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What to Expect from Your Annual Physicians Exam

Doctors and Medical Specialties
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While some experts argue about the need for a yearly physicians exam, particularly for a healthy patient, most primary care physicians want to examine their patients once a year. It's a good time for the doctor to pass along preventive medical tips and information that could be extremely helpful to the patient. While doctors vary in their approach to the yearly physicians exam, many are generally similar.

Physicians Exam for Men

  • Prostate exam. This involves manipulating the prostate to determine if the size is normal or there are any suspicious areas.
  • Hernia exam. When you turn your head and cough, the doctor checks for any weaknesses in the wall of the abdomen between the scrotum and intestines.
  • Penis exam. The doctor is looking both for any suggestion of sexually transmitted infections and any ulcers, warts or growths that should be addressed.
  • Testicular exam. Similar to the breast exam for women, in that the doctor is checking for any unusual lumps, tenderness or growths.

Physicians Exam for Women

  • Breast exam. The discovery of any abnormal lumps could uncover early stages of breast cancer. The exam should also include the underarm lymph nodes as well.
  • Pelvic exam. The doctor checks the vagina, cervix and vulva for any indications of sexual transmitted diseases. The annual physicians exam could also include a Pap test designed to find any signs of cervical cancer.

The Physicians Exam for Both Sexes

  • Vital signs. Your weight and blood pressure will be tested and your Body Mass Index will be calculated and measured against future examinations.
  • Eyes. This is a basic check for any irregularities that could lead to a referral to an ophthalmologist.
  • Skin. The doctor is look for cancer, along with other diseases. Skin cancer is common in men and women who spent years out in the sun during their younger years.
  • Lungs and heart. The doctor will listen to your heartbeat and breathing to make sure the lungs sound clear and the heart beat is normal.
  • Abdomen. Any unusual obstructions or masses could indicate problems that may need to be addressed.
  • Nervous System. The doctor will go through the normal neurological tests checking for any abnormalities.
  • Blood work and other tests. This will vary from doctor to doctor, but many will order blood work to check on cholesterol levels and other basics and perhaps a chemistry panel and urinalysis as part of the yearly physicians exam. Pap tests and a mammogram are possibilities for women.

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