Rectal examination is an examination of the rectum and anus of a patient, done by a doctor. In special cases, it is part of the physical examination.


A rectal examination is carried out for several reasons. This examination is essential in determining defects of the prostate. The examination is also conducted in case of urinary problems, in detecting hemorrhoids or constipation and in detecting a tumor in the rectum. The latter is fortunately rare.


With a rectal examination, the doctor can feel the rear section of the prostate. In most cases, any malignant tumor is found in this rear section. The result of a rectal examination, however, is not one hundred percent reliable. Therefore, additional examination is often necessary.


A gloved, well smoothed finger is inserted into the rectum through the sphincter. In this way, the size, shape, strength and surface of the body part to be examined (such as the prostate) can be evaluated. Palpation of the prostate can be done in different postures and is usually not painful. But it may cause an unpleasant feeling, because the sphincter of the rectum must be passed. Rectal examination doesn’t last long.