Function Of The Prostate Gland
As part of the male reproductive system, the prostate glands main job;is to secrete a slightly alkaline fluid that forms part of the seminal fluid. This is the fluid that carries sperm. During a mans orgasm, the muscular glands of the prostate help to propel the prostate fluid, and sperm that was made in the testicles, into the urethra. The semen then leaves the body out of the tip of the penis during ejaculation.
Online Medical Reviewer:Online Medical Reviewer:Online Medical Reviewer:Date Last Reviewed:
Whats Involved In A Prostate Exam And When Is It Needed
Due to the location of the prostate , it is possible to feel the organ with a finger inserted into the rectum. The tissues of the stroma give the prostate an elastic feel to the touch.
Several prostate health issues may develop as a man ages,;in particular prostatitis , enlarged prostate , and prostate cancer.
A prostate exam, also known as a digital rectal exam, is a common procedure to help diagnose these issues.
For the exam, a doctor will insert a gloved, lubricated finger into your rectum while youâre standing, bending forward at the waist, or lying on your side with knees pulled up .
The doctor will feel your prostate to determine its size and look for bumps, hard spots, or other abnormalities that may be indicative of prostate cancer.
The prostate exam is not typically painful unless thereâs an abnormality within your prostate.
You May Like: Does Cialis Shrink An Enlarged Prostate
The Basics: How An Erection Occurs
At its most basic level, an erection is a matter of hydraulics. Blood fills the penis, causing it to swell and become firm. But getting to that stage requires extraordinary orchestration of body mechanisms. Blood vessels, nerves, hormones, and, of course, the psyche must work together. Problems with any one of these elements can diminish the quality of an erection or prevent it from happening altogether.
Nerves talk to each other by releasing nitric oxide and other chemical messengers. These messengers boost the production of other important chemicals, including cyclic guanosine monophosphate, prostaglandins, and vasoactive intestinal polypeptide. These chemicals initiate the erection by relaxing the smooth muscle cells lining the tiny arteries that lead to the corpora cavernosa, a pair of flexible cylinders that run the length of the penis .
Figure 1: Anatomy of the penis
The penis is made up of three cylindrical bodies, the corpus spongiosum which contains the urethra and includes the glans of the penisand two corpora cavernosa , that extend from within the body out to the end of the penis to support erection. Blood enters the corpora cavernosa through the central arteries.
Side View Of The Prostate
The prostate is a walnut-sized gland located between the bladder and the penis. The prostate is just in front of the rectum. The urethra runs through the center of the prostate, from the bladder to the penis, letting urine flow out of the body.
The prostate secretes fluid that nourishes and protects sperm. During ejaculation, the prostate squeezes this fluid into the urethra, and itâs expelled with sperm as semen.
The vasa deferentia bring sperm from the testes to the seminal vesicles. The seminal vesicles contribute fluid to semen during ejaculation.
When To Contact A Medical Professional
- Less urine than usual
- Back, side, or abdominal pain
- Blood or pus in your urine
Also call if:
- Your bladder does not feel completely empty after you urinate.
- You take medicines that may cause urinary problems, such as diuretics, antihistamines, antidepressants, or sedatives. DO NOT stop or change your medicines without talking to your provider.
- You have tried self-care steps for 2 months and symptoms have not improved.
Read Also: External Prostate Massage For Prostatitis
What Is The Psa Test
Prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, is a protein produced by normal, as well as malignant, cells of the prostate gland. The PSA test measures the level of PSA in a mans blood. For this test, a blood sample is sent to a laboratory for analysis. The results are usually reported as nanograms of PSA per milliliter of blood.
The blood level of PSA is often elevated in men with prostate cancer, and the PSA test was originally approved by the US Food and Drug Administration ;in 1986 to monitor the progression of prostate cancer in men who had already been diagnosed with the disease. In 1994,;FDA approved the use of the PSA test in conjunction with a digital rectal exam to test asymptomatic men for prostate cancer. Men who report prostate symptoms often undergo PSA testing to help doctors determine the nature of the problem.
In addition to prostate cancer, a number of benign conditions can cause a mans PSA level to rise. The most frequent benign prostate conditions that cause an elevation in PSA level are prostatitis and benign prostatic hyperplasia ;. There is no evidence that prostatitis or BPH leads to prostate cancer, but it is possible for a man to have one or both of these conditions and to develop prostate cancer as well.
How Does The Male Reproductive System Function
The entire male reproductive system is dependent on hormones. These are chemicals that stimulate or regulate the activity of your cells or organs. The primary hormones involved in the functioning of the male reproductive system are follicle-stimulating hormone , luteinizing hormone and testosterone.
FSH and LH are produced by the pituitary gland. Its located at the base of your brain and its responsible for many functions in your body. FSH is necessary for sperm production . LH stimulates the production of testosterone, which is necessary to continue the process of spermatogenesis. Testosterone is also important in the development of male characteristics, including muscle mass and strength, fat distribution, bone mass and sex drive.
You May Like: Can An Enlarged Prostate Cause Constipation
Diagnosis Of Prostate Disease
Prostate disease is diagnosed using a variety of tests, including:
- physical examination, including digital rectal examination , where the doctor inserts a gloved finger into your rectum to check the size of your prostate
- blood test for prostate specific antigen
- mid-stream urine tests to look for infection or blood in the urine
- ultrasound scans and urinary flow studies
- biopsies of the prostate.
Donât Miss: Prostate Cancer Shortness Of Breath
What Do Sperm Do
A male who has reached puberty will produce millions of sperm cells every day. Each sperm is extremely small: only 1/600 of an inch . Sperm develop in the testicles within a system of tiny tubes called the seminiferous tubules. At birth, these tubules contain simple round cells. During puberty, testosterone and other hormones cause these cells to transform into sperm cells. The cells divide and change until they have a head and short tail, like tadpoles. The head contains genetic material . The sperm move into the epididymis, where they complete their development.
The sperm then move to the vas deferens , or sperm duct. The seminal vesicles and prostate gland make a whitish fluid called seminal fluid, which mixes with sperm to form semen when a male is sexually stimulated. The penis, which usually hangs limp, becomes hard when a male is sexually excited. Tissues in the penis fill with blood and it becomes stiff and erect . The rigidity of the erect penis makes it easier to insert into the female’s vagina during sex. When the erect penis is stimulated, muscles around the reproductive organs contract and force the semen through the duct system and urethra. Semen is pushed out of the male’s body through his urethra this process is called ejaculation. Each time a guy ejaculates, it can contain up to 500 million sperm.
You May Like: Does Enlarged Prostate Cause Constipation
Sex And The Prostate: Overcoming Erectile Dysfunction When You Have Prostate Disease
If you are concerned about erectile function, its important to understand what erectile dysfunction really is. Failing to have an erection one night after youve had several drinks or even for a week or more during a time of intense emotional stress is not erectile dysfunction. Nor is the inability to have another erection soon after an orgasm. Nearly every man occasionally has trouble getting an erection, and most partners understand that.
Erectile dysfunction is the inability to attain and maintain an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse at least 25% of the time. The penis doesnt get hard enough, or it gets hard but softens too soon. The problem often develops gradually. One night it may take longer or require more stimulation to get an erection. On another occasion, the erection may not be as firm as usual, or it may end before orgasm. When such difficulties occur regularly, its time to talk to your doctor.
Erectile dysfunction can have many causes, including some forms of prostate disease and medications and surgery for prostate cancer. Fortunately, in many cases, this problem can often be effectively addressed. Some men find relief by taking medications to treat erectile dysfunction. If these arent effective for you, a number of other options, including injections and vacuum devices, are available. The possibility of finding the right solution is now greater than ever.
Anatomy Of The Prostate
The prostate is a small;gland;in the male reproductive system. It is situated in front of the;rectum, below the;bladder, and surrounds the;urethra, which is the tube through which;urine;flows out of the body. The main function of the chestnut-sized prostate is to secrete part of the;seminal fluid;that combines with sperm to form;semen.
Prostate Cancer And Sexual Health
A prostate cancer diagnosis can leave you feeling anxious, frustrated, and depressed.
It may also leave you wondering about your ability to have sex. You may also be questioning how prostate cancer treatment can affect your sex life.
Prostate cancer rarely causes problems with sex, but the treatments for prostate cancer often affect penile function and reproduction.
Prostate surgery and radiation are the two most common treatments for prostate cancer. Both of these can affect the nerves in your penis and could cause sexual problems like erectile dysfunction .
Cryotherapy and ultrasound therapy can also cause ED. Your doctor may recommend hormone therapy or radiation therapy, as well. This therapy can lower your sex drive.
Radical prostatectomy is the most effective nerve-sparing surgery for prostate cancer. It can substantially limit the duration of post-surgical ED but requires a surgeon to be highly skilled and trained in the process.
In this type of procedure, the surgeon takes care not to damage the erectile nerves that surround the prostate as it is removed.
However, if cancer has infiltrated these nerves, it may not be possible to save them.
Preventing injury to these nerves dramatically improves the chances of a man recovering erectile function within two years of the surgery.
In addition to ED, you may also find that your orgasms are different after undergoing treatment for prostate cancer.
They may not feel as strong, and you will not see as much ejaculate.
Can Prostate Cancer Be Prevented
There are no clear prevention strategies for prostate cancer. There is some conflicting evidence that a healthy diet composed of low fat, high vegetables and fruits may help reduce your risk of prostate cancer. Routine screening, with PSA blood test and physical exam, is important to detect prostate cancer at an early stage. A healthy diet and regular exercise are also critical in maintaining good health and preventing disease in general.;
You May Like: How To Pleasure A Woman After Prostate Surgery
Location Of The Prostate Gland
The prostate gland is about the size of a walnut. The prostate gland surrounds the neck of a mans bladder and urethra the tube that carries urine from the bladder. It is partly muscular and partly glandular, with ducts opening into the prostatic portion of the urethra.
It is made up of three lobes: a center lobe with one lobe on each side.
Prostate Functions The Roles You Did Not Know About
The main function of the prostate gland is the secretion of alkaline fluid that adds to the bulk of the semen.
Semen is a mixture of fluid from three accessory male sex glands i.e. seminal vesicles, bulbourethral, and prostate; semen is discharged during ejaculation in men and contains sperms.
The prostate gland makes up an important component of the human male reproductive system.
Another prostate gland function is that it regulates hormones and urine flow. The prostate needs androgens, such as testosterone, to function correctly. It contains the 5-alpha-reductase which converts testosterone in DHT. This hormone is essential in developing other male characteristics, such as facial hair.
So lets take a deeper look at this gland with some facts youre likely not familiar with.
Recommended Reading: Can Bph Cause Constipation
Why Erectile Dysfunction May Result From Prostate Disease
In the past, it was thought that most cases of erectile dysfunction were psychological in origin, the result of such demons as performance anxiety or more generalized stress. While these factors can cause erectile dysfunction, doctors now think that 70% of the time the problem can be traced to a physical condition that restricts blood flow, hampers nerve functioning, or both. Such conditions include diabetes, kidney disease, multiple sclerosis, atherosclerosis, vascular disease, and alcoholism.
However, some types of prostate disease and treatments may also be responsible.
How Does The Male Reproductive System Work
The male reproductive system:
- releases semen into the reproductive system of the female during sexual intercourse
- produces sex hormones, which help a boy develop into a sexually mature man during puberty
When a baby boy is born, he has all the parts of his reproductive system in place, but it isn’t until puberty that he is able to reproduce. When puberty begins, usually between the ages of 9 and 15, the located near the brain secretes hormones that stimulate the testicles to produce testosterone. The production of testosterone brings about many physical changes.
Although the timing of these changes is different for every guy, the stages of puberty generally follow a set sequence:
- During the first stage of male puberty, the scrotum and testes grow larger.
- Next, the penis becomes longer and the seminal vesicles and prostate gland grow.
- Hair begins to grow in the pubic area and later on the face and underarms. During this time, a boy’s voice also deepens.
- Boys also have a growth spurt during puberty as they reach their adult height and weight.
Also Check: Prostate Cancer Ruined My Marriage
What Happens To A Man When He Has His Prostate Removed
Prostate is a male reproductory gland located anterior to the rectum and inferior to the bladder surrounding the urethra. It is involved in the secretion of prostate fluid that forms an important constituent of semen. It also works in the propulsion of seminal fluid into the urethra and also blocks the connection between the urethra and the bladder by contracting at the time of ejaculation. The prostatic fluid constitutes about one third of the total seminal fluid containing various enzymes of which PSA is of specific importance, not only in thinning of the seminal fluid and helping proper motility of the sperm, but also in the testing procedure for prostate related diseases, such as BPH .
The location of prostate is such that, if the patient experiences BPH then it might lead to urethral compression causing difficulty in urination and leading to LUTS . Unfortunately, BPH is a common problem in adult men and the chances of BPH drastically increases after the age of 60 years. A growth in size of prostate is also a sign of prostatic cancer.
What Is The Actual Purpose Of Prostate In Female Body
Many experts believe that prostate in female body use to release some kind of fluid. This fluid appears thick, scanty and has whitish color while containing PSA. Note that, female ejaculation is actually not a part of orgasm and frequency of this has be estimated somewhere around 10 to 54 percent.
During few recent years, medical professionals have taken help from MRIs to detect the presence as well as functionality of female prostate. However, the research should be continued ahead to make ideas more clear but the basic understanding have obtained a boost with this initiative. You might be aware of the fact that prostate gland in males use to store infections inside body. Several studies around the world reveal that Skenes glands also serve the similar kind of function.
Now, it is already clear that skenes glands use to release some fluid during sexual activity and it use to be of watery in appearance. As per one detailed study published in 2007, this fluid that is excreted into the tract from Skene;s Duct use to be consistent with the prostate fluid but it is not observed to have consistency with urine.
Read Also: Does Prostatitis Go Away Without Treatment
Problems With Enlarged Prostate Gland
Benign enlargement of the prostate gland is more common as men get older. It can cause troublesome symptoms, although it doesnt always.
The urethra passes through the prostate gland, so men may have problems urinating if the enlarged gland restricts the flow of urine. If the flow stops completely, a catheter is required to empty the bladder. It is rare for this form of acute urinary retention to cause kidney damage.
An enlarged prostate doesnt always cause urinary problems. Studies indicate that the size of a mans prostate gland has little influence on the type or severity of his urination problems. BPH is just one possible cause of urinary symptoms.;
Another cause of urinary symptoms can be changes to the muscular wall of the bladder, which may cause spasms of the bladder or weaken the bladder, causing problems passing urine.