When using defaecography as a radiological tool for diagnosing the anorectal function in female patients, the ovaries are inevitably directly exposed. With the aim of minimising the ovarian dose applied both the area-dose product and the surface dose above the ovaries were measured during investigations of female patients with a digital C-arm unit. These values were converted into ovarian doses using tissue-air ratios. From the surface dose measured with TLD-100 a mean ovarian dose of 15.6 +/- 8.6 mGy was derived. The contributions of screening and film exposures were similar. A reduction of screening time by 10 seconds or omission of 60 film exposures results in a decrease of ovarian dose by values between 0.7 and 2 mGy. Employing a greater focus-skin distance during defaecography, however, made it possible to reduce the ovarian dose by 26%.