Infant rectal exam

  1. 0
    My 3 week old daughter has recently been having quite a bit of intestinal trouble suggestive of reflux. The childrens GI specialist is recommending that my GP do a digital rectal exam. This is scaring me quite a bit d/t the fact that she is only 7 lbs. I am a nurse myself but baby/peds is not my patient population. Do any of you have experience with this or have seen this done. My GP assures me that it is okay to do, but I worry about perforation and also is it very painful for the little ones? GP says that the exam is done using her pinky finger. Just worrying a lot, the appt is tomorrow. Thanks in advance for your replies.
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  3. 8 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    Sorry that your little one is having problems and that you are going through this. I don't have any experience in peds. However, I remember the heartwrenching choice of letting the MD cath my baby girl--it was a hard chioce, but I ended up trusting our relationship and her knowledge.
    If you are really uncomfortable, perhaps you can postpone the appointment for a day or two while you do some research?
    Best wishes to you and your baby.
  5. 0
    Hmmm. I dunno nothing about peds but I simply cannot imagine what one might find from a digital rectal on on infant. If this were my child I would ask the MD "How will the result of this exam change the diagnosis or treatment plan?"

    Sorry your babe is having a rough time...
  6. 0
    I'm sure digital rectal exams have their place, but I can't see how it's going to help diagnose reflux in an infant. I would ask lots of questions about what they are looking for etc.
    Good luck.
  7. 0
    If she's pooping OK I would want to know what he's looking for. I wouldn't expect him to insert his finger past the first knuckle, based on exams I've seen in the past. And no rooting around in there!
  8. 0
    I agree with asking for a rationale. I'm guessing they are making sure there is not a blockage (i.e. constipation)? That was my first thought.
  9. 1
    I would ask the provider why and what they hope to accomplish. Beyond that, anything we say is speculation.
    caregiver1977 likes this.
  10. 0
    Quote from grace202004
    My 3 week old daughter has recently been having quite a bit of intestinal trouble suggestive of reflux. The childrens GI specialist is recommending that my GP do a digital rectal exam. This is scaring me quite a bit d/t the fact that she is only 7 lbs. I am a nurse myself but baby/peds is not my patient population. Do any of you have experience with this or have seen this done. My GP assures me that it is okay to do, but I worry about perforation and also is it very painful for the little ones? GP says that the exam is done using her pinky finger. Just worrying a lot, the appt is tomorrow. Thanks in advance for your replies.
    I'm responding as a mother, not so much as a nurse.

    Your concerns are valid and I would have the same questions.

    However, I would not let an inexperienced GP perform an exam and in fact, I would probably want her to be seen by a specialist...because if a GP finds problem, that is who they are going to refer you to anyway.

    I would prefer her to go to someone who has experience with that (even if it is necessary) rather than someone who might do that a couple of times a year.
  11. 1
    They are looking for something lower down, esp if she is having vomiting and abd distention, etc. There are a few things that kind of mimic reflux, which we are quick to diagnosis. I'd probably let the GP do it, but first ask if he knows what he is looking for.
    TinyHineyRN likes this.


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