The prostate gland is located below the bladder and in front of the rectum, producing fluid that makes up part of the semen.
Below are the most common prostate diseases that usually affect its structure and function.
- Prostatitis is the inflammation of the prostate gland, which includes pain, discomfort, and difficulty in urinating.
- Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is categorized as non-cancerous prostate gland enlargement. It can cause difficulty urinating, frequent urination, and a weak urine stream.
- Prostate cancer can be categorized by a malignant tumor development in the prostate gland. Its symptoms include cause difficulty urinating, blood in the urine, and pain in the lower back, hips, and thighs.
Your doctor may recommend a prostate exam as part of regular screening or to investigate symptoms you’re experiencing.
Keep reading to learn more about what to expect during a prostate exam, including whether you need to poop before your appointment.
What is the prostate examination?
The prostate examination is a medical procedure that is used to check the health of the prostate gland.
The prostate examination usually contains two parts; however, the second part is usually carried out if your physician suspects something serious.
Digital rectal examination
In this procedure, the healthcare provider inserts a lubricated, gloved finger into the rectum to feel the prostate gland for any abnormalities. The process is quick and can cause discomfort, but it is not that painful.
Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test
This test measures the level of PSA in the blood. PSA is a protein produced by the prostate gland in the blood.
High levels of PSA can indicate prostate cancer or other prostate diseases. The test procedure involves drawing blood from a vein in the arm.
Should I poop before the prostrate examination?
Emptying the bowel before a digital rectal examination (DRE) is usually recommended because an empty rectum can make the examination more comfortable and make it easy for the healthcare provider to feel the prostate gland.
However, although it is recommended to poop before the prostate exam, it doesn’t mean that you should change your bowel habits before going through DRE.
Should I force myself to poop before the DRE?
Although it is better to poop before DRE, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should force yourself to poop before the DRE.
Forcing yourself to poop can damage the inner lining of the rectum, resulting in hemorrhoids and anal tears.
Will it affect the results if I am unable to poop before DRE?
Medical professionals are usually experts in performing DRE and can pick up the finding, even if you didn’t poop before the prostate exam.
However, going through DRE can make you feel a bit uncomfortable when you don’t have the poo.
I don’t have the urge to poop before DRE. What should I do?
If you don’t want to poop and your DRE is pending, you should first relax and consult your physician.
Most physicians perform DRE irrespective of poop condition after informing their patients about the discomfort.
If you have concerns about preparing for a prostate examination, discussing it with your healthcare provider is the best.
They can provide you with specific instructions and address any concerns you may have.
To-do list before going for prostate examination
Below are some steps you can take to prepare for a prostate examination.
- Talk to your healthcare provider: Before the examination, discuss concerns or questions you may have with your healthcare provider. They can provide specific instructions and help address any concerns you may have.
- Follow any preparation instructions: Depending on the type of examination, your doctor provides you with specific instructions to follow beforehand. For example, you may instruct to avoid certain foods or drinks or take medications as directed.
- Empty your bladder: It is a good idea to empty it before the examination to make the procedure more comfortable and accurate.
- Have a bowel movement: As discussed earlier, it is recommended to poop before a prostate exam to make the examination easy.
- Wear comfortable clothing: you should choose loose, comfortable clothing that is easy to remove and will not restrict or cause uneasiness during the examination.
- Please bring a list of medications: Make a list of all the medicines you are taking, including over-the-counter and prescription drugs, and bring it to the appointment for better and more accurate treatment.
- Relax: Feeling anxious or nervous before the prostate examination is normal. Try to stay calm and relaxed. Your doctor will explain the procedure thoroughly and will answer questions you may have before beginning the examination.
How do bowel movements affect PSA?
Bowel movements do not directly affect PSA (prostate-specific antigen) levels. However, some factors can temporarily increase PSA levels.
- Recent ejaculation: Ejaculation can increase PSA levels for a short time period, so it is recommended to avoid ejaculation for 48 hours before a PSA test.
- Prostate disturbance/manipulation: Manipulating the prostate gland during the examination or other medical procedures can temporarily increase PSA levels.
- Recent bowel movement: While bowel movements do not directly affect PSA levels, a full rectum can cause discomfort during a DRE. It may cause the prostate gland to be examined more than necessary, leading to a temporary increase in PSA levels.
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The prostate examination can help early diagnose several prostate-related diseases, such as BPH or prostate cancer.
There are two main parts of prostate examination digital rectal examination (DRE) and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test.
Patients often ask whether it is necessary to poop before a prostate examination. The answer to this question is Yes; it is recommended to poop before DRE because it can decrease the discomfort related to DRE.
On the other hand, PSA is a blood test and thus is unaffected by the bowel condition.