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Foreign Body, Rectum

Exams and Tests continued...

Doctors will particularly want to know:

  • Exactly what the object is (or could be in the case of children or psychiatric patients who cannot give a history)
  • How long it has been there
  • What attempts have been made already to try to remove it

The doctor will also want to know about abdominal pain, fever or temperature, and whether there has been any evidence of rectal bleeding.

An examination will follow the history. This will include a careful examination of the abdomen and a rectal examination.

  • The doctor will position you on your side and examine the anal region for evidence of tears, cuts, or bruising.
  • A digital examination will then be performed. The doctor will use a gloved finger for this.
  • Sometimes the doctor will use an object called a proctoscope, which is passed into the anus. This instrument is like a short, hollow tube that allows the doctor to look inside and actually see the object. Obviously, if the object is very fragile—a light bulb, for example—the proctoscope needs to be performed with a great deal of care, if it is done at all.

After the examination, the doctor may ask for an X-ray of the abdomen to see exactly where the object is. The doctor will also be looking to see that there is no "free air" in the abdomen, which would indicate that the bowel has been perforated. If you have abdominal pain, or bleeding, or fever, then an IV line would be started and you would have some blood tests done.

Rectal Foreign Object Treatment - Self-Care at Home

As a general rule, most people who have a foreign object in their rectum that cannot be seen or felt outside the anus need to seek medical attention. Many people, probably through embarrassment or fear of ridicule, will attempt to remove the item themselves. This is often very difficult and can only be accomplished by a doctor.

Most laxatives are too slow in onset to be effective. The sooner an object in the rectum is removed the better.

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