Prostate Gland

The prostate is a muscular, walnut-sized gland that surrounds part of the urethra, the tube that transports urine and sperm out of the body. A part of the male reproductive system, the prostate secretes seminal fluid, a milky substance that combines with sperm produced in the testicles to form semen. During sexual climax, muscles in the prostate propel this mixture through the urethra and out through the penis.

Anatomy and Physiology of the Prostate Gland

The prostate is located directly beneath the bladder and in front of the rectum. Because the upper portion of the urethra passes through the prostate, if the gland becomes enlarged it can obstruct the passage of fluid through the urethra. While this is uncomfortable, it generally does not impair a man's ability to function sexually; however, the discomfort nd embarrassment it causes can interfere with sexual activity.

Diseases of the Prostate

Benign diseases are noncancerous. They can be uncomfortable and inconvenient but are not life-threatening, and often can be treated with drugs or surgery. The two main benign diseases of the prostate are prostatitis and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). The main malignant (cancerous) disease of the prostate is adenocarcinoma of the prostate, or prostate cancer.

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at HealthCommunities.com

Published: 10 Jun 1998

Last Modified: 31 May 2011