prostate exam header graphic
Prostate Problem Guide

Testing For The Presence Of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

Benign prostatic hyperplasia is the medical name for a swollen or enlarged prostate which will affect half of all men by the time they reach the age of 60 and ninety percent of men by the age of 80.

As its name suggests benign prostatic hyperplasia is a benign or non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland and can often be treated with medication or with minor minimally invasive surgery. The first step however is to to undergo a prostate exam to confirm that the problem is indeed benign prostatic hyperplasia and that your symptoms are not being caused by something else, such as a urinary tract infection or problems with the bladder or kidneys.

It is also important to check for the presence of prostate cancer as, although benign prostatic hyperplasia does not cause prostate cancer, it is possible for both benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate cancer to be found together.

Initial testing will normally involve a physical prostate examination known as a digital rectal exam, or digital prostate exam, together with an evaluation of the symptoms reported by the patient and his medical history. As the prostate gland is situated between the bladder and the rectum it is a simple matter for the doctor to insert a gloved and lubricated finger into the rectum while the patient lies on his side and to feel the prostate gland for signs of enlargement or abnormality. This is not perhaps the most pleasant of procedures but is more uncomfortable than painful.

prostate examination image

Male Prostate Exam

It is also common at this stage for the doctor to order a series of laboratory tests. These may include a blood test to check PSA levels, blood urea nitrogen and creatinine and a urine test (urinalysis and urine culture).

PSA, which stands for prostate specific antigen, is present in the blood and is specific to the prostate with levels being raised slightly in the case of benign prostatic hyperplasia and markedly in response to prostate cancer.

The remaining tests are designed to look for the presence of a urinary tract infection or for problems with the kidneys, both of which can produce symptoms similar to those seen in cases of benign prostatic hyperplasia.

In certain cases a doctor may also order additional tests such as an ultrasound examination, to determine the size of the prostate and to measure the volume of urine in the bladder, or a cystoscopy (an examination using a thin flexible scope) to check the condition of the urethra and bladder.

If the doctor or nurse prostate exam does not produce conclusive results then the doctor may order a prostate biopsy in which one or more small samples of tissue are taken from the prostate for microscopic evaluation.

Prostate Self Exam

It is possible for a man to carry out a prostate self exam or for this examination to be carried out by a partner.

The prostate gland is about the size of a walnut and lies at the base of the bladder so that it can be felt with the tip of a finger inserted into the rectum. A normal prostate gland should be similar in texture and feel to that of rubbing your thumb against your finger tips. If, however, you find that the texture and feel are similar to that of rubbing your finger tip over a clenched knuckle then you should consult your doctor.

The prostate self exam takes a bit of practice and you might be surprised by just how deep you have to reach in order to find the prostate. You should however experiment with different positions until you find what works best for you. For example, some men find that the prostate self exam is easiest when performed in the shower while others prefer to carry it out while lying on their back.

In most cases men find that touching the prostate gland is quite stimulating and it is thus easy to know when they have found the right spot. One word of warning though - be gentle so as not to cause damage to this area of the body and do not attempt this without well trimmed fingernails!

Further information on the prostate exam:

Marvel Executive Reveals New Prostate Exam Technique While Raising Awareness With Variant Covers - The Outhouse


The Outhouse

Marvel Executive Reveals New Prostate Exam Technique While Raising Awareness With Variant Covers
The Outhouse
According to a report from Valnet Inc. Presents: Comic Book Resources, Marvel is planning to promote prostate cancer awareness this September with a series of variant covers featuring Marvel superheroes in blue-tinted costumes. The titles getting the ...
Marvel Comics Go Blue For Prostate Cancer Awareness MonthBleeding Cool News

all 6 news articles »

Medical center sets free prostate exam - Sun.Star


Medical center sets free prostate exam
Sun.Star
CLARK FREEPORT--The Medical City Clark, in cooperation with the Philippine Urological Association Incorporated, has set a free digital rectal and prostate examination on June 18. The project, which is open to men 40 years old and above, is in line with ...