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This article was published on May 15, 2013, and was last updated on May 1st, 2019 in Hemorrhoid Banding.
A digital rectal exam (or DRE) is a quick way for physicians to check for hemorrhoids and other rectal issues, such as fissures. It is rarely painful or even uncomfortable for the patient, and can typically provide the doctor with all the information she needs to make a diagnosis.
External hemorrhoids can be easily spotted. With a quick glance, your doctor will likely be able to diagnose the severity of your piles. Once your doctor has seen signs of external hemorrhoids, chances are she will then perform a DRE to check for internal hemorrhoid problems. During the exam, your doctor will use a lubricated, gloved finger to examine the inside of the rectum. For a thorough diagnosis, your physician may simultaneously use her other hand to gently press on the lower pelvic area or belly. This allows her to feel for unusual enlargements or hard lumps that could potentially be a sign of a more serious problem. A DRE may also be accompanied by anoscopy, which is used for visual inspection.
So, the short answer to the question, “Do I need a DRE test to diagnose hemorrhoids?” is no, not for external hemorrhoids. But in order to thoroughly determine whether you have internal hemorrhoids or other anal abnormalities, a digital rectal exam can be an important step in diagnosing and treating the issue.
Are you wondering if you have hemorrhoids? Have you been dealing with irritating, painful piles for years? The CRH O’Regan partner physicians are experts in the field of gastroenterology. So, whether you’ve suffered from hemorrhoids for a few weeks or a few years, it’s easy to find a doctor in your area that can get rid of them for good.