Home Men Health Need a Prostate Exam? Here’s What to Expect

Need a Prostate Exam? Here’s What to Expect

Need a Prostate Exam? Here’s What to Expect

WEDNESDAY, May 31, 2023 (HealthDay News) — You’re due for a prostate exam, but you don’t know what to anticipate.

So, what is that this exam like?

Regular check-ups are essential for maintaining your health, and a prostate exam is crucial to preventive take care of men. Not only is it a screening test for early signs of prostate cancer, nevertheless it also helps detect other potential health issues.

Here, experts walk you thru what a prostate exam entails, when to think about scheduling one, the right way to prepare, and what the outcomes might mean for you. So, dive in and learn more about this medical examination that each man should get in some unspecified time in the future in his life.

What’s a prostate exam?

Per the Cleveland Clinic, a prostate exam is a screening method to detect early signs of prostate cancer. Typically, the exam involves two most important components: a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test, and a digital rectal exam.

The PSA blood test measures the degrees of PSA within the bloodstream. In line with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, PSA is a substance produced by the prostate gland, and better levels can indicate the presence of prostate cancer. Nevertheless, it’s essential to notice that elevated PSA levels may also be attributable to other prostate-related conditions and aspects reminiscent of age and race.

Medical procedures, medications, an enlarged prostate or a prostate infection can all influence PSA levels. Due to this fact, it’s crucial to seek the advice of along with your doctor to accurately interpret PSA test results. If the PSA test shows abnormal results, your doctor may recommend a biopsy to find out if prostate cancer is present.

The opposite test that is usually conducted during a prostate exam is the digital rectal exam, or DRE. The prostate gland is positioned just in front of the rectum. The Prostate Cancer Foundation says that in this a part of your prostate exam, your doctor will gently insert a lubricated, gloved finger into the rectum to evaluate the scale, shape and texture of the prostate for any irregularities. Although the test is temporary, it could cause some discomfort, nevertheless it mustn’t be painful.

By combining the PSA blood test results and the digital rectal exam, health care providers can gather vital information to judge the health of your prostate.

When should men get a prostate exam?

The perfect prostate exam age can vary, depending on individual risk aspects. In line with the American Cancer Society (ACS) recommendations, men must have an informed discussion with their health care provider concerning the potential advantages and risks of prostate cancer screening starting at age 50 for average-risk individuals.

  • For men at higher risk, reminiscent of those with a family history of prostate cancer or Black men, the discussion should happen at age 45.
  • Men at even higher risk, reminiscent of those with multiple close relatives diagnosed with prostate cancer before age 65, may consider starting the discussion as early as age 40.

Further, the Prostate Cancer Foundation suggests that Black men are 1.6 times more more likely to get prostate cancer. For that reason, in case you are Black or if you have got a family history of prostate cancer, it’s best to talk along with your doctor about starting a prostate exam at age 40.

The frequency of prostate exams also depends upon the person’s risk profile and the outcomes of previous screenings. Based on the ACS guidelines, if the initial PSA blood test and digital rectal exam results are normal, further testing is usually really helpful every two years. Nevertheless, if the outcomes indicate a better risk, more frequent screenings could also be vital.

Learn how to prepare for a prostate exam

Preparing for a prostate exam typically requires minimal effort. As per the Cleveland Clinic, there may be little specific preparation needed. Nevertheless, it is crucial to tell your health care provider if you have got existing conditions reminiscent of hemorrhoids, anal fissures or anal tears, as they might cause discomfort in the course of the exam. Moreover, your health care provider may advise abstaining from sexual intercourse for 48 hours prior to the exam. Ejaculation can temporarily raise PSA levels, which could affect the accuracy of your test results.

Regarding the common query on whether it’s best to poop before a prostate exam, urologist Dr. Wagner Baptiste suggested in a recent article that it is appropriate to accomplish that in case you feel the necessity.

“But don’t force it in case you don’t have to move your bowels,” Baptiste added. “There’s no specific bowel prep vital. It’s common for poop to look in the course of the exam, but your doctor is used to it and knows what they’re doing and knows where your rectal wall lies to maneuver feces out of the way in which.”

What’s a prostate exam like?

“A prostate exam is a digital or finger exam within the rectum to feel the prostate through the rectal wall,” Dr. Matthew Sand, a urologist at Piedmont Physicians Urology in Atlanta, said in a recent article. “We estimate the scale of the prostate after which we feel around for nodules, that are concerning for prostate cancer.”

Sand explained that the aim of the exam is to evaluate the scale of the prostate and check for any nodules that might indicate prostate cancer. The procedure is fairly straightforward and typically lasts only a couple of seconds.

“The entire procedure probably takes three to 5 seconds,” Sand noted. Despite its brevity, the prostate exam serves as a vital step in monitoring prostate health.

What do the outcomes mean?

Screening can result in earlier prostate cancer detection, and with earlier detection, you’re eligible for multiple different treatments or energetic surveillance,” said Dr. Sia Daneshmand, director of urologic oncology at Keck Medicine of USC and a professor of clinical urology at USC’s Keck School of Medicine. “So we encourage patients who’re candidates for screening to debate it with their urologist and/or primary care physician in order that we will determine what’s one of the best course of treatment for them.”

In line with the CDC, the goal of screening for prostate cancer is to detect cancers that could be at a high risk of spreading if left untreated and to discover them before they’ve a probability to spread.

Nevertheless, the U.S. National Cancer Institute states there may be no specific normal or abnormal level of PSA within the blood. While PSA levels below 4.0 ng/mL were previously considered normal, it is crucial to notice that some individuals with levels below this threshold can still have prostate cancer, while many with levels between 4 and 10 ng/mL do not need prostate cancer.

PSA levels can fluctuate because of age, prostate gland size, inflammation or infection, recent prostate biopsy, ejaculation and intense exercise. Certain medications used to treat an enlarged prostate can lower PSA levels. Generally, a better PSA level increases the likelihood of prostate cancer, nevertheless it is crucial to interpret PSA leads to consultation with a health care provider who can assess the person’s overall risk profile and consider additional aspects for a more accurate diagnosis.


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