Why Do I Need a Testicular Exam? Medical exams are usually pretty straightforward. Many parts of the exam make sense to most guys: The scale is used to weigh you, the stethoscope is used to listen to your heartbeat. For other parts of your body, the doctor's sense of touch and training are the key to knowing how things should feel. During the physical, the doctor will touch your belly to feel for any problems with your liver or spleen. The doc may also feel the lymph nodes in your neck, armpits, and groin to see if there is any swelling, which can indicate an infection or other problem. The doctor also needs to touch and feel your testicles and the area around them to be sure they're developing properly and there are no problems. Two possible problems that can affect teen guys are hernias and — rarely — testicular cancer. What Are Hernias? A hernia is when a part of the intestine pushes out from the abdomen and into the groin or scrotum (the sac of skin that the testicles hang in). Most hernias happen because of a weakness in the abdominal wall that the person was born with. If a piece of intestine becomes trapped in the scrotum, it can cut off the blood supply to the intestine and cause serious problems if the situation isn't quickly corrected. A doctor can feel for a hernia by using his or her fingers to examine the area around the groin and testicles. The doctor may ask you to cough while pressing on or feeling the area. Sometimes, the hernia causes a bulge that the doctor can detect. If this happens, surgery almost always repairs the hernia completely. What Is Testicular Cancer? Testicular cancer is unusual in teen guys, but it can happen. Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in guys aged 20 to 34, though — a good reason to get in the habit of regular testicular exams. What Happens During a Testicular Exam? Your doctor should examine your testicles at least once a year. He or she will grasp one testicle at a time, rolling it gently between the thumb and first finger to feel for lumps. The doctor will also feel if the testicle is hardened or enlarged. The doctor will teach you how to do testicular self-exams. Examine yourself at least once a month for any lumps or bumps on your testicles. Knowing how your testicles feel when they're healthy will help you know when something feels different down there. Noticing any new testicular lumps or bumps as soon as possible gives the best chances for survival and total cure if it turns out to be cancer. Even though it might feel weird to have your testicles checked out, it's no big deal to the doctor. Sometimes when a doctor is examining that area, you might get an erection — this is something you can't control. It's a normal reaction that happens often during genital exams on guys. It won't upset or bother the doctor, so there's no need to feel embarrassed. Back to Articles Related Articles How to Do a Testicular Self-Exam (Slideshow) The testicular self-examination (TSE) is an easy way for guys to check their own testicles to make sure there aren't any unusual lumps or bumps - which are usually the first sign of testicular cancer. Read More Testicular Torsion This emergency condition happens when the spermatic cord gets twisted and cuts off blood supply, causing pain and swelling. Find out what to do in this article for teens. Read More Why Does the Doctor Have to Examine My Testicles? Find out what the experts have to say. Read More What Should I Do About Lumps in My Testicles? Find out what the experts have to say. Read More Varicocele A varicocele is an enlargement of the veins in the scrotum. Although there is no way to prevent a varicocele, it usually needs no special treatment. Read More Testicular Injuries Serious testicular injuries are relatively uncommon, but testicular injury can be painful. Read this to find out what steps you can take to protect yourself from injury. Read More Hernias A hernia is an opening or weakness in the wall of a muscle, tissue, or membrane that normally holds an organ in place. Learning to prevent hernias isn't hard to do - check out these tips. Read More Is It Normal to Get Erections? If you've ever had an erection in an embarrassing situation, you've probably asked yourself this question. But erections are a perfectly normal function of the male body, especially in guys who are going through puberty. Read More STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) You've probably heard lots of discouraging news about sexually transmitted diseases. The good news is that STDs can be prevented. Find out how to protect yourself. Read More Gynecomastia Puberty can be confusing, especially when unexpected changes happen. Learn what gynecomastia is and why it happens. Read More Is My Penis Normal? Just about every guy wonders about the size of his penis at one time or another. Read More Male Reproductive System What makes up a guy's reproductive system and how does it develop? Find the answers to these questions and more. Read More Is It Normal for One Testicle to Be Bigger? Find out what the experts have to say. Read More Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor. © 1995-2021 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved. Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.