Many men dread having a prostate exam. However, the fact is that as men age the necessity of this exam becomes increasingly important. In order to identify any changes in the shape, size, or texture of the prostate in between physician conducted exams, it is a good idea to know how to conduct a self exam.
Relax before initiating the self exam. In order to reach the prostate, it will be necessary to move past the sphincter muscles in the anus. Being in a relaxed state will make it easier for those muscles to relax and allow your finger to reach the area of the prostate.
Lubricate the anus. This involves applying a small amount of lubricant to the anal opening and just inside. Lubricating the opening will aid in sliding the finger into the area and help to ease the discomfort that can occur when the opening is stretched slightly. Do not use baby oil or similar products as lubricant. Instead, use an over-the-counter personal lubricant.
Put on the disposable rubber glove. hile this is a self examination, it is important to remember that even if you just washed your hands, there may be some residue of bacteria remaining. The sterile rubber glove helps to minimize the chance of introducing foreign bacteria into the anus.
Lubricate the finger you will use for the exam. Typically, the index finger is the best choice, as this finger is in a good position on the hand to control easy movement across the surface of the prostate. Use as much lubrication as you like.
Insert the lubricated finger into the anus. Move slowly, allowing the sphincter muscles a chance to relax. Choosing to move slowly will significantly cut down on the discomfort.
Trace along the surface of the prostate with the tip of the finger. Keep in mind that you are feeling along the surface through the membrane of the anal wall, not touching the prostate directly. Notice any spots where there is a change in texture, or if the prostate seems to be growing. Make note of any irregularities in the size or feel of the prostate that may be present.
Withdraw the lubricated finger from the anus. Dispose of the glove and use soap and water to clean the anal opening.
Learning to conduct a prostate self exam involves not only mastering the technique of self examination, but also knowing what to look for. Your doctor can provide you with guidelines that are specific to your age and general health.
If you experience any pain while moving your finger along the surface of the prostate, report this to your doctor even if there appears to be no changes in size or texture. Also, self-examinations are not a substitute for an exam by a qualified physician. You still should have your prostate examined by your doctor regularly, moving to an annual exam after the age of forty.