Male Genital Self-Exam
Because the male genitalia are more exposed that those of the female, most men are familiar with what their external genital structures look like. However, it is still important for men to complete routine self-examinations of their genitals, so that they can detect any abnormalities that may be the signal a health problem. The earlier in life that men begin this practice the better: It gives them familiarity with their bodies and alerts them to any changes they might detect later.
A good time to do a self-exam is right after a hot shower or bath, as the heat will allow the testes to descend (which makes it easier to detect any lumps). Explore each of your testes one at a time, and pay attention to any differences between the two. Although it is normal for a man to have one testicle be slightly larger than the other, it is not normal for one testicle to suddenly become enlarged or swollen. Place your fingers on either side of the testicle, and-with a small amount of pressure-roll the testicle between your fingertips. The texture and shape of the testicle will vary from man to man, but it should generally be fairly smooth.
If you find that there is an area that is painful to the touch, this may be a sign of an infection, and it should be checked out by your doctor as soon as possible. If you find any sort of lump or hard area on either of your testicles-even if it is very small-you need to see your doctor immediately as this could be an early sign of testicular cancer.
During your genital self-exam, also take a close look at your penis (including the tissue underneath the foreskin). If you notice anything abnormal, such as a sore or growth, it is important that you see your doctor. Such abnormalities could be the symptoms of an infection, a sexually transmitted disease, or in very rare cases, penile cancer.
Remember, early detection and treatment improve the prognosis for almost all health problems-so check your genitals for abnormalities on a regular basis.
LeVay, Simon, Janice I. Baldwin, and John D. Baldwin. Discovering Human Sexuality. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates, 2012. Print.
Last Updated 13 May 2014.