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Genital Self-Examination - Topic Overview

A genital self-exam is a simple examination you can give yourself to become familiar with what is normal for you and to see if you have any symptoms of a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

Men

  • 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 are 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 the penis.
  • Check the testicles for swelling and tenderness.
  • Separate your pubic hair with your fingers so you can see the skin underneath the hair.

Women

  • 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 lips that cover your clitoris and look carefully at all the exposed skin.
  • Hold open the lips of the vagina and look carefully at the inside of the lips as well as the opening to the vagina.

It may be helpful to feel each of these areas with your fingers as you view them, so that you can be aware of any areas of rough skin or bumps.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 16, 2012
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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