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.
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.
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.
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.