Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only. Seek medical advice from a healthcare provider if you have any concerns about your health.
It’s essential to maintain the health of your prostate, and getting a routine prostate exam is a great way to keep an eye on the health and well-being of this small but important organ.
It might be tempting to skip a doctor’s visit focused on a body part you can’t even see, but we promise you’ll thank yourself later.
Prostate exams are generally easy and painless, but if you’re nervous or you aren’t exactly sure when or how to get one, keep reading to get all the prostate exam info you need, right here at GIDDI.
What Is a Prostate?
A prostate is a gland that’s part of the male reproductive system. It occupies the body's pelvic space, between the bladder and the penis. The prostate is about the size of a ping-pong ball and aids in the ejaculation process. It does not create sperm but does produce some of the fluids needed for the body to deliver semen.
Like other members of the sex organ family, the prostate is incredibly sensitive due to the millions of nerve endings surrounding its surface. This detail is what puts prostates behind what has been described as one of the most intense orgasms that people assigned male at birth (AMAB) can achieve.
During sexual arousal, the penis isn’t the only thing that swells. The prostate grows very slightly during an erection, and if it comes up against any pressure (whether direct or not), it can lead to intense pleasure.
Common Prostate Problems
Like any other organ in your body, complications can arise in your prostate. There are a few common issues people with prostates tend to see the most, and the best way to be prepared is to be informed.
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
After a long car ride or movie, you may have heard someone at some point say, “I have to pee like a racehorse.” This random colloquialism actually represents a reality that most people assigned male at birth (AMAB) deal with throughout their lives.
While younger AMAB people usually don’t have any issues producing urine, most older ones do. As part of the natural aging process, the prostate grows in size over time, and if it becomes too enlarged, it constricts the passageway that leads from the bladder to the penis.
This may seem inconsequential, but it can actually be diagnosed as BPH or benign prostatic hyperplasia. BPH can lead to a slew of very uncomfortable urinary tract symptoms, such as painful urination, a weak stream, or start and stop urination.
As AMAB people reach their 60s, the risk of prostate cancer increases dramatically. In fact, prostate cancer is the leading cause of death for AMAB folx above the age of 75. Because prostate cancer is so common, it is important to be on the lookout for potential symptoms and get regular prostate exams.
As prostate cancer progresses, the below symptoms can become more apparent:
- Trouble urinating
- Erectile dysfunction
- Blood in the urine
- Blood in the semen
- Losing weight without trying
- Decreased force in the stream of urine
There is no one cause of prostate cancer. However, genetic defects play a key role. Paying attention to your family history plays a crucial part in considering your own risk for prostate cancer.
What Happens During a Prostate Exam?
Although you might feel intimidated about getting your first prostate exam, there is truly no reason to be nervous! They are an extremely common type of exam, and once you are above the age of 45, you should be getting them regularly. There are usually two parts to a prostate exam, including a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test and a rectal exam.
The PSA test is a blood test that measures PSA levels in your blood. If you are experiencing prostate complications, the amount of PSA in your blood may usually be higher than usual.
Next, you may most likely undergo a digital rectal exam (digital as in using a finger, not digital like an electronic device). Your doctor may insert a lubed, gloved finger into your anus and examine your prostate. This is done very quickly, and your doctor can check for any problems with the size or shape of your prostate, which can be an indicator of larger issues.
Once your doctor has evaluated your results, they may be able to tell you if there is anything out of the ordinary. If everything looks okay, you can generally wait another year before testing again.
When Should You Get a Prostate Exam?
Because the risk of many prostate complications increases as you get older, you may have to start incorporating regular prostate exams into your life when you reach a certain age.
It is recommended that if you have a family history of prostate compilations, you should start receiving yearly prostate exams at the age of 40. However, if your family does not have a history of prostate complications, doctors say that you don’t need to start receiving yearly prostate exams until the age of 45.
Although it is unlikely to experience prostate complications before the age of 40, it is still possible. If you are experiencing any symptoms, including trouble urinating, erectile dysfunction, blood in the urine, or blood in the semen, check in with your doctor.
How To Keep Your Prostate Healthy
Although going to get a prostate exam is the best way to keep an eye on the health of your prostate, there are a few things you can do from home to promote the health and well-being of your prostate.
The best way to maintain the health of your prostate is through prevention. One of the most reliable ways to try to prevent any prostate complications is to exercise. Exercise has been shown to help reduce the risk and alleviate symptoms of prostate-related issues.
Studies have shown that people who exercised more regularly were less likely to suffer from BPH and prostatitis. You don’t need to worry about extreme or lengthy workouts; low to moderate intensity activities have shown to decrease the symptoms of prostate conditions.
Try to go on a brisk walk, swim some laps, or go for a bike ride at least three times a week.
Consider a mostly plant-based diet. People with diets that are high in meat and dairy products have an increased risk of prostate complications. You may want to try and incorporate plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and other protein sources in your diet.
Fiber is also a great tool for prostate health. Fiber has the ability to attach to carcinogens and help remove them from the body. A high-fiber diet works to reduce hormone levels that may be involved in the progression of prostate cancer.
To maintain sufficient fiber in your diet, be sure to include plenty of vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. You want to pay attention to the kinds of fats you include in your diet. However, you should still have fat in your diet, but be sure that you are only eating omega-3 fatty acids. This can include anchovies, salmon, sardines, and trout.
Regular prostate massages can alleviate the symptoms of painful ejaculation, erectile dysfunction, irregular urination, and prostatitis. Prostate massages can also help reduce the swelling and pressure in your prostate.
One of the best and easiest ways to give yourself a prostate massage is to use a prostate massager.
Our Tomo II or Thor massagers are designed to fit comfortably inside of your anus while stimulating your prostate internally and externally. You can leave the massager inside of you until you feel satisfied or reach orgasm.
If you have never used a prostate toy before, just remember to go slowly and only do what feels pleasurable and comfortable. Be sure to use a generous amount of lube on the head of the massager as well as on your anus. Slowly wiggle the massager in, while remembering to take deep, slow breaths.
If you have a prostate, there are many ways to try and reduce your risk of prostate-related complications like prostatitis, BPH, and prostate cancer.
You can maintain a healthy diet, prioritize exercise, and get screened regularly. Finally, it’s proven to support your prostate’s health if you ejaculate frequently.
Not sure which of our award-winning toys is right for you? Take our quiz and discover the best prostate massager for yourself, your partner, or someone special!
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) - Symptoms and causes | Mayo Clinic
3 ways exercise helps the prostate (yes, the prostate) | Harvard Health