The digital rectal examination (DRE) is used to check the prostate in men. It can also be used to feel the size and location of other pelvic organs. This can help diagnose changes in urination and problems with the prostate and other organs, including cancer.
DRE is done by a doctor with another health professional present as an observer. The doctor wears gloves on both hands. Using lubrication, the doctor inserts a finger (“digit”) into the rectum and then feels the prostate (Figure 1). The doctor might press the abdomen with the other hand to feel the pelvic organs from inside and outside. If pressing the organs causes pain, tell the doctor.