations because of the high levels of discomfort with the procedure.

More articles from the Medical Tests Category