Thanks for your question. Getting an annual physical exam is an important part of taking care of your health.
A doctor will typically do a testicular exam during an annual physical or if there is a concern for a problem with your testicle and/or penis. Usually the doctor will first have you stand and lower your underwear so that they can make sure your testicle and penis look healthy. Then they will palpate (or touch) your testicles to make sure they are similar in size, a normal size for your age and stage in puberty, and that there is nothing that feels abnormal (such as fluid, a mass, or a hernia). If you are uncircumcised a doctor will probably ask you to retract your foreskin to make sure everything is healthy. If the doctor has some concerns, they may have you cough and repeat some parts of the exam, or they may have you lay down on an examining table and repeat a part of the exam.
A doctor (or other healthcare provider) should NEVER have you masturbate in front of them.
It’s important to know that during a physical exam you can always ask for a chaperone (meaning another person in the room at the same time). A chaperone can be a family member, friend, or other member of the health care team. If you ever feel uncomfortable it’s okay to ask to stop.
Here’s some tips on how to talk about testicular exam with your health care provider:
- “Can you please tell me the parts of the testicular exam?”
- “Will another person be in the room during my physical exam?”
- “I’d feel more comfortable if there was someone else in the room during my exam, can my (family member) stay?”