Digital Rectal Exam (DRE) Overview
Over the course of their adult life, both men and women will most likely receive a digital rectal (finger) exam—at one point or another—during a routine health examination. This procedure is performed so that a doctor can check for problems associated with the organs and structures in the pelvis and lower belly. During the examination, your doctor will gently put a lubricated, gloved finger of one hand into the rectum while using the opposite hand to place and put pressure on the lower belly or pelvic area. For men, this procedure is typically performed while standing up and is most commonly used during a prostate exam, while for women, it is performed lying on a table during their annual pap smear examination in order to check for abnormalities in the uterus.