The Digital Rectal Exam

Don’t forget about DRE…

Much of the world’s moved to a remote working model, and having to see patients through Zoom or Skype gives whole new meaning to the digital rectal exam!

Although an uncomfortabe physical maneuver, it is a useful one, and can even be spine-saving. There’s a neurological emergency known as cauda equina (literally meaning “horse tail”) in which the nerve endings at the bottom of the spinal cord are compressed, resulting in lower back pain, numbness in your crotch and along your inner thighs, and loss of rectal tone (meaning you can’t control your anal sphincter). Other conditions that the exam screens for prostate disease, gastrointestinal bleeding, and rectal abscesses.

Image created with iPad Pro 10.2″, Apple pen, and Procreate
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