Rectal Exam under Anesthesia
This is an exam done by way of the rectum while you are asleep under anesthesia.
You will need to empty your bowels before the exam. A few days before your exam, go to the
drugstore and buy 1- bottle of magnesium citrate and 2-sodium phosphate enemas.
The Day before the Exam
▪ Eat a light breakfast and lunch, avoid greasy foods and red meat.
▪ Drink only clear liquids after lunch until midnight.
o Clear Broth
o Juice with no pulp (apple)
o Hard Candy
o Crystal Light
o Jell-O homemade from a
box only, no fruit in it
o Sparkling water or soda
o Coffee or tea, no creamer
o Ensure Active Clear
o Gatorade Recover 3
▪ At 2 pm drink at least a half the bottle of magnesium citrate (5 oz.)
▪ Drink only clear liquids until midnight. Nothing after midnight.
▪ Shower before bed with Hibiclens soap as instructed by your clinic.
You will be able to have clear liquids up to four hours before the procedure. No solid foods.
The Day of the Exam
▪ Give yourself the first enema 1½ hours before you leave home. Give yourself the second
enema ½ hour later. Shower.
▪ If your exam is not early morning, you do not need to wait to do the enemas. Do them
when you wake up in the morning.
After the Exam
Your care after the exam will depend on the results.
You may be able to go back to your normal routine in 1-2 days or you may need to follow more
More strict guidelines may include:
▪ Plan to take off work a few days to a week.
▪ Do your household and outdoor chores ahead of time, or make plans for someone to help you
for 1-2 weeks.
▪ Have someone to help watch your children for 1-2 days.
▪ Wear loose clothes.
▪ Activity per your comfort. If it hurts don’t do the activity.
▪ If you had an exam only or minor procedure, you may be able to return to your normal
routine in 2 days.
▪ You will see your surgeon 1-2 weeks after your exam.
You may have pain after surgery. Your doctor may order pain pills for you. The pain medicine
may be Tylenol , ibuprofen or a narcotic.
Pain pills can cause constipation. A diet with enough fiber and water may prevent it.
▪ 8-10 (8 oz.) glasses of fluids a day. Fluids with caffeine do not count in this total.
▪ At least 4 servings of fruits or vegetables.
▪ At least 2-4 servings of whole grain bread or cereal.
You may use a stool softener (docusate sodium) and/or a bulk fiber laxative (such as Metamucil ) to
prevent constipation. You can buy these over the counter and follow the package directions.
When to Call the Doctor
▪ Problems having a bowel movement
▪ Temperature by mouth over 100.4 θF for two readings taken four hours apart
▪ Pain not relieved by pain pills
▪ Bleeding that does not stop after 10 minutes of applied pressure to the rectal area
Digestive Health Center: (608) 890-5000.
After hours, weekends or holidays this number will be answered by the paging operator. Ask
for the doctor on call or ask for Dr. Harms, Heise, Kennedy, Foley or Carchman. Leave your
name and phone number with area code. The doctor will call you back.
If you live out of the area, call (855) 342-9900.
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 9/2015 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#4755.