Overview of Prostate Gland
The prostate is an exocrine gland of the male reproductive system in most mammals and some invertebrates. It differs considerably among species anatomically, chemically, and physiologically. Anatomically, the prostate can be subdivided in two ways: by zone or by lobe. It does not have a capsule; rather an integral fibro-muscular band surrounds it.
Prostate gland location
Prostate gland Size/weight
The prostate secretes fluid that nourishes and protects sperm. During ejaculation, the prostate squeezes this fluid into the urethra, and it’s expelled with sperm as semen.
The vasa deferentia (singular: vas deferens) bring sperm from the testes to the seminal vesicles. The seminal vesicles contribute fluid to semen during ejaculation.
Functions of prostate gland
The prostate only appears in males. It secretes a fluid that keeps sperm alive while protecting them and the genetic code they carry.
The prostate contracts during ejaculation and squirts its fluid into the urethra.
During ejaculation, sperm travels along two tubes called vas deferens; they carry millions of sperm from the testes (where they are made) to the seminal vesicles.
The seminal vesicles are attached to the prostate and add extra fluid to the semen before it is sent down the urethra. The site where the vas deferens meets the seminal vesicles is known as the ejaculatory duct.
The prostate contracts during ejaculation, closing off the opening between the bladder and urethra and pushing semen through at speed. This is why it is impossible to urinate and ejaculate at the same time.
The milky fluid produced by the prostate: prostatic fluid — makes up around 30 percent of the total fluid ejaculated (the rest is sperm and fluid from the seminal vesicles). The prostatic fluid protects sperm, helping them live longer and be more mobile. It contains a number of ingredients, including enzymes, zinc, and citric acid.
One of the enzymes in the prostatic fluid is the prostate-specific antigen (PSA); after ejaculation, PSA makes thickened semen runnier, helping sperm travel through it more easily, increasing their likelihood of successfully fertilizing an egg.
Although the prostatic fluid is slightly acidic, the other components of semen make it alkaline overall; this is to counteract the acidity of the vagina and protect the sperm from damage.
To function properly, the prostate needs androgens (male hormones), such as testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
Structure of the prostate
The prostate is surrounded by connective tissue containing many muscle fibers; this capsule makes the prostate feel elastic to the touch. Scientists often split the prostate into four zones that encircle the urethra like layers of an onion. Here they are listed from outermost to innermost.
Anterior fibromuscular zone (stroma): made of muscular and fibrous tissue. Part of the capsule.
Peripheral zone: mostly situated toward the back of the gland, this is where most of the glandular tissue is.
Central zone: surrounds the ejaculatory ducts and makes up around one-quarter of the prostate’s total mass.
Transition zone: This is the smallest part of the prostate and surrounds the urethra; it is the only portion of the prostate that continues to grow throughout life According to hindawi journals.
- Prostatitis: Inflammation of the prostate, sometimes caused by infection. It is typically treated with antibiotics.
- Enlarged prostate: Called benign prostatic hypertrophy or BPH, prostate growth affects virtually all men over 50. Symptoms of difficult urination tend to increase with age. Medicines or surgery can treat BPH.
- Prostate cancer: It’s the most common form of cancer in men (besides skin cancer), but only one in 41 men die from prostate cancer. Surgery, radiation, hormone therapy, and chemotherapy can be used to treat prostate cancer. Some men choose to delay treatment, which is called watchful waiting. This is the most common form of cancer in males, affecting around 1 in 7 men during their lifetime.
Prostate medical tests
The prostate and its function can be tested in a range of ways:
- Digital rectal examination: The doctor inserts a finger into the rectum and feels the prostate. This can detect lumps, nodules, and cancer.
- Prostate-specific antigen (PSA): Blood tests can assess the levels of this protein. High levels indicate an increased risk of prostate cancer.
- Prostate biopsy: a needle inserted into the prostate via the rectum can take a sample of tissue to be tested in the lab.
- Prostate ultrasound: It also called a transrectal ultrasound, a probe is inserted into the rectum, positioning it close to the prostate. Sometimes a biopsy is taken at the same time.