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Physical Exam: Adolescent Male

What happens during a physical exam?

A physical exam is an important part of staying healthy. Physicals should be done yearly and before starting sports. The healthcare provider will examine the eyes, which may include checking vision, and ears, which may include hearing. He or she will check the nose, throat, neck, mouth, chest, abdomen, back, and legs and arms. The healthcare provider will assess growth and changes of puberty. He or she may also screen for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity. The healthcare provider may also counsel your child about high-risk behaviors including safety, seat belt use, smoking, alcohol, drugs, and sexual activity.

During the physical exam, the healthcare provider will examine the genitals, including the penis, testicles, and scrotum. The provider may ask the teenager to cough while examining the scrotum. Although this can be embarrassing, it is done to help check for inguinal hernias or tumors.

  • An inguinal hernia is when part of the intestine, or bowel, pushes down inside the scrotum from the abdomen. Although rare, the bowel can become trapped inside the scrotum, causing serious problems. Hernias may be felt as the person coughs and the bowel is pushed downwards. Surgery can correct hernias.

  • Tumors are growths that occur throughout the body, including the testicles. Testicular tumors in teens are rare, but the healthcare provider may check for this during the exam. The provider will instruct the male how to do self-exams.

Online Medical Reviewer: Adler, Liora, C., MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Holloway, Beth Greenblatt, RN, M.Ed.
Date Last Reviewed: 10/1/2016
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