Expressed prostatic secretions

Exam Overview

Examination of expressed prostatic secretions tests a sample of the secretion for signs of inflammation or bacterial infection.

While you bend over or lie on your side or back, the doctor inserts a lubricated, gloved finger into the rectum and presses each side of the prostate gland 6 or 7 times. The urethra is then gently "milked" with a gloved finger. The secretions are collected in a tube or on a swab.

The secretions are examined under a microscope for signs of inflammation and are cultured in the lab to determine if bacteria are present.

Results

Findings of expressed prostatic secretions may include the following.

Normal

This may also be called a negative result.

Microscopic

Few or no white blood cells are seen when the sample is viewed under a microscope.

Culture

No bacteria grow in the sample.

A negative culture may indicate the symptoms are caused by chronic prostatitis/pelvic pain syndrome, inflammatory or noninflammatory.

Abnormal

This may also be called a positive result.

Microscopic

White blood cells, pus cells, or other types of cells indicating inflammation are seen when the sample is viewed under the microscope.

Culture

Bacteria grow in the sample.

What To Think About

Your health professional may ask you to avoid ejaculation for 5 days prior to this test. This allows prostatic fluid to build up and prevents an increase in the number of white blood cells in the prostate fluid, which could interfere with test results.

The results of the test may help indicate which type of prostatitis is causing your symptoms. However, this test often fails to provide conclusive evidence of the cause of symptoms.

Complete the medical test information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you prepare for this test.

References

Other Works Consulted

  • Nickel JC (2007). Inflammatory conditions of the male genitourinary tract: Prostatitis and related conditions, orchitis, and epididymitis. In AJ Wein et al., eds., Campbell-Walsh Urology, 9th ed., vol. 1, pp. 304–329. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier.
  • Shoskes DA, et al. (2003). Long-term results of multimodal therapy for chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome. Journal of Urology, 169(4): 1406–1410.

Last Updated: December 26, 2009

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