Movember has to be hands down the craziest month of the year. I don’t even get into the shopping craze, but my goodness does time fly. Before the month wraps up, let’s finish strong and complete our discussion about Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH).
Earlier in the month we discussed BPH’s risk factors, signs, and symptoms. In this post I’d like to quickly highlight how BPH is diagnosed.
Remember that BPH is a fancy term for, “enlarged prostate.” How it is diagnosed it just as simple: Family history, physical exam, and medical testing. Are we starting to see the importance of knowing our family history and regular yearly physicals?
The physical exam involved a digital rectal exam (DRE). We bend over, the MD (with gloved hand) lubricates a finger and slides it against the anterior wall of the rectum, feeling for prostate enlargement and abnormalities. Now I know what many of us are thinking, “no way is anything going up my ass.”
Are we going to avoid having a routine colonoscopy when we know family members have succumbed to colon cancer? At some point we need to set aside our pride and do what’s best for us. I often tell patients (mostly the ladies), “a gentlemen never tells” because, I can’t tell anyone even if I wanted to (unless they are part of the medical staff in charge of your care). No one is going to tell your friends.
Lastly, there are several medical tests that can help determine a diagnosis of BPH:
- Urinalysis: urine test checking for infection
- Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA): A blood test measure PSA level
- Urodynamic Tests: A test to determine how the bladder holds and releases urine
- Cystoscopy: Test using a scope/camera to see urethra/bladder
- Transrectal Ultrasound: Rectal test to visualize abnormalities
- Biopsy: Obtaining a tissue sample to view under a microscope for abnormalities
It may take one or more of these tests to get a definitive diagnosis. Once we know what we’re dealing with, we are on to treatments.