A lot of folk who read my blog regularly are apparently well acquainted with the prostate, and my more regular readers will know I have prostate health issues of my own. For many men, the prostate is a bit of a no-go area, (not just when it comes to sexual play) and as a gender we are notoriously bad about going to see the doctor, especially when it comes to GUM problems.

Whilst I have no specific reason to be concerned about prostate cancer, Movember is something that consequently interests me, and having seen a reblog of Clown On Fire’ s Movember post, I thought I’d do my bit by offering my perspective on the prostate.

About 15 years ago I found my balls were aching on a regular basis and when I examined them, to my momentarily terrified mind, they didn’t quite feel how they should. So I went to see my doctor. (NB, this link shows medical examination of testicles so it’s probably NSFW.) To cut a long story short, it turned out I had epididymitis (easily treated with oral antibiotics) but I was also referred for a prostate examination.

Now I have since had three different kinds of prostate examinations and can assure anyone with concern about such procedures that they are nothing to be afraid of.

The first examination was (I believe) the most common, and it is certainly the one most people have heard about. The doctor tells you to bend over and shoves a finger up your arse. Well, that’s not quite how it works, but it’s not too far off the mark. You actually lie on an examination couch, with your back to the doctor and bring your knees up towards your chest. The doctor then tells you to relax as much as possible and (wearing surgical gloves lubricated with something like K-Y jelly) inserts a finger into your rectum. If you do relax, this should not be painful. If it is, or you’re struggling to relax, tell the practitioner.

A small aside at this point:
There seem to me to be three major fears about prostate examinations:
1 – Having something stuck up your arse means you’re gay. Which is pretty daft when you think about it – fancying men rather than women is what makes you gay – sucking on an ice lolly doesn’t mean you like giving blow jobs. And in contrast to getting cancer making you dead … well, you figure out which you’d rather be: gay or dead.
2 – Men don’t like being told there’s something wrong with them. This is especially so when it might be related to their sexual organs. Men are supposed to be strong, resilient, indestructible. The big problem there is that cancer doesn’t give a shit about concepts of manliness and will quite happily kill you just the same.
3 – Having something stuck up your arse hurts.Firstly, you’re a man – you’re supposed to be strong, resilient, indestructible. You can handle a little pain. Secondly, and more importantly, it doesn’t hurt. Think about the size of what’s likely to be going to be passing through your sphincter – it’s only a finger: next time you go for a crap, take a look at the size of your stools and compare their diameter to your finger. If taking a dump doesn’t reduce you to tears, neither is a prostate examination.

Right, that’s covered that. Now where were we? Ah yes, the doctor had just put his finger up your bottom.

They will then most likely feel around your prostate, applying gentle pressure to it, and you may well find that a small amount of pre-cum is expelled from your cock.

In my case I also felt some discomfort in my prostate and some referred pain in my glans, and there was sufficient reason to refer me for a second type of examination: an ultrasound.

Whilst a lot of men will feel uncomfortable, if not threatened, or even scared by the idea of having someone stick a finger up their bum, you have to bear in mind, this is the sort of thing that can save you a huge amount of pain in the future, and can actually mean you don’t die. But if you’ve got as far as a referral for an ultrasound, you probably won’t be running away when the doctor tell you about the procedure.

This is the sort of probe that is used, and yes, that’s right, you lie on your side again, tuck your knees up, and the probe gets inserted into your rectum. Again, if you relax, it doesn’t hurt. It’s possible there might be a little discomfort, but it’ll be an awful lot less than if you ignore any problems and end up dying of cancer.

For me, this resulted in a diagnosis that I possibly had a minor prostate infection (again treated with oral antibiotics) and I my prostate gland was about 50% larger than would be expected in someone my age. But that in itself wasn’t a significant problem. Later in life it might be, as the prostate tends to become larger with age, and this can impact on the ease with which older men can urinate, but for the time being, no problem.

From time to time since all of the above, I have found myself getting prostate pain. This has either been when I have been sexually aroused for long periods of time without cumming, or more often at night (which I have always put down to nocturnal penile tumescence (or getting a hard-on whilst I sleep). At it’s worst, this is really quite painful, and if truth be told, as I’ve not had an examination in some years, I should probably go and talk to a doctor about it again some time soon. Anyway, the last time I did, I was referred to the GUM department of a local hospital for a cystoscopy.

This involves having a thin fibre-optic probe inserted into your urethra so it, your prostate, and your bladder, can be viewed from the inside.

The mere thought of this is likely to bring tears to the eyes of some men, but once again, I can assure you that this was entirely without pain. And as an anaesthetic gel is used to numb the urethra, I was actually disappointed that I barely felt the procedure at all. It really is nothing to be concerned about.

For me, this examination showed nothing untoward. But as the pain I get does intermittently persist, it is not something I should forget about. And if you, or anyone you know, has any concerns about their prostate, you really should encourage them to get it checked out, and reassure them that there is absolutely nothing to be afraid of. Unlike cancer and a slow lingering death.

10 Responses to “Movember”

  1. You’re great AM. This info is just what men need to quell the fear and embarrassment they may have in seeing a doctor. We women HAVE to start this thing early. Well, we don’t HAVE to but it is now customary as opposed to men. I know a guy who won’t even address issues with his own penile issues that should be addressed. Next topic might be testosterone cream for men…just an idea. I wish you didn’t have the pain you do. Jayne

  2. I grew a tash last year for movember. As a group we raised £150. I think more men should know the early warning signs and be more aware of the procedures involved. It’s great that you have mentioned your own experiences.

  3. I think you should run a Prostate Awareness Campaign AM. You made all of that sound so easy, so ordinary! We really do have nothing to fear but fear itself. You may save someones life with this post.

    Prostate bisous (?)

    • Obviously I can’t speak from experience, but I suspect it’s much easier than a smear test!
      I’d like to think it will get to a wider audience (I think it’s getting linked to on a Movember FB page) and hopefully it will be useful to someone. Sadly, I suspect the sort of men to whom it will be of most use are not the sort that would pay any heed to Movember anyway, so it probably won’t reach them. But if it helps just one person, I’ll be very happy.

    • pivoine68 Says:

      You are right about that! I would be happy as well.

  4. Thanks for writing this. I know some men who could use this!
    And for the record, having a pap-smear can be painless, it really does depend on how tense one is and also on the doctor obviously. I’ll forever regret the OB/gyn I had in the States 🙂

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