What does a doctor do when they examine a 19-year-old’s privates? Is the patient’s underwear on or off? Is the doctor wearing gloves? Is the patient standing or lying down?

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doctor talking to patientA yearly check-up for a male teen goes something like this:

  1. Most health care providers understand that it can be embarrassing to have a complete physical exam. There may be an option to ask for a male provider. Either way, try to remember that the exam is usually quick and your health care provider (HCP) just needs to make sure that you are healthy (which usually includes checking out your private area too).
  2. First, you’ll likely have your blood pressure, weight and height checked.
  3. Usually the doctor will give you a chance to ask about any health concerns you might have and ask you about things like chronic medical problems, surgeries, medications, etc. They might also ask you questions like: what kind of foods do you eat? Do you move your bowels every day? Do you have any pain? How many hours of sleep do you get each night? Do you play any sport(s)? Have you had unprotected sex? Have you noticed any kind of discharge from your penis?
  4. Next, your HCP will ask you to undress down to your boxers or briefs and have you put on a gown.
  5. While you are sitting on the exam table, they will check your eyes, ears, and throat, then listen to your lungs and heart and examine your chest. It’s not uncommon for some guys to have extra tissue around the nipple area so don’t be surprised if your HCP touches this area to check for lumps or bumps.
  6. It is up to your HCP to determine if you are at risk for problems with your testicles, scrotum and anus.
  7. In order to examine the private area, your HCP will either have you remove your underwear or drop them down to your knees. While you are standing, your HCP will look at your penis and testicles and feel them with gloved hands, looking for lumps and bumps. Your HCP may feel in your scrotum (ball sack) to see if you have a hernia, which is a little piece of intestine that can sometimes squeeze out down there. Your HCP may also look at your anus area, which can be done standing or lying down. The exam of your privates can be the most embarrassing part of the check-up but remember it’s usually over before you know it.
  8. Depending on whether you have certain risk factors for having a sexually transmitted infection (STI), high cholesterol or another medical problem, your HCP may order blood or urine test(s).
  9. It’s important to use this time to ask your health care provider any questions that you might have. Remember that no question is stupid!