Prostate Exam Types

If you are experiencing any symptoms that may suggest an enlarged prostate or prostate cancer you will want to see a doctor immediately. There are several tests a doctor can perform to find out what the problem is and the best treatment for your problem.

One test is a digital rectal exam. Usually this is the first test to be done by a doctor. He will insert a gloved finger into the rectum to feel the prostate. He can feel the size of the prostate and a general idea of its condition.

A blood test is a follow-up test ordered by the doctor to look for prostate-specific antigen (PSA). If you have a high PSA level it could be a sign you have prostate cancer. This blood test isnt perfect because it can show a high PSA and the patient may not have prostate cancer.


Imaging can be used to get a picture of the prostate using an x-ray or a sonogram. Another form of imaging is an IVP (intravenous pyelogram. This is specifically an x-ray of the urinary tract.

Dye is injected into a vein and as the dye passes out of your body into the urine stream it shows up on the x-ray. A sonogram may also be used; it is a probe inserted into the rectum and bounces sound waves off the prostate.

Flow Study

A urine flow study is used to measure how fast the urine is flowing. You may be asked to urinate into a special device that measures how fast the urine is flowing. If your urine flow is slow it could mean you have BPH.


A cystoscopy is another way to take a look at the prostate. A thin tube with a tiny microscope is inserted through the urethra and allows the doctor to look through the cystoscope. It is a good way to see the problem from the inside.

If you are found to have an enlarged prostate problem, there are several methods of treatment. One is to just watch it. If your symptoms are not bothering or disrupting your life you may choose to just live with the problem. You may choose not to take medications or have surgery.

You will need to have regular checkups with your doctor to make sure your problem is not getting worse. You can wait, watch and then choose the treatment best suited to your problem.

Prescription medicines can be used to shrink or relax the prostate to keep the urethra clear. Several medicines have been developed in recent years to help with this troubling problem. Other nonsurgical procedures have been developed which will remove parts of the prostate.

The procedure is usually done on an outpatient basis. The doctor reaches the area by inserting a tube through the urethra to treat it with controlled heat to areas of the prostate. A topical gel may be applied to prevent any pain or discomfort during the procedure. These procedures are called transurethral microwave thermotherapy or TUMT.