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Why Have A Prostate Examination

It’s a fact that no man in his right mind would willingly want to expose himself to a total stranger and have his rectum manually probed by a gloved hand, even if that gloved hand happens to belong to a doctor. However, if you are a guy who is nearing your fifties or is fifty years old or older, you might need to alter your thinking about prostate examinations.

The Importance Of A Prostate Examination

An annual prostate examination may be necessary for older men because the prostate tends to enlarge as a person gets older. It is often recommended for men who are fifty years old or older, especially men who are at a high risk for any form of cancer, and is done through the manual palpation the prostate, that walnut-sized gland which is palpable through the anterior portion of your rectum. For those with a family-history of cancer, especially prostate cancer, prostate examinations should be done annually starting at the age of 45. Sudden changes in urination, pain in the bladder or inability to urinate may also necessitate the need for a prostate examination.

What To Expect

It is important to know what to expect before going in for a prostate examination. You will usually be oriented by the doctor or the nurse on what will happen during the exam and what you need to do.

After changing into a hospital gown, you will be asked to face the examination couch and bend forward so that your arms and elbows are resting on the couch. The doctor, using lubricated gloves, will then tell you to breathe through your mouth and relax as he slowly inserts his finger inside your rectum. You will likely feel a slight pressure but no discomfort. The doctor will then move his fingers in a circular motion inside your rectum to feel the grooves and lobes of the prostate and feel for any abnormalities. A normal prostate will feel firm and rubbery, and usually ranges from 2 to 4 cm in size. A normal prostate is also triangular in shape.

After the exam the doctor will remove his fingers and you will be given a tissue to wipe the lubricant off your buttocks.

After the Prostate Examination

Depending on the results of the prostate examination, your doctor may schedule you for more tests, like a transrectal ultrasound or a biopsy. You doctor may also suggest a few lifestyle changes to reduce the risk for the development of the disease. For some, this means going on a prostate diet, which usually consists of more fruits, vegetables and grains, a reduced intake of saturated fats, oils, sweets, and salts, as well as moderate intake of calories. Maintaining a healthy weight may also be recommended by your doctor, as there has been a consistent link between obesity and the tendency to develop certain forms of cancer.

Annual prostate examinations can lead to early detection of cancerous tumors. This is significant because the earlier the discovery, the greater the chance that medical interventions to remove or destroy the tumors will succeed and thus, the greater the chance for a positive prognosis.

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