Anorectal examination in emergency departments
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Anorectal examination in emergency departments

Anthony Summers Nurse practitioner, Redlands Hospital, Queensland, Australia

In the first of a two-part series, Anthony Summers discusses the signs and symptoms of some common conditions of the anus or rectum, and how they should be assessed

Many patients present to emergency departments with anorectal problems, such as haemorrhoids, anal fissure and pruritis ani. Often, patients with such problems are embarrassed about them or fearful about their potential diagnoses, so practitioners must approach history taking and examination sensitively. They should also have a good understanding of the anatomy of the anorectal area, and be able to recognise the signs and symptoms of relevant conditions. This article provides an overview of the anatomy and physiology of the anorectal area, explains how to undertake anorectal examinations, and describes the signs and symptoms of some common conditions.

Emergency Nurse. 21, 1, 22-26. doi: 10.7748/en2013.


Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 27 November 2012

Accepted: 03 March 2013

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