What happens during a physical exam?
A physical exam is an important part of staying healthy. Physicals should be done yearly and before starting sports. The healthcare provider will examine your teen's eyes, which may include checking vision. And the provider will examine your teen's ears, which may include checking hearing. He or she will check the nose, throat, neck, mouth, chest, belly (abdomen), back, and legs and arms. The healthcare provider will assess growth and puberty changes. He or she may also screen for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity. The healthcare provider may also talk with your child about high-risk behaviors. These include safety, seat belt use, smoking, alcohol, drugs, and sexual activity.
During the physical exam, the healthcare provider will examine the genitals, including the penis, testicles, and scrotum. The provider may ask your teenager to cough while examining the scrotum. This can be embarrassing. But it is done to help check for inguinal hernias or tumors.
An inguinal hernia is when part of the intestine, or bowel, pushes down inside the scrotum from the abdomen. In rare cases the bowel can become trapped inside the scrotum, causing serious problems. Hernias may be felt as your teen coughs and the bowel is pushed downward. Surgery can correct hernias.