If you are getting ready to have your first digital prostate exam, you may be a little apprehensive about it, not knowing what to expect. However, the exam typically has minimal discomfort unless you become anxious and tense up. To overcome this anxiety, use the following three tips for relaxing and getting through your first digital prostate exam.
Inform Your Doctor of Any Issues Before the Exam
When you first see the doctor in the examination room, make sure to tell him of any issues you may have that could impact your comfort level during the exam. For example, if you have hemorrhoids or have suffered from mild constipation recently, you may be fearful that the exam will make your bottom hurt.
However, if you let your doctor know about these problems, they can take steps to make the exam more comfortable. If you have hemorrhoids, they know to use extra lubricant and to enter the rectum slowly to decrease the amount of pressure on the swollen blood vessels.
Remember to Breathe
During the exam, you may find that you involuntarily hold your breath. However, holding your breath makes your muscles clamp up, including your rectal muscles.
If everything is tensed up, your doctor will have difficulty inserting their finger without applying more pressure. This, in turn, would make you tense up further and could result in more discomfort than needed.
After you are in position, focus solely on your breathing. Remember to take slow, metered breaths in and out. Not only will this help your muscles relax, but also concentrating on your breathing gives you something else to focus on besides what the doctor is doing.
Bear Down Before and During the Exam
When the doctor starts the exam, your anal muscles will involuntarily tense up. You can counteract this reaction by bearing down as if you are having a bowel movement.
As you bear down, the muscles relax and the anus opens up slightly. This opening allows the doctor to more easily insert their finger without using a lot of pressure. To maintain this opening, continue bearing down until the exam is finished.
Using the above tips can help you get through your first digital prostate exam with a minimum of discomfort. However, if you are still apprehensive or embarrassed about the exam, discuss your concerns with a prostate doctor beforehand so they can give you additional tips and advice to help alleviate your fears.