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Molly Maloof, MD

Director of Clinical Content

baby care

Is it ok for a doctor to check a babys rectum with little finger to see if baby poop has blood in it
  • Male | 28 years old
  • Medications: Baby Tylenol
  • Conditions: No just ear infection but as been off amoxicillin for two weeks

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Featured Answer

3 UpVoted this answer Firas Rabi, MD Pediatrician, Dublin Marilyn Dumont-Driscoll, MD, PhD Pediatrics, Gainesville
Not only is it OK to examine the anus (place where the poop comes out) with a gloved, lubricated, 5th finger, at times it is required. While there may be other ways to obtain a stool specimen (cotton swab, rectal thermometer with a rotation or two before removing it), the pediatrician can gain valuable information with his/her "pinkie".

As an example, in a constipated baby, the finger can tell not only if stool is present in "the vault", but whether it is hard or soft. True constipation stools are hard. Babies which are constipated ever since birth actually REQUIRE a digital exam, by the pediatrician or gastroenterologist, to determine the "tone" of the musculature around the anus is appropriate. Failure to do this can miss a very important congenital diagnosis.
3 UpVoted this answer Marilyn Dumont-Driscoll, MD, PhD Pediatrics, Gainesville
While it may seem barbaric, the pinky finger is the smallest finger and thus, this is the finger we use to check a baby's rectum with. The stool that we collect with the finger can then be examined for blood.
Shefali Chheda
2 UpVoted this answer Marilyn Dumont-Driscoll, MD, PhD Pediatrics, Gainesville
This is perfectly acceptable part of physical examination of the baby
1 UpVoted this answer
Highly unlikely to find anything using a digit. Most bleeding in an infant comes from passin hard stool resulting in small anal tears. Or diarrhea usually from feeding intolerance. I have used my finger tip since o have small hands to feel for hard stool or to rectally stimulate if no BM but usually I use a qtip with lubricant which frequently does the trick
1 UpVoted this answer Marilyn Dumont-Driscoll, MD, PhD Pediatrics, Gainesville
Dr. McMahon has the most appropriate answer here. It is not only appropriate, but often necessary to perform a digital rectal exam. And it is often a sign of a pediatrician who is thorough in their approach.
Firas Rabi
1 UpVoted this answer Marilyn Dumont-Driscoll, MD, PhD Pediatrics, Gainesville
If there is a reason to check for a blood in stool for a test called stool guiac where you mix a stool sample with a chemical to check for blood and you don't have a stool in the diaper the doctor may use a gloved finger
Hanna Gebre Medhin
1 UpVoted this answer Marilyn Dumont-Driscoll, MD, PhD Pediatrics, Gainesville
Yes. It is usual practice to insert the gloved little finger into the rectum to check the tone of the sphincter, the consistency of stool and whether there is impaction. Sometimes there is gross blood that could be seen. Other times, a test must be done on the stool to check for microscopic bleeding.
1 UpVoted this answer Marilyn Dumont-Driscoll, MD, PhD Pediatrics, Gainesville
Unless the baby's diaper already has stool in it for testing purposes, the doctor needs to collect a stool sample by using his/her little finger. This sample can then be used to test for presence of any blood in the stool.
What is 1st procedure to check for blood in babies poop, when there are bloody stool samples available.
Had several diapers with blood stool samples and dr insisted on putting finger in rectally and was very rough with my son.