As known, the men’s prostate plays a significant role in sexual function. Unfortunately, the prostate is exposed to the risk of various diseases and conditions. Some of them may be not serious while others may lead to unpleasant consequences for prostate health. That’s why it is necessary to ensure prostate wellness. For this, you may see your doctor and undergo different check-ups. This article covers major methods of verifying men’s prostate. Let’s find out how the doctor check your prostate.
What is Prostate Gland
Before determining how doctors check the prostate, there is a necessity to understand what the prostate is. The prostate is a small gland in the male reproductive system. It is located a little lower in the bladder and front of the rectum. This gland surrounds the urethra, which represents the tube that transfers urine and semen out of the man’s body.
The prostate gland performs a few crucial functions in the male reproductive system. For instance, the prostate gland produces a fluid that together with sperm from the testicles and fluids from other glands forms semen. Also, the prostate gland assists in withdrawing semen from the man’s body during ejaculation.
Role of the Prostate
The prostate gland plays a substantial role in the reproductive system of men. Aside from producing prostate fluid and assisting in ejaculation, the prostate gland likewise regulates urine flow and levels of male hormones.
Check-Ups in Early Detection
Regular check-ups are significant for the early detection and treatment of prostate problems. The reason is that lots of prostate issues, in particular, prostate cancer, may not have any notable symptoms and signs in their early stages. If any abnormalities are discovered during the check-up, it is recommended to carry out additional tests for confirmation of a diagnosis.
Digital Rectal Exam (DRE)
A digital rectal exam is regarded as a physical examination during which a doctor inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum to grope the prostate gland and make sure there are no abnormalities.
The purpose of a digital rectal exam is to evaluate the size, shape, and texture of the prostate gland. Moreover, this exam aims to verify the availability of any signs of abnormal growth of the prostate or other problems.
There are several things patients may do to prepare for a digital rectal exam. First, you may report to your doctor about any medical conditions or drugs you are taking. Also, your doctor will surely ask you to empty your bowel before the digital rectal exam.
Although the digital rectal exam lasts a few minutes only, it may still be uncomfortable for certain patients. That’s why it is significant to relax as much as possible during this exam. What’s more, it is recommended to wear loose-fitting and comfortable clothing during the exam.
During a digital rectal exam, a doctor will ask the patient to lie on his side with his knees bent up toward his chest. After that, the doctor will insert a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum to grope any abnormalities in the prostate.
As a rule, the digital rectal exam takes several minutes. During this exam, the doctor may ask the patient to bear down or relax his pelvic muscles to assist in feeling any abnormalities.
What does a doctor check when examining the prostate?
During a digital rectal exam, a healthcare provider is verifying any abnormalities in the prostate gland, as well as the rectum and other nearby structures. In particular, by conducting the digital rectal exam, a doctor verifies the size, texture, and shape of the prostate gland, the presence of any nodules or bumps, the availability of any tenderness or pain, etc.
The importance of the DRE
The digital rectal exam is considered a significant part of healthcare for men, especially those who are over 50 years old or who are exposed to a high risk of prostate cancer. There are a few reasons why the digital rectal exam is important.
First, it assists in detecting prostate cancer in its early stages. Also, this exam contributes to diagnosing other prostate conditions. Finally, the digital rectal exam is irreplaceable for monitoring the health of the prostate gland.
Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Test
The Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) test is considered a blood test employed to measure the level of PSA in the blood of men. The purpose of this test is to screen for prostate cancer and to control the progression of the illness and the effectiveness of treatment.
The Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) test may likewise be utilized to monitor the wellness of the prostate gland in patients who have a history of prostate problems or are exposed to a higher risk of developing prostate cancer.
Blood sample collection
Being a blood test, the Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) test involves taking a small sample of blood from a vein in the arm of the patient. After that, the blood sample is transferred to a laboratory for analysis. As a rule, the blood sample collection process is easy and doesn’t take much time.
The laboratory analysis of the PSA test involves measuring the level of PSA in the patient’s blood. The PSA level is measured in nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL).The Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) test may be done in a few various ways: the measurement of the total amount of PSA in man blood (total PSA test) and the measurement of the amount of PSA that isn’t connected with other proteins in man blood (free PSA test).
PSA test results
Usually, patients may receive the results of the PSA test within several days. The normal range for PSA levels may vary depending on certain factors, for instance, the age and race of the patient. Still, as a rule, the normal PSA level for the majority of men is below 4.0 ng/mL.
The role of the PSA test
The Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) test plays a crucial role in prostate wellness since it assists in detecting prostate cancer. Also, this screening tool is useful for monitoring the progression of the disease and the efficiency of the chosen treatment methods.
Additional Diagnostic Tests
The digital rectal exam and the Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) test are regarded as one of the most widespread means of checking the prostate gland of men. However, in some cases, it won’t be superfluous to carry out extra diagnostic tests to make sure a man’s prostate doesn’t have any abnormalities.
Transrectal ultrasound is one of the diagnostic imaging tests that employs high-frequency sound waves for image creation of the prostate gland and surrounding tissues. This test is usually utilized to estimate the texture, shape, and size of the prostate gland. What’s more, transrectal ultrasound contributes to detecting abnormalities in a man’s prostate, for instance, tumors and cysts.
A prostate biopsy is a common medical procedure during which small samples of tissue are removed from the prostate gland by a doctor for laboratory analysis. As a rule, prostate biopsies are carried out to estimate the presence of prostate cancer and define the aggressiveness and stage of this type of cancer.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of a man’s prostate is a diagnostic imaging test that employs a strong magnetic field, radio waves, and a computer to obtain detailed images of the prostate gland and surrounding tissues. This test provides a doctor with detailed information about the location, shape, and size of any abnormalities, for instance, tumors, in the prostate gland of men.
Computed Tomography (CT) of the prostate is another useful diagnostic imaging test that utilizes X-rays and computer technology to receive clear images of the prostate gland as well as surrounding tissues. When healthcare providers carry out computed tomography, they may get information about the shape, location, and size of abnormalities in the prostate gland.
Prostate issues are common among men. However, if you see a doctor timely, serious diseases may be diagnosed and effective treatment may be prescribed. That’s why make sure you do regular check-ups of your prostate. By doing the above-discussed diagnostic tests, your doctor may make sure there are no abnormalities in your prostate gland and ensure prostate wellness.
Do doctors still check the prostate with a finger?
Yes, healthcare providers still employ the digital rectal exam, which implies inserting a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum to verify the prostate for any abnormalities.
What happens at a prostate exam?
During a prostate exam, a doctor will carry out a digital rectal exam to make sure there are no abnormalities in a man’s prostate.
At what age should you get a prostate exam?
The age at which a patient should do a prostate exam, in particular, a digital rectal exam and Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) test may vary depending on definite factors, for instance, family history of a man, race, and general health state.
How do I prepare for a prostate exam?
Some recommendations on how to be ready for a prostate exam include discussing any issues with a doctor, drinking plenty of water before the exam, reporting to your doctor if you experience any medical problems or taking drugs, trying to relax during the exam, etc.