Offering Colorectal Exams in Southeastern MA
A colorectal exam, or digital rectal exam (DRE), is a physical exam of your rectum. Your gynecologist or primary care doctor may perform this as part of a pelvic exam. It involves inserting a lubricated, gloved finger into your rectum to feel for abnormalities. While the procedure can be uncomfortable, it should not be painful.
Reasons for a Colorectal Exam
Your doctor at Southcoast may perform a colorectal exam for the following reasons:
- To screen for rectal, ovarian or uterine cancer
- As part of a routine exam, but not all doctors include a colorectal exam
- To evaluate pelvic support problems, such as pelvic organ prolapse
- To evaluate symptoms, such as changes in bowel habits, pelvic pain and rectal bleeding
After the exam, you may experience slight rectal bleeding. This is especially true if you suffer from hemorrhoids or anal fissures. Tell your doctor if the bleeding is heavy or doesn’t stop.
What to Expect
If your doctor includes a colorectal exam it will only take only a few minutes. If you’re a woman and your doctor includes a colorectal exam during a pelvic exam, it will likely take place after your vaginal exam. Your doctor will ask you to breathe deeply and relax. After your doctor inserts a finger, he or she may press on your lower belly or a woman’s pelvic area. This can help your doctor better feel the organs in your pelvis. Your doctor will tell you what is happening at each step, so you know what to expect. They may also use a sigmoidoscopy to examine the rectum and colon more closely.
Schedule Your Annual Exam at Southcoast Health
Easily make an appointment for your annual colorectal or gynecological exam at a Southcoast Health location near you today.
Southcoast Health provides colorectal exams for patients across southeastern Massachusetts and parts of Rhode Island.