For men everywhere, the thought of getting a prostate check up can bring about feelings of anxiety, stress and fear. I mean, if your friends found out you got a prostate check up, they might ask questions about what happens after your doctor puts the rubber gloves on.
But this isn’t something you can just ignore and assume everything will be ok. ONE in SEVEN men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, and early intervention is key to making a full recovery. The good news is that prostate cancer is a typically slow growing cancer; the bad news is that the best means to detect remains through regular prostate check ups.
For men over 50, it’s best to make prostate check ups an annual routine as while it can happen to men at any age, it is far more likely to happen in older men and men who have a family history of prostate cancer.
This sounds easy in theory, but it’s the unknown that can make men complacent. A prostate check up may not be the most comfortable thing – but it is extremely important to overcome that discomfort for the sake of your health – which is why today, we are going to explain what typically happens when you get a prostate exam.
1. Family history and symptoms
Firstly, your doctor will ask about your family history and whether you’ve experienced any changes in your urination. If you are dribbling urine, find it difficult to initiate your stream of urine or have blood in your urine, this could be a sign of prostate issues; however, sometimes prostate cancer can present with no symptoms at all making check ups even more important.
It’s then it’s likely that two tests will be performed.
2. The finger
The first test will be a digital rectal exam, or a DRE, and is an examination that most men tend to dread. While you are bending over with your arms or elbows resting on a table or lying on your side, your doctor will insert a lubricated finger (gloved) inside your rectum and feel for any abnormalities on your prostate. A healthy prostate will feel firm, and an unhealthy prostate will feel hard like a rock. There may be solid or rough nodules on the prostate, it might feel rubbery or enlarged or you may feel pain when the prostate is touched. These can all be signs that there is an issue with your prostate. While this exam is not painful, it can be uncomfortable but it doesn’t take long – typically only a few minutes.
3. The blood test
The second test they will do is a PSA blood test. PSA is a prostate specific protein which can increase when you have prostate cancer – but you can present with high PSA without prostate cancer and vice versa, which means that both tests are necessary to make sure there is nothing out of the ordinary.
If tests return concerning results, you will be referred to a prostate cancer specialist who will perform more in depth examinations from there.
Typically unmentioned side effects of prostate treatment
The prostate sits just under the bladder and is wrapped around the urethra (the tube in which urine travels), so when the prostate enlarges due to cancer or other conditions, extra pressure is placed on these areas and this can cause you to lose control over when you go to the bathroom. It’s a condition known as incontinence or light bladder leakage (LBL), and while it is commonly associated with women, it will also affect one in ten men, and for men who experience prostate issues the ratios become even higher.
Because of the proximity of the prostate to the bladder and other muscles that control urination, when you have prostate surgery or treatment it can have a negative ripple effect.
The tube that carries urine from the bladder runs directly through the prostate gland. The point where the bladder and urethra join is called the bladder neck sphincter and this opens to let urine flow through and closes to prevent leaking. Prostate surgery can damage this bladder neck sphincter, which can result in incontinence. Radiation treatments can also decrease bladder capacity, which can result in leakage due to overflow.
Managing the unmentionable
There are a myriad of ways that prostate treatment or invasive surgery can result in incontinence, and how long incontinence lasts varies from person to person. The good news is that there are ways you can actively work to improve incontinence, such as making kegel exercises a regular part of your fitness routine. The other good news is that while you are managing incontinence after prostate surgery or otherwise, you don’t have to wear disposable pads or diapers.
At Confitex, we design and manufacture underwear that provides a functional and stylish solution to help you manage unwanted leaks.
Our three-layer patented fabric technology is integrated into the central panel of a normal looking pair of underwear and works to wick away moisture, absorb liquid and keep your clothing dry with a plastic-free waterproof outer layer.
The fabric is breathable and the underwear is washable, dryable and reusable. Simply pop it in the machine with the rest of your clothing, dry it on the line or in the dryer and it’s ready to perform, over and over again.
This Movember, make sure you look after your health by booking that prostate check, committing to a regular work out routine or talking to someone about that thing that feels insurmountable, and if you do experience incontinence because of prostate treatment or something else – normalize the experience insofar as possible by getting your first pair of performance leakproof Confitex underwear today.