Physical examination is done to test for the presence and collection of prostatic fluid. This collected fluid is called expressed prostatic secretions.
The collected fluid samples are subjected to various tests to detect the signs of inflammation and infection of the prostate, recurrent urinary tract infections, or chronic or noninflammatory prostatitis or pelvic pain syndrome.
- The doctor inserts a lubricated, gloved finger into the rectum and pushes on either side of the prostate gland six or seven times while the person bends over or lies on their side or back.
- The urethra is then "milked" gently with a gloved finger. Secretions are collected in a tube or with a swab.
- The secretions are inspected under a microscope for indications of inflammation and cultivated in the lab to determine the presence of bacteria.
What is prostatic fluid?
Prostatic fluid is secreted by the prostate gland in males. During ejaculation, some amount of prostatic fluid is ejected along with sperm and semen into the male urethra.
- The prostatic fluid provides nourishment to the sperm.
- The proteins in prostatic fluid when combined with fluids derived from seminal vesicles will promote activation and functionality of the sperm.
What is a prostate?
The prostate is a walnut-sized gland of a male reproductive system present between the bladder and penis and right in front of the rectum.
The function of the prostate is to secrete:
- The prostatic fluid that provides nourishment to the sperm
- The seminal fluid that transports the sperm
The prostate helps metabolize hormones. An enzyme 5-alpha reductase in the prostate converts the male hormone testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), an active form of testosterone. DHT is responsible for the normal development of the prostate and develops secondary sexual characters, such as the production of facial hair in men.
The urethra is a small tube that connects the bladder to the penis, allowing the urine to exit the body. The urethra passes through the middle of the prostate. The prostate helps control the flow of urine in males. In the absence of the prostate, the urine flows freely through the urethra.
Men who undergo prostatectomy (removal of the prostate) should find other ways to control urination. Females do not have a prostate.
What are the common prostate disorders diagnosed by studying prostatic fluid?
Most men should begin frequent prostate screenings at the age of 50 years; however, screenings can begin as early as 40 to 45 years for men who are at increased risk of prostate disorders due to ethnicity or medical or family history.
Prostatitis is inflammation or infection of the prostate. It is usually considered an inflammatory disorder of the male pelvic floor.
Depending on the severity of the condition, prostatitis is classified into various forms.
- Acute bacterial prostatitis
- Chronic bacterial prostatitis
- Inflammatory chronic prostatitis or pelvic pain syndrome
- Noninflammatory chronic prostatitis or pelvic pain syndrome
- Asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis
- Fever and chills
- Trouble urinating
- Pain and burning with urination
- Increased urine frequency
- Pain with ejaculation
- Pain in the bladder, testicles, penis, and anus
In the United States, prostate cancer is the most frequent cancer and the second leading cause of cancer mortality in males. Prostate cancer develops slowly and detecting and treating it before symptoms appear may not enhance men's health or help them live longer lives.
Regular prostate cancer tests can detect the disease at an early stage even when no signs or symptoms exist.
Continued investigation of the prostate-specific protein components of the expressed prostatic secretions through urine, combined with improvement of clinical collection protocols, aids in the development of novel prostate cancer biomarkers. With these developments, early detection of prostate cancer through expressed prostatic secretions is possible.
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Kaiser Permanente. Expressed Prostatic Secretions. https://wa.kaiserpermanente.org/kbase/topic.jhtml?docId=hw72961
Science Direct. Prostate Secretion. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/prostate-secretion
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Enlarged Prostate (BPH, Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia)Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH or enlarged prostate) is very common in men over 50 years of age. Half of all men over the age of 50 develop symptoms of BPH, but few need medical treatment. This noncancerous enlargement of the prostate can impede urine flow, slow the flow of urine, create the urge to urinate frequently and cause other symptoms like complete blockage of urine and urinary tract infections. More serious symptoms are urinary tract infections (UTIs) and complete blockage of the urethra, which may be a medical emergency. BPH is not cancer. Not all men with the condition need treatment, and usually is closely monitored if no symptoms are present. Treatment measures usually are reserved for men with significant symptoms, and can include medications, surgery, microwave therapy, and laser procedures. Men can prevent prostate problems by having regular medical checkups that include a prostate exam.
BPH SlideshowBenign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) is a condition cause by an enlarged prostate. Get more information on how an enlarged prostate is diagnosed and available treatment for enlarged prostate glands.
BPH QuizTake the Enlarge Prostate Quiz and challenge your knowledge of prostate problems. Learn causes, symptoms, treatments, and diagnosis as well as little-known facts about the prostate, and what happens to men when the prostate is enlarged.
How Do You Check for Prostate Cancer at Home?Prostate cancer is highly treatable in its early stages. Thanks to the increase in cancer screening, cancer is also being diagnosed early.
How Painful Is a Prostate Biopsy?A prostate biopsy is a simple surgical procedure that takes just 10 minutes. It involves inserting the biopsy needle through the wall of your rectum to reach your prostate to cut and remove around 10-12 small samples of tissue from the prostate. The idea of the procedure makes a prostate biopsy appear as an extremely painful procedure.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men after skin cancer.
- Risk factors include age, family history, ethnicity, and diet.
- Prostate cancer is diagnosed by a digital rectal exam, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, and prostate biopsy.
- Symptoms may include
- frequent need to urinate,
- incontinence, pain,
- blood in the urine,
- fatigue, and more.
- Prognosis and treatment depend on cancer staging.
- Watchful waiting,
- cryotherapy, and
- other management strategies are available.
- Research and clinical trials strive to find new and better treatments for prostate cancer.
Prostate Cancer QuizIs prostate cancer the most common cancer in men? Take this prostate cancer quiz to find out and learn the causes, symptoms, and treatments of this disease.
Prostate Cancer Facts
Prostate cancer is a leading cause of cancer and cancer death in males; in some men, identifying it early may prevent or delay metastasis and death from prostate cancer.
- The prostate is a walnut-shaped gland that is a part of the male reproductive system that wraps around the male urethra at it exits the bladder.
- Prostate cancer is common in men over 50 years of age, with the risk of developing prostate cancer increases with aging.
Things That May Slow Prostate Cancer ProgressionStudies are ongoing, but are there certain foods and healthy practices that can slow the growth of tumors in the prostate? Learn what could help with this WebMD slideshow.
Illustrations of ProstateSide View of the Prostate. The prostate is a walnut-sized gland located between the bladder and the penis. See a picture of the Prostate and learn more about the health topic.
PSA Test (Prostate Specific Antigen)Prostate specific antigen (PSA) is a protein found in semen. PSA levels are used to detect prostate cancer and monitor the progression of the disease. Learn about test uses, results, and accuracy.
How Long Does It Take to Recover From a Prostate Biopsy?A patient may take about four to six weeks or even more to recover after a prostate biopsy. The recovery process after biopsy usually depends on the patient's health and age. Doctors may recommend only light activities for 24-48 hours after a prostate biopsy.
What Are the First Signs of Prostate Problems?The first signs and symptoms of prostate disorder usually include problems with urination. Please consult your doctor if you experience any of the signs and symptoms to avoid the worsening of the prostate problems.
What Happens If You Don't Treat Prostate Cancer?If prostate cancer is left untreated, it may grow and possibly spread out of the prostate gland to the local tissues or distant sites such as liver and lungs.
What Is a Transrectal Ultrasound of the Prostate?Transrectal ultrasound of the prostate is a procedure done using high-energy sound waves generated by a probe inserted into the rectum.