How To Do a Self Digital Rectal Exam?

By Ashley | February 26, 2010

A digital rectal exam is performed in order to diagnose any problems with organs and structures in the pelvis and lower belly. In men, digital rectal exam is done to check the prostate glands where as in women it is done to check the uterus and the ovaries. Most of us would want to take this test by ourselves as it could be quite embarrassing for you as well as the other person to conduct the test. However, undergoing a rectal exam by yourself might not be recommended for everyone as most of the times one would not know how to go about the whole procedure. However, you can do this at home by keeping a few things in mind.


The digital rectal exam is done to find out any lesions that are present in the rectum and the prostate gland to detect prostate cancer, to find out any hemorrhoids or unusual growth in the rectum or to check for rectal bleeding. In women, this test is done to detect problems in their reproductive organs, vaginal bleeding or any pain in the pelvic region.


There are no special preparations required before the test


You can do this at home by using your finger to locate the prostate glands located at the base of your rectum. You can feel it with your fingertip and is said to be the size of a walnut. Once you feel the prostate gland, try to feel its round shape and borders. However, if you feel it is very hard it indicates there is a problem. Also, if you feel it is big enough, it probably has enlarged as a result of a swelling. Once you know you have reached the outside of the borders, try to touch the tissues in between as much as possible, while the texture overall is pretty firm. You can also do this self examination with your partner as most people would feel comfortable with each other. You can do it while taking a shower where you can use soap as a lubricant but a better option would be to use a latex glove. You must know that this test is not an alternative to the exam conducted by the physician but should be carried out in between your annual exams. If at any time you feel unsure about how to go about it or feel there is something unusual, consult your doctor immediately.