Is a prostate self exam something you can do safely and easily? Is it a valid way of knowing if you have a prostate problem?
The answer despite what you read elsewhere is complicated. You can do it if you use the right technique but you just do not have enough experience to know if you have a condition or not.
I will give you a great example!
When my prostate first blocked and I went to my doctor, she did a digital rectal exam after she drained me with a catheter...
Over 800 ml came out, about 80% of a quart. I asked the doctor what she thought was happening. She said it was most likely a bladder infection.
I asked her if it could be the prostate, as my Dad had had a condition of BPH (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia) or an enlarged prostate condition.
She decided to do a digital rectal exam and said the prostate was enlarged a bit but nothing abnormal for a 55 year old. She started me on antibiotics for the supposed bladder infection, tied the catheter (still in me) to my leg, attached a fluid bag and said to call her on Monday. I did and she had set up an appointment for me with a top urologist in town a few days later.
I was instructed to stop at a pharmacy to buy a new catheter before the appointment. I bought the catheter and went to the urologist's. He proceeded to remove the catheter (that was painful after 5 days inside me), put in a camera catheter to look around (that was even more painful), pulled it out (ouch!), and then opened the package of the catheter that I had bought with his sterile gloves touching the outer wrapper and without cleaning his hands or catheter from possible contaminates proceeded to put the new catheter in me!
By now I was feeling awful and hurt from the pain so much! Next came the news. He said I had BPH. I said, "What is that?" He explained it stood for extreme Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, also known as Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy, or simply an enlarged prostate.
I said, "How could that be? My doctor said it was most likely an infection, and my prostate was only normally enlarged." He said it was definitely enlarged and then did a digital rectal exam of the prostate and again said it is most definitely enlarged. I guess doing that all day made him more expert on the nuances of prostate sizes.
My GP just did not have enough experience to diagnose an enlarged prostate. To my doctor, my prostate did not feel abnormal for a man of my age; however, the urologist did the same test and knew immediately that I had an enlarged prostate.
Family doctors or GPs can easily misdiagnose an enlarged prostate because they are not a specialist who does this prostate check countless times.
So seeing an urologist may be a good idea for a digital rectal exam because urologists have an expertise and skill your general practitioner lacks.
With the above warning in mind, then how can you do a prostate self exam and know if you have a problem or not? The answer is not very likely.
You could insert your finger as described in my page on self prostate massage, and you may get some idea but nothing definitive. It should be soft not hard, painless to the gentle touch, and feel smooth not lumpy. Make sure you use gloves and lubrication to make insertion easier. Be gentle!
Getting a DRE or digital rectal exam by a trained urologist will give you the information you want. Just be very hesitant if he wants then to do a biopsy as there are many risks to this procedure that he may downplay including the path to invasive action if he finds the slightest sign of cancer. Go to Prostate Biopsy Procedure to read more.
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Written by Ronald M Bazar,
~BCom, McGill University
~MBA, Harvard University
~the author of this website.
Note Dear Reader...
You must change your diet by stopping those foods that are triggering your condition and replacing them with new ones that nourish you and your prostate.
Then combined with a high quality supplement, you are putting yourself on the road to healing.
There are no shortcuts. Just good changes and little by little you will get better. My books and this site tells you how.