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Physical Examination: Adolescent Male

What happens during a physical examination?

A physical examination is an important aspect of staying healthy. Physicals should be performed yearly and often for adolescents before entrance into sports. The physician will examine the eyes, ears, nose, throat, mouth, abdomen, back, legs, arms, and thyroid gland. In addition, the physician will complete an assessment of growth and evaluate pubertal changes. Screening for hypertension, scoliosis, and obesity may be performed. Approximately 5 percent of male adolescents have a mild curvature of the spine. Curves greater than 10 degrees should be monitored by your adolescent's physician until growth is completed.

Another important part of this examination involves the examination of the genitals and the scrotum. The scrotum is the bag of skin that holds and helps protect the testicles. The testicles make sperm, and to do this, the temperature of the testicles needs to be cooler than the inside of the body. This is why the scrotum is located outside of the body.

During the physical examination, the physician will examine the genitals, including the penis and testicles. The physician may ask the teenager to cough while examining the scrotum. Although this can be embarrassing for an adolescent male, it is necessary to help evaluate the presence of hernias or tumors.

A hernia is when part of the intestine, or bowel, pushes down inside the scrotum from the abdomen. If a person has a hernia, this part of the bowel can become trapped inside the scrotum, causing serious problems. The physician checks for this by having the male cough while feeling inside the scrotal sac. Hernias may be felt as the person coughs and the bowel is pushed downwards. Hernias can be corrected with surgery.

Tumors are growths that occur throughout the body, including the testicles. Testicular tumors in adolescents are rare, but the physician may check for this during the examination. The physician will instruct the male how to perform self-examinations.

It is important to know, as an adolescent male, that although this part of the physical may be embarrassing, it is necessary to make sure there are no problems.

Click here to view the
Online Resources of Adolescent Medicine


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