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How to Do a Genital Self-Exam

Overview

Male genital self-exam

A genital self-exam is a simple check to help you get to know what's normal for you and to see if you have any symptoms of a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

  • Look for any areas of redness, sores, bumps, warts, or blisters in your genital area.
  • Look closely at and feel the entire surface of your penis, scrotum, and anus.

    If you're not circumcised, pull back your foreskin covering the head of your penis and look carefully at the head of your penis.

  • Use a mirror to help you look at the underside of your penis, your scrotum, and anus.
  • Look for discharge from your penis.
  • Check your testicles for swelling and tenderness.
  • Separate your pubic hair so you can see the skin under the hair.

It may be helpful to feel each of these areas with your fingers as you view them. This can help you find any areas of rough skin or bumps.

Female genital self-exam

A genital self-exam is a simple check to help you get to know what's normal for you and to see if you have any symptoms of a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

  • Look for any areas of redness, sores, bumps, warts, or blisters in your genital area.
  • Separate your pubic hair, and look closely at the skin underneath.
  • Use a mirror to see your entire genital area.
  • Look carefully at the skin on the inside of your legs and around your genitals.
  • Separate the fleshy outer lips of your vulva. Look carefully at all the exposed skin, and check your clitoris.
  • Hold open the inner lips. Look carefully at the inside of the lips as well as the opening to your vagina.

It may be helpful to feel each of these areas with your fingers as you view them. This can help you find any areas of rough skin or bumps.

Credits

Current as of: February 11, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
H. Michael O'Connor MD - Emergency Medicine

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