Having a regular physical examination allows your doctor to assess your overall health on a regular basis, providing a basis with which to compare when you do become ill. Unfortunately, most men only head to the doctor’s office when they are feeling ill or need medication. While heading to the physician when you are ill can help you recover quickly, scheduling routine physical examinations typically referred to as a well-visit, can be a vital part of staying healthy. Just like any other wellness visit, a routine physical examination includes checking the health of all vital organs as well as ensuring the health of the male sexual organs.

The manly physical exam:

 In Your 20s

  • Annual physical exam by your primary care provider, including blood pressure, and height/weight checks
  • Screening for testicular cancer, including monthly self-exams
  • Cholesterol testing every 5 years
  • Depending on your individual circumstances, your Nurse Practitioner may want to do an electrocardiogram to check for heart disease, and blood tests to screen for diabetes, thyroid disease, liver problems, and anemia
  • Depending on risk factors, your Nurse Practitioner may also recommend screening for skin cancer, sexually transmitted diseases, HIV infection, and alcohol abuse

In Your 30s

  • Annual physical exam by your primary care provider, including blood pressure, and height/weight checks
  • Screening for testicular cancer, including monthly self- exams
  • Cholesterol testing every 5 years
  • Depending on your individual circumstances, your Nurse Practitioner may want to do an electrocardiogram to check for heart disease, and blood tests to screen for diabetes, thyroid disease, liver problems, and anemia
  • Depending on risk factors, your Nurse Practitioner may also recommend screening for skin cancer, oral cancer, sexually transmitted diseases, HIV infection, and alcohol abuse
  • Vision examination
  • Screening for coronary heart disease in individuals with strong family history and/or risk factors

In Your 40s

  • Annual physical exam by your primary care provider, including blood pressure, and height/weight checks
  • Screening for testicular cancer, including monthly self exams
  • Cholesterol testing every 5 years
  • Depending on your individual circumstances, your Nurse Practitioner may want to do an electrocardiogram to check for heart disease, and blood tests to screen for thyroid disease, liver problems, and anemia
  • Screening for prostate cancer
  • Diabetes screening every 3 years over the age of 45
  • Depending on risk factors, your Nurse Practitioner may also recommend screening for skin cancer, oral cancer, sexually transmitted diseases, and alcohol abuse
  • Vision examination
  • Screening for coronary heart disease in individuals with strong family history and/or risk factors

In Your 50s

  • Annual physical exam by your primary care provider, including blood pressure, and height/weight checks
  • Screening for testicular cancer, including monthly self exams
  • Cholesterol testing every 5 years
  • Annual screening for Type II diabetes
  • Depending on risk factors, your Nurse Practitioner may recommend screening for skin cancer, oral cancer, lung cancer, sexually transmitted diseases, and alcohol abuse
  • Screening for lipid disorders
  • Annual electrocardiogram
  • Vision and hearing examinations
  • Screening for prostate cancer
  • Screening for colon cancer with fecal occult blood testing, sigmoidoscopy, or colonoscopy at age 50
  • Screening for coronary heart disease in individuals with strong family history and/or risk factors
  • Screening for depression

In Your 60s

  • Annual physical exam by your primary care provider, including blood pressure, and height/weight checks
  • Screening for testicular cancer, including monthly self exams
  • Screening for prostate cancer
  • Screening for lipid disorders
  • Annual electrocardiogram
  • Discuss with your physician screening for coronary heart disease, abdominal aortic aneurysm, and carotid artery ultrasound screening
  • Vision and hearing examinations
  • Screening for osteoporosis
  • Depending on risk factors, your Nurse Practitioner may recommend screening for skin cancer, oral cancer, lung cancer sexually transmitted diseases, and alcohol abuse
  • Continue colorectal screening based upon previous studies and results
  • Screening for depression
  • Screening for dementia and Alzheimer's disease

In Your 70s and Up

  • Annual physical exam by your primary care provider, including blood pressure, and height/weight checks
  • Screening for testicular cancer, including monthly self exams
  • Screening for prostate cancer
  • Screening for lipid disorders
  • Annual electrocardiogram
  • Discuss with your physician screening for coronary heart disease, abdominal aortic aneurysm, and carotid artery ultrasound screening
  • Vision and hearing examinations
  • Screening for osteoporosis
  • Continue colorectal screening based upon previous studies and results. General screening until age 75. Discuss with your physician screening if aged 76-85 years old. Screening is not recommended for those greater than 85 years of age.
  • Depending on risk factors, your Nurse Practitioner may recommend screening for skin cancer, oral cancer, lung cancer, sexually transmitted diseases, and alcohol abuse
  • Screening for depression
  • Screening for dementia and Alzheimer's disease

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS BY MEN FOR MEN

What sorts of questions might I be asked?

In order to assess how genetics may be affecting you, the Nurse Practitioner will discuss your medical history, including all of your family’s medical history. Additionally, the Nurse Practitioner may ask you about your current living conditions, any diseases you may have had or currently have, sexual history, lifestyle, and diet. Be sure you are straightforward and honest with the Nurse Practitioner so he has all the information needed in the case a diagnosis is necessary. If you have any concerns, now is the time to express them.

What will be the general flow of the physical exam?

After discussing your medical history, the Nurse Practitioner will then assess your current medical condition. This is done by taking your height and weight measurements, and checking all of your vitals. The Nurse Practitioner may also asses your reflexes and lung function. All of this will help the Nurse Practitioner determine if you are the healthy individual as you thought, or if there is something going on that you have not yet noticed.

What should I expect with the Prostate and Genital Exam?

Once the general wellness exam has been completed, the visit will then proceed to the examination of the penis and testicles to check for any abnormalities. While the testicles are checked for any strange growths, the penis is checked for anything unusual, such as lesions or discoloration.

Now that the external is complete, you will then go through a prostate exam. This is one of the main reasons most men avoid having a wellness visit as it is very uncomfortable. Checking the prostrate requires the Nurse Practitioner to insert his gloved and lubricated finger in the rectum to feel for the prostate gland to look for signs of swelling. Even though it is uncomfortable, just remember that over ninety percent of all potentially fatal prostrate issues were caught because of this simple exam.

What sorts of tests will be done or ordered?

Regardless, if the Nurse Practitioner is concerned about any specific occurrence throughout the exam, he or she may order other tests to be completed. For some, this is to assess an area to see if something really is wrong, while for others it is done purely to get a baseline or see how well the baseline has been maintained. This may be done through ordering either urine or blood test, or both. Doing so will allow the Nurse Practitioner to check your body’s levels and may catch anything that the physical exam did not.

How Should You Prepare for Your Physical?

Before going to your wellness visit, you will want to make sure you have brushed up on all of your family’s medical history, as well as your own. Such things as cancer, stroke, heart disease, and diabetes are all diseases that typically run in the family and your Nurse Practitioner should know about. Additionally, be familiar with all medications you are taking on a regular basis, even if it’s over-the-counter. Lastly, if you have noticed something strange, take notes about the symptoms you are experiencing so you can thoroughly discuss the issue with your Nurse Practitioner. Finally, take a thorough shower, and put on clean underwear as it will enhance your confidence.

What are the most prominent medical concerns for me based on age?

Even though men will not necessarily want to have these done once a year, they are called annual physical exams for a reason. Men should schedule these to occur at approximately the same time every year. In general, the following are visits that you should have at the listed ages:

  • Age 20: have annual testicular and hernia exams
  • Age 35: pay close attention to the thyroid and testicular cancer
  • Age 40: Cholesterol Lab Tests, and erectile function
  • Age 50: first colonoscopy, to be repeated every ten years; blood test to screen for prostate cancer erectile function and prostate enlargement

Why Would the doctor Tell Me to “Turn and Cough?”

For those who lift heavy objects for a living, or simply enjoy lifting heavy weights for their workout, this part of the exam can help determine if you have a hernia. When you “turn and cough,” the Nurse Practitioner will gently squeeze your testicles. If this causes you severe pain, you have a hernia. If not, then you are in the clear.

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