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Men’s Health Tests

You may think of annual exams as something only women need to do, but annual screenings are incredibly important for men too!

By getting a men’s health screening test, you gain insight into a wide variety of health markers. These health markers are important to keep tabs on. Undergoing testing when you’re having symptoms helps your doctor diagnose your symptoms and recommend appropriate treatments or lifestyle changes that will help you improve your health. Proactive testing will help your doctor assess and monitor your risk for future health issues and identify potential health problems early. This is important for staying healthy and having the best chance of treating any potential problems as they arise.

According to the CDC, your age, health status, and any symptoms you may be experiencing will help determine the type of test(s) you should consider taking. Most men’s health tests are easily accessible in most healthcare settings, including walk-in clinics and urgent care centers. Although, some men’s health tests may only be available from specialist providers and thus may require a referral from your primary care physician.

Who should get men’s health tests

The CDC recommends that you get a men’s health test if you think you may be experiencing symptoms of a health issue—such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, or hormonal imbalance. But it’s also in your best interest to be proactive about your health. Schedule routine men’s health tests with your primary care physician to keep tabs on your well-being and assess your risk for future health problems.

According to the National Library of Medicine (NLM), the type of testing you should undergo depends largely on your age. The NLM recommends the following screenings for men of various age groups.

Health tests for men aged 18 to 39

Even if you aren’t experiencing any concerning symptoms, the NLM recommends undergoing the following routine health screenings if you’re between the ages of 18 and 39:

  • Physical exam. If you’re in good health, you should see your medical provider for a routine physical every two years (at minimum).
  • Blood pressure screening. If your blood pressure is within the normal range, you should get screened at least once every three to five years, according to the NLM. You should also get your blood pressure checked annually if you have risk factors for high blood pressure. Risk factors for high blood pressure include having an immediate relative with high blood pressure, your current blood pressure is outside the normal range, you are overweight, or you are African American.
  • Cholesterol screening. If you’re 35 or older and have normal cholesterol levels, you should continue to get screened every five years. If you change your lifestyle or have risk factors for high cholesterol—such as heart disease, kidney problems, or diabetes. In these cases, you should get tested at least once a year.
  • Diabetes screening. At age 35, you should get screened for diabetes and get tested every three years thereafter, if you have no risk factors for the disease. You may need more frequent diabetes screenings if you’re overweight or obese, have an immediate relative with diabetes, or have other risk factors for the condition, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, or prediabetes.
  • Sexually transmitted infection (STI) screenings. If you are sexually active, the CDC recommends that you get tested for syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea at least once per year. If you are a man who has had sex with other men, you should also get screened for HIV at least every year. If you’re living with HIV, you should get undergo annual hepatitis C testing, as well.
  • Hormone tests. If you are under the age of 40 and experience symptoms of hormonal imbalance or decline (low sex drive, balding, or unexplained tiredness), you may want to consider getting your testosterone levels checked.

Health tests for men aged 40 to 64

As you age, you should continue to visit your medical provider for routine men’s health tests, even if you feel healthy and have no potentially concerning symptoms. The NLM recommends the following screenings if you’re between the ages of 40 and 64:

  • Physical exam. Beginning at age 40, you should visit your healthcare provider every year for a routine physical.
  • Blood pressure screening. Starting at age 40, you should have your blood pressure checked annually at the very least.
  • Cholesterol test. You should continue getting cholesterol screenings every five years if your cholesterol levels are normal. However, you may need more frequent screenings if you have risk factors for high cholesterol or make any changes to your lifestyle.
  • Colorectal cancer screening. If you’re under the age of 45 and have a family history of colon polyps, cancer, or have risk factors for the disease, you should consult your physician, because you may need to start colorectal cancer screening earlier. If you’re between the ages of 45 and 75, you should get screened for colorectal cancer regularly, or according to your doctor’s recommendations.
  • Lung cancer screening. According to the NLM, you should get screened for lung cancer if you’re aged 50 to 80 and have a history of light smoking (20 packs per year), or if you currently smoke, or quit smoking within the last 15 years.
  • Osteoporosis screening. If you’re aged 50 to 64 and have risk factors for osteoporosis, you should discuss the frequency of testing with your doctor. Heavy alcohol use, low body weight, smoking, long-term steroid use, or a family history of osteoporosis are common risk factors for this disease.
  • Prostate cancer screening. If you’re between the ages of 55 and 64, speak with your medical provider about getting tested for prostate cancer, especially if you have risk factors for the disease like having a family history.
  • STI testing. If you are sexually active and are at high risk of contracting an STI, you should get tested annually at the very least. You should also get immediate testing if you develop symptoms of an infection.
  • Hormone screenings. If you have symptoms of low testosterone or other hormonal imbalances, the NLM recommends getting a hormone screening to determine if you may need hormone replacement therapy. Some symptoms of a hormonal imbalance in men include unexplained tiredness, low sex drive, hair loss, and depression.

Health tests for men aged 65 and older

Men aged 65 and older should undergo screening at the same frequency for all of the conditions that men aged 40 to 64 should be tested for. The NLM notes that tThey should also get the following tests:

  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm screening. Especially if you have a history of smoking and are between the ages of 65 and 75, you should get a one-time screening via ultrasound. The NLM also recommends discussing this screening with your provider even if you’ve never smoked.
  • Colorectal cancer screening. If you’re aged 76 or older, ask your doctor whether you need to continue getting routine screenings.

Osteoporosis screening. If you’re aged 70 or older, you should get your bone density tested at least once, according to Cleveland Clinic. If you have risk factors for osteoporosis, you may need more frequent screenings or testing before the age of 70.

How to get men’s health tests

Most men’s health screening are available in several healthcare settings, including urgent care centers, walk-in clinics, and primary care physician’s offices. However, some screenings require referrals or advanced diagnostic equipment that’s typically found in specialty providers’ offices.

Several types of men’s health screenings, including hormone tests, cholesterol tests, some types of colon cancer screenings, diabetes tests, triglyceride screenings, some cardiovascular tests, and some prostate screening tests, are also available online. You can order these tests, take samples of your blood, urine, or saliva at home, and then mail the samples to an approved lab and get your results virtually or in the mail.

Types of men’s health tests

Several types of men’s health tests are available to help you keep tabs on your well-being as you age. According to the NLM, the following types of screenings can help your doctor assess your health and diagnose any medical conditions you may have.

Blood tests

Blood tests can test your hormone levels, check for STIs, determine your cholesterol levels, determine total blood count, test organ function, assess triglyceride levels, test blood glucose, and help detect the presence of cancer and heart disease.

During a blood test, your provider will collect a small sample of blood from a vein in your arm using a tiny needle and one or more test tubes. They’ll then send the sample(s) to a lab for analysis. For at-home testing, you’ll take a sample of blood via finger prick.

Urine tests

Urine tests can check for the presence of STIs, urinary tract infections, diabetes, and kidney disease. During a urine test, your provider will give you a small cup and direct you to a restroom, where you’ll collect and label your urine sample. That sample will then be sent to a lab for analysis.

Saliva tests

Saliva tests can check your levels of certain hormones, detect certain infections, measure glucose levels non-invasively, assess the functionality of certain organs, and measure blood concentrations of therapeutic medications. During this type of test, your provider may ask you to spit into a cup or may collect a saliva sample by swabbing the inside of your mouth.

Swab tests

Your provider may perform a rectal swab to screen for colon cancer or a penile swab to screen for STIs. After collecting the appropriate sample, your doctor will package and seal the swab and send it to the lab for analysis.

Imaging tests

Possible imaging tests include X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, PET scans, and ultrasounds. Imaging tests can check bone health, detect the presence of cancer, help assess organ health, and help monitor the efficacy of certain treatments. Each test involves different pieces of medical equipment and different procedures, so your provider will fill you in on what to expect depending on the type of test you’re getting.

How to prepare for a men’s health test

Before you visit your provider for men’s health testing, you should write down any questions you may have and make a list of your medical history. If you’ve recently had a vaccine, been tested for another condition, or received a new diagnosis, be sure to share that information with your provider. You should also mention the health conditions of immediate family members.

Your physician also needs to know about all of the prescription medications and over-the-counter supplements (including vitamins and herbal supplements) you may be taking. You can bring a list of your supplements, vitamins, and medications to your appointment or take photos of the labels and bring those instead. Even over-the-counter products can affect the outcome of your screenings, so be sure to share everything you’re taking—it’s all important for your doctor to know about.

Depending on the type of test you’re going in for, you may need to follow special pre-screening instructions. Your provider will give you all your pre-screening instructions in advance. Some tests may require you to abstain from eating and/or drinking for a specific number of hours before the test, while others have different preparatory requirements.

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Men’s Health Tests FAQs

Sources

Solv has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references.

  1. Health screenings for men ages 18 to 39 (April 30, 2022)
    https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007464.htm
  2. Why You Need an Annual Physical (and What to Expect) (June 9, 2021)
    https://health.clevelandclinic.org/why-you-need-an-annual-physical-and-what-to-expect/
  3. Which STD Tests Should I Get? (December 14, 2021)
    https://www.cdc.gov/std/prevention/screeningreccs.htm
  4. Testosterone Levels Test (September 12, 2022)
    https://medlineplus.gov/lab-tests/testosterone-levels-test/
  5. Health screenings for men ages 40 to 64 (April 30, 2022)
    https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007465.htm
  6. Health screenings for men age 65 and older (April 30, 2022)
    https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007466.htm
  7. What You Need to Know About Blood Testing (March 9, 2021)
    https://medlineplus.gov/lab-tests/what-you-need-to-know-about-blood-testing/
  8. Urinalysis (November 9, 2021)
    https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diagnostics/17893-urinalysis
  9. Saliva testing — a nontraditional diagnostic tool (January 1994)
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10172036/
  10. Salivary glucose as a non-invasive biomarker of type 2 diabetes mellitus (September 2018)
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6203925/
  11. STD Tests (September 21, 2021)
    https://medlineplus.gov/lab-tests/std-tests/
  12. Medical Scans Explained (November 2019)
    https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2019/11/medical-scans-explained
  13. Could you have low testosterone? (May 13, 2021)
    https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000722.htm
  14. Prostate Cancer Screening (March 29, 2022)
    https://medlineplus.gov/prostatecancerscreening.html
  15. Testicular Cancer Screening (September 21, 2021)
    https://www.cancer.gov/types/testicular/patient/testicular-screening-pdq

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