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Digital Rectal Examination (DRE)

What is a DRE?

About

A DRE is a rather simple physical measure to evaluate both men and women for prostate cancer and ovarian or uterine cancer in women or other complications. The patient is asked to lie on his side or her back on an exam table. The examining doctor inserts a well-lubricated and glove-covered finger in the rectum and feels the internal organs. He may apply pressure on the lower abdomen or pelvis of women with the other hand.

When is DRE recommended?

Apart from prostate or uterine or ovarian cancer, the object could be to identify medical complications such as external hemorrhoids, condyloma, abrasions, abscesses, decubitus ulcers, or cellulitis or sometimes malignancies. It is done when there is blood in stools or on the presence of a mass in the rectum or anus. Urethral discharge, change in bowel movements, and in urine stream also indicates the need for a DRE.

Preparing for DRE

Presence of anal fissures or hemorrhoids must be reported as the DRE could worsen them. You may confirm the costs that you may have to bear for the examination. The risks and benefits of DRE are listed on a document and signed by you at the doctor’s office.
You’ll be asked to lie on your side or back, stay standing, or bend as per your ease. You’ll have to remove your clothes from below the waist and be given a towel to wrap around.

Understanding DRE results

The doctor will explain his findings immediately after the examination, regarding any bumps, tenderness, enlargement of the prostate, hemorrhoids, or other abnormalities. In case of any uncertainty, you’ll have to undergo further tests.
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