Skip to content

Men's Health

Font Size

Expressed Prostatic Secretions

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 present.

Why It Is Done

This test may be done if you have:


Findings of expressed prostatic secretions may include the following.


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 noninflammatory.


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 microscope.


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 ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerChristopher G. Wood, MD, FACS - Urology, Oncology

Current as ofJune 4, 2014

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 04, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

Today on WebMD

man coughing
Men shouldn’t ignore.
man swinging in hammock
And how to get out it.
shaving tools
On your shaving skills.
muscular man flexing
Four facts that matter.
Food Men 10 Foods Boost Male Health
Thoughtful man sitting on bed
Man taking blood pressure
doctor holding syringe
Condom Quiz
man running
older couple in bed