Having a regular physical examination allows doctors to assess your overall health on a regular basis, giving them a basis with which to compare when you do become ill. Unfortunately, most men only head to the doctor when they are filling ill or need medication. While heading to the doctor when you are ill can help you recover quickly, scheduling routine physical examinations, typically referred to as a well-visit, is 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.
Why Should Men Have Annual Physical Examinations?
Even if a man thinks he is in perfectly good physical conditions, there are many conditions that may go unnoticed for years if he does not schedule a wellness visit. In fact, most men who learn they have hypertension and need medication have no idea of it until they have finally scheduled their physical exam. Without knowing about this condition, these men have no way of knowing that they are at risk of a heart attack, or need to be making dietary changes to help reduce the condition. By heading to a wellness visit, men are able to learn of these conditions before they become life threatening, which can happen quicker than anyone expects. Since the body’s health is all combined – heart, brain and sexual – maintaining a yearly visit will actually help men stay fit for as long as possible.
What to Expect From Annual Physical Exams for Men
A wellness visit typically runs just like any other doctor’s visit. You start by checking in with the nurse who records all of your vital signs, including blood pressure and weight. Some visits may require you to have a urine test along with bloodwork, but overall it is a general assessment of how your body is holding up and how well you are taking care of yourself.
1. Medical History
In order to assess how genetics may be affecting you, the doctor will discuss your medical history, including all of your family’s medical history. Additionally, the doctor 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 doctor 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.
2. General Physical Exam
After discussing your medical history, the doctor will then assess your current medical condition. This is done by taking your height and weight measurements, and checking all of your vitals. The doctor may also asses your reflexes and lung function. All of this will help the doctor determine if you are the healthy individual as you thought, or if there is something going on that you have not yet noticed.
3. 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 doctor 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.
4. Other Tests
Regardless, if the doctor 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 doctor to check your body’s levels and may catch anything that the physical exam did not.
Frequently Asked Questions
When you've made up your mind for routine physical exams, there are some more things which you might be concerned about, or which you should know beforehand to help you go through the exam more smoothly.
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 doctor 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 doctor.
What Is Probably the Most Prominent Medical Concern for Your 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
- Age 40: Cholesterol Lab Tests
- Age 50: first colonoscopy, to be repeated every ten years; blood test to screen for prostate cancer
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 doctor will gently squeeze your testicles. If this causes you severe pain, you have a hernia. If not, then you are in the clear.
For more information over the importance of annual physical exams for men as well as cancer screening, watch the video below: