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Foreign Body, Rectum (cont.)

When to Seek Medical Care for a Foreign Body in Rectum

If you know you have a foreign body in your rectum, or think you do, seek medical help to remove it as soon as possible.

It is likely that most doctors will not have all the equipment in their offices that may be required to safely remove a rectal foreign body. A hospital's emergency department may be the best place to go.

Seek emergency medical help if you think you have a foreign object in your rectum and you have abdominal pain, bleeding, or fever.

Foreign Body in Rectum Diagnosis

Most doctors will take a careful history. They will do this in a nonjudgmental 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, 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 the patient on his or her side, and examine the anal region for evidence of tears or cuts or bruising.
  • A digital rectal examination will 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 a short, hollow tube that allows the doctor to look inside and actually see the object. Obviously, if the object is very fragile for example, a light bulb, the proctoscope will be performed with a great deal of care, if it is done at all.
  • Following the examination, the doctor may perform an X-ray or CT scan of the abdomen to see exactly where the foreign body is located. 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 the patient has abdominal pain, bleeding, or fever, then an IV line would be started and the patient would have some blood tests drawn.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/20/2016
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