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August 4, 2008

Prostate Examinations Can Quickly Identify A Prostate Problem

Benign prostatic hyperplasia is a benign swelling of the prostate gland which affects almost all men over 60 and this short article looks at the procedure of testing for the presence of this condition.

Nearly all men will experience one type of prostate problem with almost half of all men suffering from benign prostatic hyperplasia (a swollen or enlarged prostate) by the time they get to the age of 60 and nearly ninety percent getting the problem by the time they reach 80 years of age.

As its name suggests benign prostatic hyperplasia is a non-cancerous or benign swelling of the prostate and can generally be treated with medication or with minor minimally invasive surgery. However, the first step is to make sure that the problem is indeed benign prostatic hyperplasia rather than another problem, such as problems with the bladder or kidneys or an infection of the urinary tract.

Whilst carrying out a check for benign prostatic hyperplasia it is also important to look for prostate cancer as, despite the fact that an enlarged prostate does not produce prostate cancer, it is possible for both an enlarged prostate and prostate cancer to exist alongside each other.

Initial testing frequently involves having a prostate examination, or digital rectal examination, together with an assessment of the symptoms reported by the patient and his medical history. As the prostate lies between the rectum and the bladder it is an easy matter for a doctor to insert a gloved finger into the rectum to feel the prostate for signs of swelling or abnormality. A prostate examination is possibly not the most agreeable of procedures but is more uncomfortable than painful.

It is also possible for you to undertake your own prostate examination or for your partner to do this for you. In fact, more and more men find that this relatively simple self examination can be carried out quite easily once a month or so when having a shower. This can provide a great deal of peace of mind and can also allow any enlargement to be detected at a very early stage so that it can be treated.

The doctor may well also order a variety fo laboratory tests at this point. These tests may include a blood test to determine PSA levels, blood urea nitrogen and creatinine and a urine test.

Prostate specific antigen is present in the blood and is specific to the prostate with levels climbing a little bit in response to benign prostatic hyperplasia and quite markedly in the case of prostate cancer.

The remaining tests are intended to look for the existence of an infection of the urinary tract or problems with the kidneys, both of which might lead to symptoms that are similar to the symptoms found in cases of an enlarged prostate.

In some instances the doctor might also order further tests such as an ultrasound examination that can determine the size of the prostate and measure the volume of urine in the bladderArticle Search, or a cystoscopy (an examination undertaken with a thin flexible scope) to evaluate the condition of the urethra and bladder.

When none of these tests produce clear results a doctor might order a prostate biopsy in which several small tissue samples are removed from the prostate for microscopic examination.

ProstateProblemCenter.com looks at the symptoms of enlarged prostate and the digital prostate exam.

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