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The Men's Health Department


Getting an annual exam helps supplement a healthy lifestyle. What happens in male physical exams depends on factors such as a male's age and any underlying reasons for his visit. For example, a male may suspect that he is ill or be compelled to get a full exam as a pre-requisite for playing on a sports team or getting a certain job.


A male physical exam may begin with a discussion between the physician and patient about health history, medications taken, heredity, living environment, diet, exercise and any additional concerns. An adolescent male may also be offered private counsel with a doctor so that he may discuss issues such as sexual activity without worrying about parental pressure.

General Exam

After the discussion, a physician will do a general exam that covers systems such as the muscular system, the skeletal system, the skin, the heart and the lungs. The patient's height and weight will also be measured to ensure that they are in healthy proportion.

External Tests

An external test that is specific to males is an examination of the penis and testicles. The physician will examine their external structure and determine if any abnormalities, such as testicular tumors, are present. He may also examine for a hernia, which may occur when part of the bowel pushes into the scrotum from the abdomen. To check for a hernia, the physician will examine the patient's scrotum and ask the patient to cough.

Other Tests

A urine or blood test may be performed to uncover any hidden ailments such as high cholesterol or sexually transmitted diseases, or to detect the presence of drugs. Older males may also be tested for conditions such as heart disease, prostate tumors and colorectal cancer. Heart conditions are typically detected with an electrocardiogram (EKG), which uses sensors on parts of the body to give the physician information about a patient's heart rhythm. Prostate and colorectal conditions are typically assessed with digital rectal exams, video examinations of the colon (known as sigmoidoscopies and colonoscopies,) and fecal sample tests.

Genital Examination

Digital Rectal Exam

Click to watch a demonstration


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