Performing a prostate massage yourself cannot replace having a digital rectal exam by a physician; however, it can be done in between yearly physicals as an added interval check for prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the most commom form of cancer for men. Examining your prostate six months after your most recent physical can help detect abnormalities early and get a jump start on necessary treatment.
While performing a prostate self-exam, you may sit, stand, or lie in whichever position you feel most comfortable. Try to remain relaxed; the experience may feel uncomfortable, but should not be painful. The person examining should wear a latex glove and use a safe, water-based lubricant. When inserting a finger into the rectum, the examinee should be as relaxed as possible, and the examiner should move slowly cand carefully. Quick or rough actions while performing this exam can result in pain and other issues; so care is of utmost importance. The fingernail should face toward the examinee's back and the pads of the finger should face your stomach. This will allow for the more sensitive pads of the finger to feel the prostate.
You will most likely feel it when your prostate is touched whether you are performing the exam yourself or not; if your partner is doing the massaging, it will be helpful to let them know when they have reached it. The prostate is very sensitive and should not be "poked," but rather should be lightly rubbed with about the same pressure you would use on your own eyeball. The prostate should feel something like the tip of your nose; if you press the tip of your nose lightly, you will feel that there is an indentation in the center between the two sides. This indentation and firmness are similar to the prostate. Though it is not possible to massage the entire prostate, this method of examination has proven very effective in detecting signs of prostate cancer.
The outer bounds of the prostate which can be felt should be established. It is impossible to massage the entire prostate, but you must ascertain how much can be felt and examined. Once the outer bounds are established, a gentle sweeping motion over all the areas that can be reached on one side, and then the other, can be conducted methodically to ensure all areas are examined. If the texture of the prostate is inconsistent, or if any hard "lumps" are felt, a doctor should be notified immediately. Keep in mind that the prostate is a firm organ; you are looking for areas which are harder than the rest of the prostate.
The idea of performing this self exam is unattractive to many men, especially because so many associate it with homosexuality. It is important to keep in mind that his exam should be being performed by a doctor once a year in any case, and massging the prostate yourself at the 6-month mark between doctor's visits is an entirely valid medical concern. It is entirely acceptable to include a partner or spouse in the exam if it helps to ease any discomfort. One self-exam in between yearly exams by your doctor is enough to ensure efficient prostate monitoring.
Massaging the prostate yourself is not a replacement for an exam by your doctor. Though it can provide an early warning for prostate cancer, yearly physicals which include a digital rectal exam are more reliable in determining whether prostate treatment is necessary.