What is a prostate?

The prostate gland is part of the male urinary and reproductive systems. Prostates are a guy thing; women don’t have them. The prostate sits just below the bladder, and can range from the size of a walnut (a normal prostate) to the size of a small apple (an abnormal prostate). The prostate has two semicircular lobes that surround the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder through the penis).

prostate-diagram

What does the prostate gland do?

The prostate gland has two functions:

  1. It helps to control the flow of urine and it produces part of the seminal fluid (also known as “semen”, “ejaculate” or “cum”). Sperm travel from the testicles through a tube called the vas deferens and then downward to enter the upper portion of the prostate.
  2. Once at the prostate, the sperm and fluid from the seminal vesicles mix with secretions emitted from the prostate to form the seminal fluid that is expelled at the time of ejaculation (when you cum).
How do I know if my prostate is healthy?

The prostate gland is normally rubbery, pliable, and smooth. Because it lies just in front of the rectum the physician is able to feel its size and consistency with his gloved finger during a rectal exam (DRE). If it feels enlarged or hard or there is a hard lump, then this is an indication that the prostate has undergone a change (not necessarily cancer). If it’s swollen, sore and soft, it might be infected.

The prostate exam is not always the most comfortable experience, but like women who must have mammograms and vaginal exams, guys also need to take control of their health and occasionally see their doctor for a prostate exam.

prostate-exam

What diseases affect the prostate?

The prostate gland is susceptible to three common diseases: prostatitis, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and prostate cancer.
Click below to learn about these diseases:

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