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Prostate Exam
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Prostate Exam

***This article contains graphic language of a medical nature.***

It was scheduled as a typical medical examination. You came to see your family doctor to get your blood pressure checked, maybe some blood drawn and the general "how do you do" visit. The exam was nearly over when your doctor reaches for a box of plastic gloves.

You knew this day was coming from the moment you turned fifty years old. The jokes around the water cooler were now a distant memory. All you can wonder is how will you ever survive the "rectal exam" given to check your prostate.

Get Over Yourself

Its a simple process guys. You will remove your pants and bend over the exam table. From here, the doctor will use those latex gloves with one finger covered in a lubricant. This one finger will be inserted into the rectum to check your prostate. The prostate is positioned just below the rectum and through its walls can be felt.

And then it is all over, a matter of one or two minutes at most. You will be surprised that it happens quite quickly and not with any of the horrors that some would tell. The big thing you will realize is that it wasn't that big of a deal. Maybe it was slightly embarassing the first time, but knowing that it could save your life erases all of those thoughts.

What Is Up There

The digital exam, so named because the doctor is using only only one figner (one digit in other words). The exam is meant to check two things regarding the prostate; size and shape. The prostate is considered normal when it is found to be roughly the size of a walnut. There will be a smoothness when touched as well.

So what the doctor is looking for is a prostate that is larger than normal and if there are any bumps or other non-smooth surface. These differences could mean you have an abnormal growth that can also be a sign of cancer. So knowing what is up there early on can have a huge impact later on.

What Else Should I Know

There are plenty of websites designed to show you;

  • Where is the prostate
  • What does the prostate do
  • How do you check for prostate cancer

More important to know is what are the symptoms associated with the prostate. To begin with, if your doctor suspects by means of the rectal exam or if you are in the at-risk category, a PSA blood test will be ordered.

PSA stands for "prostate-specific antigen" and is a protein produced in the cells of your prostate gland. The PSA test will check the levels of PSA in the blood. An elevated level will indicate most times to your doctor that further testing may be called for.

But there are also other symptoms you should relay to your doctor;

  • Slow or a delayed beginning when you try to urinate
  • While urinating, a slow stream
  • While urinating, you have to strain or can not seem to empty your bladder completely
  • After urinating, what is referred to as dribbling or leakage of urine
  • If you see blood in your urine or semen

From Here To Where

The exam is over, the embarassment has subsided and your doctor says everything is good. You sigh a bit of relief and head out the door. Life will never be the same you tell yourself. And do you know what? That is a good thing. You have taken a huge and important step in taking responsibility for your own health.

The next best thing you can do is tell your buddies about it. You can joke about it around the water cooler and guffaw at the inevitable jokes. But you can also remind your friends to make sure they get examined as well. Don't wait until it is too late...get tested early.

Every additional day you live in health is an additional day with your wife, your kids, grandchildren and friends. Don't allow a little embarassment get in the way of a prostate exam. Nor should it get in the way of the others such as a colonoscopy, fecal occult blood test, testicular cancer screening, and bladder cancer screening.

There are others of course and your personal physician can help you determine which ones are appropriate. All I ask is that you take charge of your own health. We are men and we tend to "tough it out" in many cases. In this case trust me. Get the exam and than you can get on with your life.

Street Talk

Joseph this is a timely and very well written article. I was avoiding the article because I don't even like the thought of a prostate exam and you made it sound OK after all... not that I'll need one ;-) I like your advice to "get over it"... after all, us women have been putting our pride in our pocket regularly for years!

  about 1 decade ago

Great article. Been there done that. Nothing to it. I have at least one a year. Piece of cake.

  about 1 decade ago
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