Genital Exam - Male (Pre- or Early Puberty)

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An exam of your child's genitals (JEN-ah-tuls) is done to check for possible disease, injury or abnormality. A parent may stay in the room during the exam if the child does not mind (Picture 1). 

Genital Exam

During the exam

  • You may be asked to help your child lower his pants and possibly have him put on a hospital gown.
  • The doctor or nurse will explain what will happen before and during the exam.
  • The exam may be done with your child lying on the examination table or standing up.
  • The doctor will put on disposable gloves and may turn on a bright light to see the area better.
  • In some cases, after checking your child's penis, scrotum, testicles and rectal areas (Picture 2), the doctor may want to do some laboratory tests.  A specimen may be taken by touching the opening of the penis, rectum, or surrounding areas with a swab (like a long Q-tip®).  This may feel uncomfortable but it should not hurt.  
  • During the exam your child may be slightly uncomfortable. The exam is not painful.

After the exam

  • After the exam, you may help your child get dressed.
  • The doctor will discuss the exam with you and answer any questions you may have.
  • You will be called within a week if any laboratory tests are not normal and your child needs treatment. Be sure the doctor or nurse has your correct phone number or a way to contact you.
  • Sometimes, a follow-up appointment will be scheduled before you leave.

Male Genitals

Genital Exam - Male (Pre- or Early Puberty) (PDF)

HH-III-81 3/85, Revised 5/17 Copyright 1985, Nationwide Children's Hospital