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Men's Health > Benign Prostate Hypertrophy > Prostate Massage

Milking the Prostate with Massage

What about having an energetic, "vigorous" prostate massage?

How 'bout a good old prostate milking?

Sounds like a healthy thing to do, doesn't it? A lot of people become confused after reading about the supposely good effects of vigorous massage or drainage at various websites and newsgroups devoted to the subject of prostatitis. One such website states:

"Your prostate gland is a complex structure of tiny acini, or sacs, in which bacteria can grow. Once they grow there, the swelling and inflammation caused by the infection closes off the sac, causing it not to "shed" bacteria, and protecting the bacteria inside from antibiotics and your body's own immune cells. As more and more acini get closed off, your prostate begins to swell and interferes with your other normal urinary and sexual functions."

This concept, this image of bacteria-filled acini, is not borne out by any research. But it's an idea which has taken hold of many men and now drives a good deal of the layman debate around chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS). You need to be aware that it is not an idea with any support both experimentally or in the urological community generally.

It seems that gentle massage of the prostate by a urologist may be beneficial by helping to drain painfully sequestered secretions in a chronically inflamed prostate gland or seminal vesicles.

As a leading prostatitis researcher has stated, "prostate massage" may help by releasing the tension around nerve endings near the prostate in a manner similar to Theile's massage which helps women with IC. This represents a form of "myofascial release".

However, vigorous prostatic massage may be very dangerous. If you have acute bacterial prostatitis it can result in septicaemia (blood poisoning). If you have the beginnings of a carcinoma in your prostate, it could conceivably result in the cancer being disturbed, broken up and metastasizing (spreading) around your body. Thirdly, it can result in prostatic calculi (little stones -- if you have them) tearing the delicate membranes in the prostate, exacerbating your CP/CPPS.

Fourthly, there is a chance of perforation of the very thin rectal lining adjacent to the prostate, or tearing the rectal lining with a fingernail or implement. Fifthly, it may cause a hemorrhoid flare-up. In short, do NOT ask your doctor for prostate "massage" unless you have considered all the above points carefully.

A researching urologist adds that "vigorous pressure can result in tearing the very short segment of the urethra just below the prostate and immediately before the beginning of the penile urethra (this part is usually referred to as "membranous urethra"). The tearing can be very small and indistinguishable on routine examination but during the healing process this results in urethral stricture. In short, if the person giving you a massage has short fingers there is a significant probability that he/she might give you... a urethral stricture."

There is a general misconception that the prostate should appear enlarged, boggy or congested in "prostatitis. While this probably is true in chronic bacterial prostatitis, most CP/CPPSers have small prostates, which are painful to massage. Therefore, if you don't find relief from three massages, there is a small chance that massage will benefit you at all. It deserves a try, it is something that definitely works in some cases but it is not as simple as picking one's nose (and even this can bleed from vigorous picking). Prostatic massage is a procedure and as such the person performing it should be aware of what he/she is doing, where he/she is supposed to press and how persevering he/she should be.

Remember that for some men, massage can be beneficial even when it is a massage of the muscles, surrounding the prostate, rather than the gland itself.

Jim Shaw

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