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What to expect during a prostate exam

It’s common that men avoid getting their prostate checked as they’re too embarrassed to go. At BMI Healthcare, we want to encourage men to go and get checked and to ensure you are clear on what the prostate exam procedure consists of so we thought we’d set the record straight about what happens during a prostate exam. Knowing each stage of the procedure will hopefully help put your mind at ease and prepare you mentally before your exam.


Why should I get my prostate checked?

The main purpose of a prostate exam is to check for prostate disease or prostate cancer. If you’re over 50 or you’ve noticed any unusual symptoms, we encourage you to book an appointment to be examined.

Who carries out my prostate exam?

The rectal examination can be carried out by medical professionals including, your GP, a nurse or a specialist consultant. Most procedures are carried out at GP surgeries.

Your examiner will completely empathise that this is embarrassing for some people. If you’d rather a GP/doctor/nurse to be the same-sex, please feel free to ask as they’d be more than happy to work around your requirements. You can also bring a relative or a friend with you for moral support.

The procedure

Before your procedure you’ll be asked to remove your lower pieces of clothing and then lie on your side with your knees up to your chest on the bed . We understand it’s an unnatural and awkward situation, but try to relax. The examiner will use plenty of lubricant to try and ease the discomfort.

Your examiner will wear a glove and will examine into your lower rectum. If you feel a little discomfort, don’t worry, that’s completely normal.

Your examiner will then start checking for any abnormalities. These can include:

  • Lumps
  • Warts
  • Rashes
  • Haemorrhoids or piles (swollen blood vessels around the anus)
  • Any other abnormalities

During your exam you may me feel some pressing against your prostate gland. A healthy prostate gland should be smooth, so your examiner will check for any hard areas or lumps. The pressing shouldn’t hurt, but you may have an urge to urinate. If you do feel any pain or you can’t continue with the discomfort, feel free to say and your examiner will stop.

The whole prostate exam should only take a few moments, but can vary depending on whether your examiner finds any abnormalities.

After your prostate exam

After inspecting, the examiner will them remove their finger carefully and will clean any remaining gel. Bleeding is uncommon unless you have haemorrhoids. You can then take your time and get dressed in privacy.

When you’re ready your examiner will discuss your results and explain further steps if they’ve found anything unusual.


If you’ve noticed you have the following symptoms, please book an appointment to be examined . Our consultants, GPs and nurses at BMI Healthcare are all very experienced and will make you feel as comfortable as possible.

  • Needing to urinate more often than usual
  • Needing to urinate more at night
  • Straining or having difficulties in starting or finishing urinating
  • Still feeling like you need to urinate again after you’ve recently been
  • Weak flow when you urinate

Remember, not all men have these symptoms, so if you feel you may be at risk, you have a family history or you’re worried, you can still be seen for an examination.

To find out more about prostate cancer, click here, or you can make an online enquiry and a member of the BMI Healthcare team will be in touch.

You can also read BMI Healthcare’s consultant Q&A on prostate cancer where three of their specialist urologists answer common questions and discuss the symptoms and treatment available or find out more on their infographics .


[2] Infographic –

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