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 find out if bacteria are


Findings of expressed prostatic secretions may include the


This may also be called a negative result.


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


No bacteria grow in the sample.

A negative culture may mean that the symptoms are caused by
chronic prostatitis/pelvic pain syndrome, inflammatory or


This may also be called a positive result.


White blood cells, pus cells, or other types of cells
that point to inflammation are seen when the sample is viewed under the


Bacteria grow in the sample.

What To Think About

Your doctor 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 show which type of prostatitis
is causing your symptoms. But 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.


Other Works Consulted

  • Nickel JC (2012). Prostatitis and related conditions, orchitis, and epididymitis. In AJ Wein et al., eds., Campbell-Walsh Urology, 10th ed., vol. 1, pp. 327-356. Philadelphia: Saunders.
  • 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.


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD – Internal Medicine
Adam Husney, MD – Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Christopher G. Wood, MD, FACS – Urology, Oncology

Current as ofMarch 14, 2017