What Happens During a Male Physical Exam?

Physical exams assess all systems of the body to determine your overall health. Gender-specific tests are also performed to evaluate the health of your reproductive system. For males, this includes examination of the penis and testicles, to screen for conditions that affect these areas.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.


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 may also be offered private counsel with a doctor so that he may discuss issues such as sexual activity without worrying about parental pressure.

Once a history has been taken, the physician will do a general examination of the muscular system, skeletal system, skin, heart and lungs. Height and weight are recorded and used to determine body mass -- an indicator of overall health.

Genital Exam

Male physicals include an examination of the penis and testicles. The physician looks for structural abnormalities, such as testicular tumors. 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 presses into the area above the testicles and asks 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 screened 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 and fecal sample tests.