A member asked:
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does a prostate exam hurt? i’m in my 40s, so i think my doctor might want to do a prostate exam at my next checkup. i’m afraid it’s going to hurt. is there any way i can make it hurt less?

2 doctor answers
Dr. Matthew Bressie
24 years experience Family Medicine
Thanks : Thanks for your question. Many patients have anxiety before their first prostate exam. Typically, prostate exams are uncomfortable but not painful. You will experience pressure and may feel the urge to defecate (move your bowels). If you already have inflammation or irritation in the anal area or a very small anal opening, you may experience some pain. I have been a practicing family physician since 1999, and would say approximately 5-10% of my patients experience any pain on examination. You can help make it less uncomfortable by relaxing your buttocks as much as possible. "clenching" tends to make the examination more difficult and can tighten the muscle around the anal opening. Since prostate cancer screening typically starts at age 50 at this time (unless you have risk factors for prostate cancer or other symptoms) many 40 year old men don't need a rectal exam. I hope this helps. Let your doctor know if you have any concerns.
Answered on Apr 13, 2017
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Dr. Donald Higby
51 years experience Medical Oncology
No: Having had many, i would have to say they are not comfortable, but they don't really hurt, unless the prostate is infected. I can't think of any way to make it "hurt less" but i think if you have one you'll be surprised that it isn't that bad.
Answered on Jun 21, 2014
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