A prostate self exam is performed by inserting your well lubricated finger into your anus and feeling your gland all around.
It's practically impossible for most of us.
And, is this self exam effective? No, not really. There are certain things we just can't do well by ourselves. This is one of them. If you try this exam yourself, won't find much out. Unlike a self testicular exam, which is very easy to do, a self prostate exam is impossible to do efficiently. Unless you have extremely long fingers. Kind of like a Chimpanzee.
If you try it, you'll see the mechanics makes it very difficult to get your own finger in far enough to reach you own gland effectively.
If you can reach it, you more than likely can not touch the whole thing (unless, again, you have monkey fingers). You will be able to reach the base of it, but that is probably all.
A prostate self exam is a digital rectal exam that your try to do yourself.
If you really want to know what's happening in there, go get a digital rectal exam from a good urologist who specializes in men's problems. He'll know what he is feeling.
By yourself, even if you could reach in far enough, you don't even know what you're really feeling for. But, you can usually locate the gland and do a nice light prostate massage for yourself.
For massaging purposes, learning the location of your gland and how to reach it can be of great benefit.
Learning self prostate massage is always a good idea. It can be a very pleasurable experience as well as a health promoting one. Trying to touch your gland inside will help you locate it and help you with learning where to do a correct self prostate massage. And, learning the internal massaging technique is one of the most important things to know in maintaining male sexual health.
Your gland is about the size of a walnut. Normally.
So if you feel a baseball in there you know it's enlarged. But, by yourself, you may not be able to feel that much of it.
Neither would you probably notice the difference in the normal tissue or most tumor tissue.
With a prostate self exam, the worst thing you can do is poke around too hard and cut yourself with your fingernail. That could cause a serious intestinal infection. And I do mean serious.
A partner can be beneficial in this process in that the other person can reach more deeply inside. But, about all you will find out from them is the approximate size of your gland. As I mentioned, tumors are not always easily recognized except by someone with experience.
The whole point of a digital rectal exam (as it is formally called), is to feel for abnormalities in the gland: Enlargement or tumor. That's all it can do. Nothing else. And you have to know what you are feeling. So let a professional do it. A prostate self exam is just not going to really help you.
If you're having male problems, just go spend the $175 and get a proper examination (digital rectal exam, DRE) from your Urologist. He'll at least know what he is feeling. He can also do other tests and check for obvious bacterial problems.
Instead of trying a prostate self exam, and possibly hurting yourself, getting a proper examination by a skilled professional is a very wise thing to do if you are suffering in this area.
However, there are two "routine" tests I am very wary of and that I stay away from personally. They have their own dangers.
The prostate self exam is not going to tell you anything 95% of the time. This is because:
Sure, if you feel a baseball in there you know it is swollen. If that interests you, try it out. Just be sure to clip your finger nail first.
All in all, the prostate self exam is just another one of the multitude of almost
totally useless things you can do for yourself. But, if you try it carefully, you may satisfy your curiosity quite nicely!