Rectal examination

Rectal examination: How to perform it painlessly!

The rectal examination is feared by many men. But this can be done painlessly. It is also necessary in order to detect certain diseases such as an enlarged prostate or cancer. You can find out what the exact procedure of the examination looks like and when it is necessary here!

What is a rectal examination?

The rectal examination is a finger examination performed by a physician who penetrates the rectum and palpates it and the adjacent organs per palpation. It is an important part of the physical examination and serves to examine the lower urinary tract and prostate gland, urinary and fecal incontinence, back pain, anorectal symptoms and abdominal discomfort. The examination is carried out quickly. It is also called DRU, digital rectal examination.

This is checked during the rectal examination:

  • the anal channel
  • the sphincter muscle tension,
  • possible nodes in the anus,
  • mucosal tears,
  • bleedings,
  • shiftability of the tissue over the prostate
  • size and shape of the prostate,
  • pressure pain,
  • Hardenings,
  • Fluctuation,
  • Semenblasen

The procedure: This is how the rectal examination is performed

In order for the rectal examination to be as painless as possible, the man must lie on his side and bend his legs. It is also good if the patient relaxes so that the procedure can be carried out without any problems. Many men find it unpleasant or embarrassing to have a rectal examination. If you are afraid, discuss it with your doctor beforehand. He will explain the procedure to you. Many doctors perform the digital rectal examination in such a way that they can always see the patient.

For palpation, the doctor will use Vaseline or lubricant to help the finger be inserted into the anus painlessly, carefully and without complications. To prevent bacteria from entering the anus, the physician wears disposable gloves.

In order to loosen the sphincter muscle a little before penetration, you can press it together several times as if you were suppressing the bowel movement. After the doctor has gently inserted the finger, he carefully turns it to scan for possible hardening, knots, and ulcers and to check the prostate. The doctor will pay attention to the shape and consistency.

  • curry as aphrodisiac nutmeg cinnamon chili vanilla (pods)During the rectal examination only the posterior part of the prostate can be palpated, but exactly here about 70 percent of all changes of the organ can be felt. In addition, pressure on the prostate gland can give the doctor a secretion that comes from the urethra and is important for further analysis. Palpation still belongs to the catalog of health insurance benefits for the early detection of cancer

If suspected, transrectal ultrasound is performed

If the doctor feels something suspicious during the rectal examination, he will usually perform a transrectal ultrasound. During this examination, an ultrasound probe is inserted into the rectum. It provides exact images of the prostate gland and tissue and is used to diagnose prostate diseases such as prostate cancer. It is painless and the ultrasound does not cause any radiation exposure. This method also does not damage the tissue.


  • The transrectal ultrasound is mainly used to clarify an elevated PSA value or tumor stage. Furthermore, it allows the physician to accurately assess the shape and structure of the prostate as well as the seminal vesicles and to precisely measure the size of the prostate.

Perform rectal examination yourself

Although the examination normally takes place within the framework of cancer screening, the procedure can also be performed by the patient. This is especially useful if you have concerns or if someone in your family suffers from prostate cancer. Self-examination does not replace a visit to the doctor, of course, but it is effective to control the prostate and anus. For this to be painless, it is advisable to get tips from your urologist beforehand. So you know how to proceed step by step.

Before the rectal examination, you should wash your hands, put on sterile gloves and lubricant on your finger. Then bend forward to get better access to the prostate. In the next step, insert your finger with the nail pointing upwards and start looking for the prostate gland. If it is soft, everything is fine. If, however, you feel knots and hardenings that are about as hard as an ankle, this means that you should consult a doctor for further examinations.

If you are not sure about the procedure or want to have further tips, you will certainly find one or the other experience report from men who have already had a rectal self-examination on the Internet.

Cancer is not always detected by rectal examination

With a rectal examination, only one percent of prostate carcinomas can be determined, since these can only be felt from a certain size and volume of at least 0.2 ml. Nevertheless, this procedure is part of cancer screening, because it can be performed by any urologist without the need for equipment and is associated with low costs and little annoyance for the patients. By palpation, it is easy to find out whether the prostate is enlarged and a cause of BPS or cancer.

This post is also available in: German