When it is time for a man to get his prostate checked, he is going in for a digital rectal exam. This involves a doctor feeling around inside another man’s butt with his finger to see if something doesn’t feel right. The doctor may find a prostate that is inflamed possibly from an infection, the prostate could be enlarged or the patient may have prostate cancer. Since doctors are trained and study for years in their field, it is not suggested to perform an exam on yourself. One possibility if you do is you may end up with the wrong conclusion. If you still insist on giving yourself an exam, you should study the strategies that an examining doctor would use.
Based On Your Age, Do You Need A Prostate Exam?
It is recommended that all men have their first prostate check when they become 50 years old. It is then recommended to make that prostate check an annual event. However, it could be decided you start this check sooner especially if you fall under one of the following circumstances:
Start at 40 if two or more members in your immediate family had prostate cancer before they reached the age of 65.Start at 45 if one member of your immediate family had not reached 65 before being diagnosed with prostate cancer.If you are African-American and at least the age of 45 since the risk of prostate cancer increases.
Are There Problems When You Urinate?
You could have problems with your prostate if you are suffering from problems from your penis, urethra or bladder. The prostate could press against these parts which then causes suffering. You may need a prostate check if you experience one or more of the following symptoms:
It takes really long to urinate.It is really hard to urinate.You are up multiple times during the middle of the night from needing to urinate.It burns when you urinate.You discover blood mixed in your urine.When you ejaculate, it’s painful.You suffer from lower back pain.
Consulting With A Physician
If you have one or more of the following symptoms, there could be other things responsible that no rectal exam would discover. Other tests could be conducted by a licensed physician:
To check for suspect tissues inside your rectum, a doctor would use a transrectal ultrasound.To get on a definitive answer on whether cancer exists, a biopsy may be a necessity.
Take A PSA Test
PSA stands for prostate-specific antigens. This will be a test done by the lab if there are weird problems in your prostate. Too many of these antigens could be a problem.
Results from this kind of test could be wrong. That is why the Preventive Task Force of the United States is against these kinds of tests.Riding a bike, rectal exams, prostate infection, and ejaculation can cause increased levels of these antigens. If you have increased levels of these antigens but are not suffering from symptoms, you should come back for a second test in a couple of days.A biopsy or a rectal exam may be needed if there are too many antigens detected.If you have less then 55% of what is considered normal to have of these antigens, you only need to get checked out once every two years instead of annually.
Giving Yourself A Prostate Check
As stated before, you might want a doctor to perform this test. While it may sound easy to perform on yourself, The person who feels around has to know what they are looking for:
One thing that could lead to complications could include bleeding from puncturing a cyst with your nail. If this led to an infection, you would require a real physician. If you find things that are not normal and tell your doctor, he will have to do the exam himself to give a proper diagnosis of what you found.
Get In The Correct Position To Administer The Test
If you decide to go ahead with administering the test yourself, you have to get in the right position. You can either lean forward while standing or bring your knees up while you are lying on your side. This will make accessing the rectum as easy as possible.
Check For Skin Problems
You will either need a mirror or a second person for this part. Check for hemorrhoids, warts or cysts and other things around the butt. If anything is found, that could be a warning sign that something is wrong.
This Is Where The Glove Comes In
Whoever is going to perform the exam should put on a clean latex glove. Before you put the glove on, you will want to wash your hands to make sure the glove remains clean. You will still need a glove even though the person wearing a glove will only need his index finger.
Make sure you have cut your fingernails before washing your hands and putting on the glove. You could create more problems by accident if you have long fingernails.
There will be less resistance if you put KY Jelly or Vaseline on the glove. Put a good amount on the index finger.
In The Rectum, Check The Walls
Once the person performing the exam has inserted their finger, the person should move their finger either clockwise or counterclockwise. You are looking for lumps or bumps which would indicate problems. If the surface feels smooth then there are no problems but remember to not use too much force.
Check The Wall Near The Stomach
The prostate is located in front of the wall near your stomach. There is a problem if the area is delicate, bigger then it should be, or has a rough surface.
The Exam Is Done
With a doctor who knows how to do the test, it should take about ten seconds to complete. Pain will be experienced by the patient if you take too long to give the test. After the person removes the glove from their hand, it would be advisable to wash the hands again.
Talk With Your Doctor
You will want to keep your doctor informed of all findings even if the test went smoothly. If it looked like there were problems, let your doctor know but let him know you performed an exam on yourself. That way if a PSA test is done by your doctor, it can explain the high level of antigens.