Digital Rectal Examination – The physical and digital examination of the anal and rectal area is not only important, but is often most helpful in making a diagnosis. The physical inspection will reveal visible abnormalities to the skin and tissue. In the digital exam, the doctor will carefully insert a lubricated, gloved finger into the anus. This again is helpful to reveal possible abnormalities, including lack of sensation in the rectum. During the digital exam, the patient is asked to bear down as if having a bowel movement. This exam provides clues to the doctor, as to whether or not a patient has dyssynergic defecation.
Digital rectal examination is a good screening tool for identifying dyssynergia. Despite this, not all doctors have sufficient knowledge of this useful clinical tool. This is an area of clinical medicine where improved training is needed.
If dyssynergic defecation is suspected after the physical examination, the doctor will likely order one or more tests to confirm the suspicion. These tests can measure different functions in the colon and rectum, and identify abnormal patterns.