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Examination of anus/ Rectal examination
Why do I need a rectal examination?
There are a number of reasons why anal and rectal examinations may be required, including bleeding and pain in the area, or symptoms such as ongoing constipation or bowel incontinence (difficulty controlling bowel movements). For men, rectal examinations can also be used to check the prostate gland. A physical examination can be useful for detecting any abnormalities or symptoms which may need to be investigated further.
While it’s understandable that some people find the procedure a bit embarrassing, it’s helpful to remember that for doctors, this is a very routine and common part of their job. Your doctor will talk you through what’s going to happen; you’ll usually be asked to lie on your side with your knees lifted towards your chest while the examination is carried out. Although it can be a little uncomfortable, it shouldn’t be painful. If you are experiencing rectal pain and are worried about the examination being painful, tell your doctor – it might be possible for a local anaesthetic to be used to numb the area first.
Rectal examinations are usually very quick. Once you are dressed, your doctor will be able to discuss any initial results with you immediately afterwards, and whether they think any further investigations or treatments are needed.