As a man, you will eventually have to undergo a prostate exam. It is recommended by the American Cancer Society that men get screened by the age of 40. This is because the development of prostate cancer in middle-aged men has increased in recent years. It is important to realize that getting a prostate exam can save your life. With that being said, it is perfectly normal to feel nervous when you are preparing for your first prostate exam. There are a few tips you may find helpful when undergoing your first exam.
What to Expect
Although your first instinct will be to feel uncomfortable and embarrassed, the prostate exam is a routine thing. This procedure is also known as the DRE, or digital rectal exam. Your doctor will have you bend over, at which point he or she will insert a gloved finger into the rectum to check for any lumps or abnormalities in the prostate area. It is normal to feel the urge to urinate during the exam, and many men feel nauseous or even faint. This is perfectly normal, but be sure to inform your doctor if you feel you may faint.
Tips for Your Exam
- The best way to have a stress-free prostate exam is to first and foremost remain calm and breathe slowly. Take normal breaths in through the nose and exhale at a steady pace through your mouth. Always avoid holding your breath, as this can make you feel more uncomfortable.
- While the exam is going on, try to think about something pleasant. Detaching yourself from the process will help you to feel calm. If you have a specific hobby or something else that brings you a peaceful feeling, focus on that.
- Let your doctor know if you have hemorrhoids or if you experience any pain during the prostate exam. This is important because your doctor will have a better sense of how to perform the exam to make it as painless as possible for you.
Overall, the prostate exam should only take a moment or so of your time. In general, you shouldn’t experience any sort of pain during it. There may be a bit of discomfort, but if you feel pain, it can signify that you have prostatitis, which is inflammation of the prostate.