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Male Physical Exam

written by Tessa Chatham Registered Nurse Written by Tessa Chatham Registered Nurse
Tessa Chatham Registered Nurse

Tessa Chatham Registered Nurse

Tessa is a MSN prepared Registered Nurse with 10 years of critical care experience in healthcare. When not practicing clinical nursing, she enjoys academic writing and is passionate about helping those affected by medical aliments live healthy lives.

Read more posts by this author.

November 24, 2021 Read Time - 6 minutes

What is a Physical Exam?

A physical exam is a medical exam performed by a medical doctor to determine your overall health and wellness. Typical exams include assessing body systems as well as questioning medical history, family medical history, and surgical history. This exam is known as a “wellness check” and is usually done every year.

Preventative care is vital in reducing the risk of developing chronic diseases that account for 75% of the US healthcare cost.

  • Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  • See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  • Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.

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What is Included in a Physical Exam for a Man?

A male physical exam looks a little different for men because certain illnesses affect only men and not women. 

Both men and women will get:

Screenings

  • Blood pressure
  • Cholesterol
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Osteoporosis
  • Colorectal
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm
  • Infectious disease

Exams

  • Eye
  • Hearing
  • Physical
  • Dental
  • Lung cancer

The differences for a man’s physical exam include the preventative exams that involve male anatomy specifically. For example, hernia exams are completed by doctors to check for weaknesses in the abdominal wall between the intestines and scrotum. This is the well-known “turn and cough” maneuver. 

Testicular screenings and prostate cancer screenings are completed for men. These preventative screenings for men are done for different age groups.

Men’s Health Screening

Testicular and prostate screenings are considered men’s health screenings, as they are specific to men only. A testicular exam is done between 18-39 and is done to check for lumps, tenderness, or any abnormalities. Contrary to popular belief, the US Preventive Services Task Force recommends against performing testicular self-exams as they have been shown to have little or no benefit.

Prostate cancer screening is done between the ages of 55-69. If you are younger than 55, a prostate cancer screening is generally not recommended, though you may have a higher risk of prostate cancer if your brother or father had prostate cancer.

Prostate exams (digital inspection through the rectum) are no longer routinely done on men with no symptoms. Instead, a blood level test called a PSA test is completed to screen for prostate cancer.

Men’s Full Health Check

A full health check should be performed during a male physical exam each year. 

A men’s full health check includes:

  • Screening for medical issues
  • Assessing your risk for future medical problems
  • Encouraging healthy lifestyles
  • Updating vaccinations as applicable
  • Helping you get to know your provider

PlushCare provides easy access to your doctor’s qualifications, experience, and previous patient reviews, making it easy to get to know your doctor.

What Tests Should a Man Have Every Year?

The types of tests a man should have every year depend on his age and risk factors. Yearly screening tests are vital for men. 

While a male annual physical exam checklist will vary for each person, these screening tests include:

  • Blood pressure screening (ages 18-65+)
  • Cholesterol screening for heart disease prevention (ages 18-65+)
  • Diabetes screening (ages 18-65+)
  • Dental exam (ages 18-65+)
  • Eye exam (ages 18-65+)
  • Immunizations such as flu, pneumonia, coronavirus, and shingles (ages 18-65+)
  • Infectious disease screening such as hepatitis C (ages 18-65+)
  • Physical exam including height, weight, and BMI (ages 18-65+)
  • Testicular exam (ages 18-39, 40-64)
  • Colorectal screening (ages 40-65+)
  • Lung cancer screening (ages 40-65+)
  • Osteoporosis screening (ages 40-65+)
  • Prostate cancer screening (ages 40-65+)
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm screening (age 65+)
  • A hearing test (age 65+)

What Blood Tests Should a Man Get?

Generally, a complete blood count and chemistry panel blood labs should be drawn every year to understand a man’s overall health. These basic labs identify anemia, diabetes, electrolyte imbalances, kidney problems, and infections. Depending on risk factors, you may need specialized labs such as a lipid panel, cholesterol, iron studies, thyroid labs, HIV, PSA, or Hepatitis C.


Related: How to Read Your Blood Test Results


When Should Males Start Getting Physicals?

Adult males should start getting yearly physicals at age 18. It is important to start preventative screening at 18 to prevent any serious illness or disease. The sooner you begin the habit of completing your yearly exam, the easier it will get. 

Plus, you will build a lasting relationship with your doctor as they see you every year, and you will feel comfortable asking them questions that you would otherwise reserve.

Prostate Exam Age

Prostate cancer screening exams should begin at age 40, depending on risk factors. Unless you have a family history of prostate cancer, it is typically alright to wait until the age of 55 to test for prostate cancer. If you are between the age of 55-69, you have the option to get a PSA test that will measure the likelihood of developing prostate cancer. Discuss the risks and benefits of a PSA test with your doctor. 

For men older than 70, a routine PSA blood test is not routinely recommended. 

How Much Does a Male Physical Exam Cost?

A male physical exam falls under preventive care and, therefore, should be provided at no cost. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, preventative care, such as an annual checkup, is 100% covered under most health insurance plans. This includes a male physical exam, immunizations, flu shots, and certain tests and screenings. 

Insurance companies benefit from preventative care because it prevents high healthcare costs that are accrued with chronic illnesses. According to the CDC, chronic diseases account for 75% of all healthcare costs in the United States. Unfortunately, this means that most people do not take advantage of preventative care, screenings, or early treatments. 

Extra bloodwork or diagnostic tests may not be covered completely by insurance, such as specialty bloodwork, X-ray, CT scans, or MRI scans; it just depends on your policy and treatment plan.

  • Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  • See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  • Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.

PlushCare-App-Steps

Are Yearly Physicals Necessary?

Yearly physicals are necessary to reduce overall healthcare costs by limiting the progression of chronic diseases. Dr. Bridget Bellingar DO says, “As your body changes, it’s important to undergo annual physicals to monitor any developments in your health.” Chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are the leading cause of death and disability in the United States, accounting for $3.8 trillion in annual health care costs. 

According to the CDC, 6 in 10 adults in the US have a chronic disease, and 4 in 10 have two or more. Chronic diseases include heart disease, cancer, chronic lung disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease. By making healthy choices and getting your yearly physical, you can reduce your likelihood of getting chronic diseases and improve your quality of life.

To prevent chronic diseases or to catch them early, visit your doctor regularly for proper preventative care. Platforms such as PlushCare offer the ability to meet with your doctor online from your phone or computer wherever you have access to the internet. PlushCare’s online doctors are graduates of the top 50 medical schools in the United States and have 15 years of experience on average. Book an appointment online today to get started.


PlushCare can provide an “annual wellness visit” to online patients. An annual wellness visit is not the same as a physical exam, which needs to be done by an in-person medical doctor.

PlushCare cannot provide physical exams, DOT physical exams, or workers’ compensation physical exams, though our doctors can provide lab test orders if needed.


Read More About Physical Exams


Sources:

PlushCare is dedicated to providing you with accurate and trustworthy health information.

American Academy of Family Physicians. Personalize Decisions on PSA Screening for Men Ages 55-69. Accessed on March 12, 2021, at https://www.aafp.org/news/health-of-the-public/20180511psascreen.html

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. How you can prevent chronic diseases. Accessed on February 23, 2021, from https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/about/prevent/index.htm 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chronic Diseases in America. Accessed on November 24, 2021 at https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/infographic/chronic-diseases.htm 

Heidelbaugh JJ. The Adult Well-Male Examination. Am Fam Physician. 2018 Dec 15;98(12):729-737. PMID: 30525354. Accessed on February 23, 2021, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30525354/ 

U.S. National Library of Medicine. Health screenings for men ages 18 to 39. Accessed on March 12, 2021, at https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007464.htm

Most PlushCare articles are reviewed by M.D.s, Ph.Ds, N.P.s, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. Click here to learn more and meet some of the professionals behind our blog. The PlushCare blog, or any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. For more information click here.

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