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The male prostate gland is important for sexual health at all agesAbout the Prostate Gland

What is the prostate gland?

The male prostate gland is far more developed than the female prostate gland (which some authorities claim does not exist) and is located just under the bladder, surrounding the urethra, the tube through which urine drains from the bladder out through the penis. It is close to and in front of the rectum, which is why it can be felt during a rectal examination, and is also susceptible to pleasurable stimulation by massage - the prostate is referred to by some as the "male G-Spot".

Although the prostate naturally enlarges during life, in its healthy form it's usually about the size of a walnut and weighs around an ounce. Pictures of the male prostrate usually show it as a single organ, but it is actually comprised of a number of glands and also smooth muscle that helps to expel semen during ejaculation.


What does the prostate gland do?

The main function of the prostate is to supply fluid for the sperm during ejaculation. Semen is composed of sperm and seminal fluid, but contrary to what many men believe, only 10-30% of the seminal fluid is produced by the prostate gland, the rest is produced by the two seminal vesicles, a pair of glands attached to the prostate.

The prostate gland also produces PSA or Prostate Specific Antigen, a protein which is secreted into ejaculate fluid by the healthy prostate, and is used in testing for prostate cancer.


What can go wrong with the prostate gland?

As with most organs, there is a range of things that can go wrong, from merely irritating to serious.

Inflammation of the prostaste
Bacteria sometimes cause an infection, prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate)

Enlargement of the prostate
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) causes enlargement of the prostate. Reducing the size of the male prostate gland can be by drugs or other means.

Prostate cancer
Prostate cancer develops when the cells in the prostate gland grow more quickly than in a normal prostate, forming a malignant lump or tumour.


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