This test is done to allow the doctor to feel the outer surface of the prostate. The man will be asked to lie on the bed on his side with knees bent up towards his chest. As the prostate lies very close to the rectum (back passage) the doctor gently slides a gloved, lubricated finger into the back passage to the prostate to check the shape, size, condition of the prostate and if there are any lumps or bumps. Although this examination may feel a bit uncomfortable or perhaps a bit embarrassing it shouldn’t hurt and it’s usually over very quickly. It’s much better for you and the doctor if you can manage to relax.

There is a video of one man’s experience of a DRE on the BBC Radio Scotland website – to view it please click here (Prostate Scotland is not responsible for external content).

What happens next?

The GP will look at the PSA result and consider what he/she found during the DRE. Depending on the results, a referral may be made to the urologist at the local hospital for a biopsy or a scan or perhaps the GP may refer the man directly to the hospital to have a biopsy.