Signs And Symptoms Of Prostate Problems
Prostate cancer does not always show symptoms. That’s why screening is important as you get older.
Urinary problems can be a sign of prostate cancer. However, there can be many benign reasons for an infected, enlarged, or inflamed prostate. Urination symptoms that may be caused by prostate problems include:
- Difficulty starting or stopping urination
- Straining when peeing
- Blood in the urine or semen
What Kind Of Doctor Will I See For A Dre
A primary care doctor or a gynecologist usually does a DRE. A gynecologist is a doctor who specializes in the health of women’s reproductive system. Other types of doctors, including gastroenterologists, surgeons, and oncologists may do DREs. A gastroenterologist is a doctor who specializes in the gastrointestinal tract. An oncologist is a doctor who treats cancer.
The Initial Causes Should I Poop Before Prostate Exam
One of the first symptoms of prostate issues is pain or tenderness in the groin or lower back. This can be the result of a noncancerous condition called enlarged prostatic tissue, or it could be an infection of the bladder. In either case, its important to see a doctor as soon as possible. If youre suffering from prostate pain, you may want to consider reducing your caffeine intake.
Another symptom of a potentially enlarged prostate is difficulty starting a stream of urine, leaking, or dribbling. These symptoms are not serious, but theyre still alarming. Most men put up with an enlarged prostate for years before seeking medical attention, but they typically seek treatment as soon as they notice symptoms. Even if you dont have symptoms, its worth getting checked to determine if you have any prostate issues.
If you experience nightly bathroom runs, you may be experiencing an enlarged prostate. You may be having difficulty starting a stream of urine, or you may even be dribbling or leaking during the day. These problems arent life-threatening, but can become a nuisance. You should not ignore these signs and seek treatment as soon as you notice them. If you feel any of these symptoms, you should consult a doctor.
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Who Should Get A Prostate Exam
One of the big questions that experts have examined over the years is when men should get a prostate exam. According to the American Urological Association , if you are over the age of 50 and have an average risk of developing prostate cancer, you should talk to your healthcare provider about the risk and benefits of a prostate exam .
What Are We Looking For
Many men experience issues with their prostate gland as they age. The symptoms for benign prostate enlargement and prostate cancer are very similar – most men present first with urinary issues. When your prostate has simply enlarged the surface is usually smooth. We begin to suspect prostate cancer when the surface is hard and lumpy. It’s a key difference and the best way to find out is via a rectal exam.
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Are There Any Risks To The Test
There is very little risk to having an anoscopy or a high resolution anoscopy. You may have some discomfort during the procedure. You may also feel a little pinch if your provider took a biopsy.
In addition, you may have a little bleeding when the anoscope is pulled out, especially if you have hemorrhoids.
Weighing Your Options For Treatment
If you test positive for prostate cancer, you have some options as to what youd like to do about it. Until recently, nearly everyone opted for surgery or radiation, while some patients choose not to undergo treatment, instead opting for active surveillance, during which the cancers are left alone but regularly monitored to be certain that theyre not growing.
Certainly, screening can lead to earlier prostate cancer detection, and with earlier detection, youre eligible for multiple different treatments or active surveillance, said Sia Daneshmand, MD, director of urologic oncology at USC Urology of Keck Medicine of USC and associate professor of urology at Keck School of Medicine of USC. So we encourage patients who are candidates for screening to discuss it with their urologist and/or primary care physician so that we can determine whats the best course of treatment for them.
There also is a new option for those seeking prostate cancer treatment. Its called High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound , which uses ultrasound beams to non-surgically destroy prostate tumors.
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Can A Swollen Prostate If Untreated Cause Prostate Cancer
We have no evidence of that. Theyre completely unrelated problems. The area of the prostate that causes urinary symptoms is usually a different part of the prostate than where cancer is likeliest to develop.
Doctors divide the prostate into different zones. The zone that is associated with BPHand the majority of prostate growthis the transition zone. Prostate cancer occurs there much less often than in the peripheral zone, which is the outer area.
When A Rectal Examination May Be Needed
A rectal examination is sometimes needed to investigate:
- being unable to control when you go to the toilet including bowel incontinence or urinary incontinence
Men sometimes need a rectal examination to check for problems with the prostate.
The prostate is a small gland that only men have. It:
- produces fluid that mixes with sperm to create semen
- often gets larger with age
- may cause problems with how easily you pee and how often you need to go
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Can’t I Just Get A Blood Test
If you have concerns about prostate cancer you certainly should have a Prostate Specific Antigen blood test. Knowing your PSA level can help to establish what’s normal for you so that a spike is more easily identified. But a blood test alone is not enough. The test has been known to deliver ‘false-positive’ results in some cases – leading men into have invasive biopsies for no reason. Up to 20% of men with prostate cancer show no increase in PSA levels*. So it’s best used to check against the result of a rectal exam but can’t be relied upon in isolation.
When To Get Your Prostate Checked: Warning Signs And Advice
A healthy prostate plays a vital role in male fertility, producing fluid that helps keep sperm alive. But as you get older, particularly after the age of 40, you may find that your prostate starts to cause you problems. One reason for this is that the prostate continues to grow as you age. This is a normal process but for many men, an enlarged prostate can cause symptoms that affect their quality of life. This isnt the only problem that affects the prostate, there are several other prostate issues, which can produce similar symptoms to each other. A prostate exam can help you find out whats going on with your prostate so your doctor can then help you get relief from any symptoms you may be experiencing.
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What To Expect During A Prostate Exam
The prostate exam, or digital rectal exam , along with prostate-specific antigen testing, is sometimes part of the prostate cancer screening process. Recent research suggests that the DRE may be ineffective in prostate cancer screening. Current screening recommendations vary depending on age and other factors. Men aged 5569 should talk with their healthcare providers regarding their risks and benefits of prostate cancer screening. African Americans and men with a family history of prostate cancer may need early screening.
Do All Men Who Are Treated For Prostate Cancer Lose Sexual And Urinary Function
Its definitely not true that all men are incontinent and impotent after treatment for prostate cancer. Urinary incontinence is usually temporary.
There can be a sexual impact for guys who have normal function. If the cancer is near their nerve bundle, theyre going to have a decrease in sexual function. If its not, and we can do bilateral nerve sparing surgery, studies show 70 percent can get back their normal sexual function. It all depends on where the cancer is. But the truth is that we cant predict very well who will be the 30 percent who will haveor still haveED some already do have ED because of age, diabetes, hypertension or renal failure.
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What Happens Before The Examination
Its normal to feel a bit anxious about this test and it might be uncomfortable. But it usually only takes a few minutes and you shouldnt feel any pain. Tell your doctor if you do.
You can ask for a man or woman doctor if youd prefer. Or you can have someone else in the room, such as a family member.
How Do Prostate Exams Feel
Although prostate exams are not painful, you might experience some slight discomfort. There will be some pressure in the area and might make you feel like you have to urinate. If you do experience any pain, make sure to tell your physician as this is not normal. Make sure to keep in mind that your doctor is a professional and has likely performed this exam numerous times before. Additionally, these exams are very short and will only take 1-2 minutes.
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Why Should I Get Both Prostate Cancer Screenings
Both screenings provide valuable information about your health that can detect prostate cancer, even at an early stage. One result without the other may not provide enough indication of whether or not treatment is necessary.
There are many reasons why a mans prostate may be enlarged, and prostate cancer is only one. When paired with a PSA blood test, results can better indicate whether further testing is needed to determine a diagnosis.
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What Is A Digital Rectal Exam
The most common way for doctors to check on the health of your prostate is with a DRE. Its a fairly quick and simple procedure.
For the exam, youll bend at the waist while standing or lie on your side with your knees bent toward your chest.
Your doctor will lubricate a gloved finger and gently place it inside your rectum. Theyll press one hand on your prostate, and their other hand will feel your pelvic area. It should only take a few moments.
You may experience momentary discomfort. You may also feel the urge to urinate, especially if your prostate is enlarged or inflamed.
Your doctor will be able to tell you if your prostate seems to be a normal size and shape. In general, a DRE has no risks.
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What Is A Prostate Cancer Exam
There are two primary ways doctors may examine whether there are abnormalities in the prostate: a PSA blood test and a digital rectal screening test.
A prostate cancer exam is a medical examination used to observe and feel the prostate for any lumps or changes in size. The prostate gland is a small, walnut-shaped gland located just below the bladder in men. The exam usually involves the doctor feeling the prostate through the rectum.
One type of prostate cancer exam is the prostate cancer screening test. The PSA test is a blood test that measures the level of prostate-specific antigen in the blood. If the value falls between 2.0 to 4.0 ng/mL, the doctor may advise you to get tested yearly, although that figure isnt alarming.
If the value is above 4 ng/mL, it may also be subject to a more thorough investigation as it could indicate conditions such as:
When Should Men Get A Prostate Exam
According to the American Cancer Society, men and people who were assigned male at birth should have their first prostate exam by age 50. If you have a family history of prostate cancer, you should consider having your first prostate exam at age 45.
Additionally, Black men are at a higher risk for being diagnosed with prostate cancer. For this reason, healthcare providers often recommend that Black men have their first prostate exam around age 45.
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What To Expect During The Exam
You can get a prostate exam easily and quickly at your doctors office. Generally, for cancer screenings, your doctor will take a simple blood test.
Your doctor might also choose to perform a DRE. Before performing this exam, your doctor will ask you to change into a gown, removing your clothing from the waist down.
During a DRE, your doctor will ask you to bend over at the waist or lie on the exam table in a fetal position, with your knees to your chest. They will then insert a gloved, lubricated finger into your rectum.
Your doctor will feel for anything abnormal, such as bumps or hard or soft areas that might indicate a problem. Your doctor may also be able to feel if your prostate is enlarged.
A digital rectal exam can be uncomfortable, especially if you have hemorrhoids, but isnt overly painful. It will last only a couple of minutes.
A DRE is one of your doctors tools that can help them detect several prostate and rectal problems, including:
- prostate cancer
Your doctor will be able to tell immediately if there are any areas of concern that may warrant further testing.
The results of a DRE exam are either normal or abnormal, but doctors typically rely on several different tests to help them make a prostate cancer diagnosis.
If your doctor feels something abnormal during the DRE, they will probably recommend getting a PSA blood test, if you havent done so already.
If you have an abnormal DRE and high PSA levels, your doctor may recommend additional tests, including:
What Do My Psa Test Results Mean
Once your test results are back, your healthcare provider will let you know if any additional testing is recommended. PSA levels can vary over time for several reasons unrelated to prostate cancer . So, if you have a borderline PSA, your provider may simply recommend another PSA test in six months or so.
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Surgical procedures to remove the diseased prostate are usually necessary. Surgical procedures are not always necessary. If the disease is caused by bacterial infections, a doctor can treat the symptoms using alpha-blockers or surgery. Physical therapy, relaxation exercises, and warm baths are all recommended. A physician may also prescribe antibiotics to cure the infection. A bacterial infection can also cause a recurrence of the condition.
An enlarged prostate can be uncomfortable for both men and women. Some of the symptoms of an enlarged male reproductive organ include a weakened urine stream, urgent need to urinate, and urinary tract infections. BPH can also cause damage to the kidneys. A sudden inability to urinate can be life-threatening, as it can lead to bladder and kidney damage. Unfortunately, most men with enlarged prostrates put up with the symptoms for years before they seek treatment. However, many of the men with symptoms finally decide to go to a doctor for proper gynecological evaluation and to begin enlarged prostatic therapy.
Prostate Cancer Screening : When Should Men Get Screened For Prostate Cancer
Starting at age 55, men should start getting screened for prostate cancer every year at their doctors discretion. If theres a family history of prostate cancer, men should start screenings as early as the age of 40.
Before undergoing screening, men should talk to a medical professional about the potential risks and benefits of taking the test. While a vast majority of men who get screened will have a better glimpse of their health and potentially reduce the risk of death, there is a small chance of false positives and other risks associated with the test.
When a false negative occurs, this can lead to prostate cancer treatment that a man may not need. For example, some men may opt for surgery or radiation therapy even though their cancer is slow-growing and not causing any problems. These treatments can also come with the risk of serious side effects, such as urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction.
Clinicians must therefore screen men for prostate cancer using the PSA test with caution, and patients must be informed of both the risks and benefits of testing before undergoing screening.
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What Happens During A Rectal Examination
First, you’ll be asked to undress from the waist down. If you’re wearing a loose skirt, you can usually just remove your underwear.
Let the doctor or nurse know if you’d like to get changed behind a curtain or be alone in the room.
The doctor or nurse will:
If you’re a man, the doctor or nurse may press on your prostate. This can make you feel the urge to pee, but it should not hurt.
Once you’re dressed, they’ll discuss the results of the examination with you.
Page last reviewed: 23 December 2020 Next review due: 23 December 2023
Results And Follow Up
After a DRE, your healthcare provider will know right away if there are any problems like lumps or a prostate that is larger than usual . You will discuss any findings with your provider and plan the next steps. The results from a PSA test typically take around two weeks to come back, and your healthcare provider will go over these with you.
If all of your test results are normal, and you and your provider decide to continue screening, you will most likely need testing every two years. However, if the PSA test is abnormal, your healthcare provider may refer you to a urologist for additional testing.
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