You may have heard horror stories about prostate exams. They are an uncomfortable, invasive, and necessary procedure to monitor your manly health as you age. But when exactly should you expect to have your first prostate exam?
Many men put off getting a prostate exam, which could lead to several potentially catastrophic health issues. Don’t let discomfort get in the way of your health.
Though there are several options for maintaining a healthy prostate at home, such as taking supplements like Prostate 911, you still need to take measures that involve professional medical checkups. You can’t simply rely on supplements or natural methods to monitor your prostate health.
According to the CDC, all men are at risk for prostate cancer. In fact, 13 out of every 100 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. Of those 13, two to three men will die of prostate cancer. The American Cancer Society states that prostate cancer is the second leading cause of death in American men behind only lung cancer.
Getting a regular prostate exam can help to identify, diagnose early, and provide potentially life-saving treatment on the onset of cancer. It can also help a man change his habits to better prevent his chances of getting cancer and other prostate issues. Keep reading to find out more important information about what a prostate exam is, the importance of getting one regularly, and more facts about positive prostate health.
What Is A Prostate Exam?
A prostate exam is a screening medical test checking for early signs of prostate cancer or other abnormalities. The prostate is a walnut-sized organ located just below the bladder and in front of the rectum. A typical prostate exam generally has two main steps:
- PSA blood test – This test measures your blood for prostate-specific antigens or a lack thereof.
- Digital Rectal Exam (DRE) – A healthcare provider will carefully insert his gloved finger (digit) into a patient’s rectum in order to feel for potential abnormalities in the prostate.
The DRE is the notorious method that is often joked about in pop culture and in social circles. While it might not be the most comfortable procedure, it’s a necessary one to check for or prevent issues that could be devastating to your health.
Is A Prostate Exam Painful?
While a prostate exam certainly isn’t a comfortable experience, it only lasts a few seconds and usually isn’t painful, unless you have an underlying issue like hemorrhoids or anal fissures. In that case, you may find the prostate exam to be painful, and your doctor will probably tell you why donut cushion for hemorrhoids don’t work as well and what’s the best sitting position for you.
But overall, it’s a quick and easy process that is over before you know it.
The worst part of a prostate exam is the build-up. But in reality, it’s over quickly and you’ve done the correct steps to watch out for your health. Many believe it’s only necessary to get a prostate exam later in life, but if you notice any issues or have any concerns, it doesn’t hurt to get checked out earlier on in your life.
What Are Common Prostate Issues?
According to Better Health, there are three main issues that arise in the prostate, and all have different symptoms and levels of severity. We break them down below.
Prostate Inflammation (Prostatitis)
Prostatitis is more common in younger men between the ages of 30 and 50. The two main types of prostatitis are:
- Bacterial prostatitis, caused by an acute or chronic bacterial infection
- Non-bacterial prostatitis, which is due to an inflamed prostate, also known as chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CPPS).
Bacterial prostatitis is generally cured easily with antibiotics. Non-bacterial prostatitis, while being the most common form of prostatitis, is harder to treat and diagnose. Symptoms vary between patients and doctors develop specific plans of treatment per case. CPPS can be caused by a variety of factors, including a past bacterial prostatitis infection, irritation from some chemicals, sexual abuse, anxiety, and more.
Treatment and Medication
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Non-Cancerous Enlargement of the Prostate
Otherwise known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland is more common in older men. While it isn’t generally life-threatening, it can significantly diminish your quality of life.
If the prostate is enlarged, it can cause obstruction to the flow of urine, making it difficult or uncomfortable to go to the bathroom. The cause of an enlarged prostate is actually still unknown but believed to be caused by a change in hormones in aging men.
The deadliest of prostate issues, prostate cancer generally affects men age 50 or older. If caught early, cancer cells can be removed or isolated to the prostate for treatment. If detected later in the process, it’s possible cancer spread to nearby vascular and lymphatic systems which could result in further spread to the rest of the body.
Symptoms and Treatment Options
Depending on your diagnosis or prostate issue, symptoms could fluctuate in severity, and treatment options could vary. Symptoms of the general prostate disease include:
- Difficulty urinating, such as trouble starting the flow of urine
- The need to urinate often, particularly at night
- Feeling as though the bladder can’t be fully emptied
- Painful urination
- Blood in the urine or blood coming from the urethra independent of urination
- Other discomforts in the area
Depending on the diagnosis, treatment might look like a physical examination, followed by hormone treatments, surgery, chemotherapy, medication, radiotherapy, and a watchful and surveilling eye to look for further issues.
When Should I Get My First Prostate Exam?
The general recommendation across the medical community is for men to schedule their first prostate exam between the ages of 45 and 50. However, if you’re experiencing any potential symptoms of prostate disease like trouble urinating, it’s recommended to get checked out sooner rather than later.
Consider getting a prostate exam sooner if you have a family history of prostate cancer or prostate issues.
Lastly, it’s important to know that a prostate exam and a colonoscopy are two different procedures. A prostate exam is a quick and easy procedure involving a doctor or healthcare professional’s finger. A colonoscopy is conducted in a hospital setting, often requires sedation, and uses a camera to examine your colon through your rectum.
Don’t let your fear of discomfort or doctors stop you from getting this important examination. While it is an uncomfortable and often unsettling experience, it will be over before you know it and you’ll be able to enjoy your life knowing you’re prostate cancer- and prostate issue-free.
As we age we may have other problems as well. A supplement like NerveControl911 may be beneficial.
Have your first prostate exam conducted by the time you turn 50, or if you experience any potential prostate issues, like difficulty urinating or other discomforts in the area.