The prostate gland is a conical shaped organ with the size of a walnut. It is the part of male reproductive system. The prostate gland is located in front of the rectum and just below the bladder. It surrounds the urethra, which is the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the penis. The prostate gland is made out of 30% of muscular tissue and 70% of glandular tissue. Size of the prostate gland remains the same until the puberty when it doubles in size. It gradually grows after the age of about 50 and in some men this enlargement can cause bothersome symptoms.
Prostate Gland FunctionThe prostate gland requires hormone testosterone in order to function properly. Testosterone helps the gland to regulate bladder control and normal sexual functioning. The main function of the prostate gland is to secrete and store seminal fluid. This fluid is milky or white and contains several enzymes, citric acid and calcium that nourish the sperm cells. During ejaculation, this fluid is added to semen. It is alkaline and protects the semen by neutralizing acidic environment of the vagina. This way it prolongs the lifespan of sperm and promotes sperm motility. This means that the prostate gland actually helps to increase the chance of impregnation. Another function that the prostate gland performs is to seal off the urethra during ejaculatory process. This prevents urine form entering the urethra and urination during sexual intercourse. This function of the prostate gland can be impaired in some men aged over 50 years. This can be seen in men with enlarged prostate, which can constantly constrict the urethra and impede the flow of urine even when an affected individual does not engage in sexual activity of any sort. The prostate gland also aids to the liquefaction of semen after ejaculation. This is due to an enzyme called prostate specific antigen (PSA) that the cell lining the prostate secretes into the seminal fluid.
The prostate gland can be affected by several disorders. Prostatitis is an inflammation of the prostate gland caused by bacterial infection. There are four different forms of prostatitis. Enlarged prostate, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a non-cancerous growth of the prostate which causes difficulty in urinating. Common symptoms of enlarged prostate are frequent need to urinate, urinary incontinence and weak urine stream. This condition usually affects men aged over 60. Prostate cancer is a life-threatening disease that affects significant percentage of male population in developed countries. It is one of the most common cancers in older men. Prostate cancer grows slowly and usually does not spread for many years. Symptoms of prostate cancer include: difficulty in urinating, pain during urination, appetite loss, weight loss, painful ejaculation and blood in urine.