A Rectal Exam During a Pelvic Exam: Is this normal?

It is standard procedure to receive a rectal exam during a pelvic exam, regardless of whether or not a woman's uterus is tipped.

The vagina and the rectum are two tube- like structures that lie on top of one another in the body. The vagina is on top, or closest to the stomach wall. Between the two tubes is a space. It is like a third tube, except it ends in a blind pouch, instead of exiting the body at the vulva or the anus, like the other two. Sometimes, problems in the pelvic organs cause cells and tissue related to the problem to collect in this pouch and the tissue below it. By inserting an index finger in the vagina and the middle finger in the rectum at the same time, the physician is able to feel for any abnormalities that may be present.

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