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Foreign Body, Rectum

Exams and Tests

Most doctors will perform a careful history. They will do this in a non-judgmental way, but out of necessity will have to ask some very personal questions.

  • Doctors will particularly want to know these details:
    • 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 may 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. 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 or cuts or bruising.
    • A digital examination will then be performed. The doctor will use a gloved finger.
    • 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.
  • Following the examination, the doctor may perform an x-ray of the abdomen to see exactly where the foreign body is. The doctor will also be looking to make sure that there is no "free air" in the abdomen. This is found if there has been a perforation of the bowel. If you have abdominal pain, or bleeding, or fever, then an IV line would be started and you would have some blood tests drawn.

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. If a rectal foreign body is present, the sooner it is removed the better.

WebMD Medical Reference from eMedicineHealth

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