With today’s lifestyle and busy work schedules, people are looking for ways to improve their overall health. People, however, will also look out for the health of specific body parts or internal organs. One body or organ that male patients may want to know more about in terms of health is the prostate. But what is the prostate gland anatomy and how can one keep prostate healthy? Let’s find out!
The Prostate Gland: A Brief Overview
All males have a prostate. The prostate gland is a muscular gland that is the size of an apricot and is responsible for producing some of the ingredients that make up the semen. It is located below the bladder and right in front of the rectum. The prostate weighs around 30 grams or one (1) ounce and surrounds the tube, the urethra, that transports urine coming from the bladder and moving towards the penis. The prostate gland is also essential for the efficient and proper function of the reproductive system of males.
But what does the prostate actually do or accomplish? The prostate gland is tasked with the excretion of a liquid that can keep sperm healthy and alive and acts as protection for the genetic codes carried by the said sperm. The contraction of the prostate also occurs during ejaculation as it squirts the liquid into the urethra. When ejaculating, the sperm will be transported in two (2) tubes of the vas deferens. These tubes will then transport millions of sperm from the location where they were created which is the testes to the seminal vesicles. The Seminal vesicles are connected to the prostate and can help provide additional liquid to the semen before it is transferred to the urethra. The ejaculatory duct is the location where the seminal vesicles and the vas deferens intersect or meet.
It is also impossible to urinate and ejaculate at the same time as during ejaculation, the prostate will contract which closes off the opening found between the opening of the urethra and the bladder which will then push the semen at high speed.
What is Prostatic Fluid?
The prostatic fluid is the milk-like fluid excreted by the prostate which composes thirty percent (30%) of the total ejaculated fluid with the remaining seventy percent (70%) being composed of sperm and fluid coming from the seminal vesicles. The prostatic fluids aids in the mobility of sperm and helps sperm stay protective and alive much longer. It also contains a number of compounds such as citric acid, zinc, and enzymes. One of the Enzymes contained in the prostatic fluid is known as PSA or prostatic specific antigen. This enzyme helps sperm mobility by helping sperm to travel much easier which increases their chances of egg cell fertilization.
Prostatic fluid is acidic but the overall components of the sperm are mostly alkaline in nature. This can help the sperm to counter the vagina’s acidity and can help sperm from any possible damage. The prostate needs both testosterone and DHT or dihydrotestosterone, androgens or male hormones in order for it to function properly.
Prostate Gland Anatomy: What Is It About?
The prostate gland is flanked on all sides by muscle fibers that make up protective and connective tissue. This can make the prostate’s texture elastic to an individual’s touch. Experts will usually identify the portions of the prostate like layers on onion with four layers in total encircling the urethra. Enumerated below are some of the portions of the prostate:
The Stroma or the Anterior Fibromuscular zone
Physically looks like a capsule and made up of fibrous and muscular tissue. This is the outermost portion of the prostate.
The location where the glandular tissue is located and found in the back portion of the prostate gland
The central zone composes one-quarter of the total mass of the prostate gland and surrounds the ducts for ejaculation.
The transition zone is the innermost portion of the prostate gland and is the only zone of the prostate that all throughout life will continue to grow and develop. It also surrounds the urethra and is the smallest part of the prostate.
What Are Some of the Conditions That May Affect the Prostate Gland?
Now that we learned about the prostate gland anatomy, let’s take a look at the conditions that may affect the prostate.
The prostate gland may be affected by a number of different medical conditions. Listed below are some of the said health issues:
Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in male patients with roughly one (1) in seven (7) males contracting the said cancer. One (1) out of Thirty-five (35) patients will die of the above-mentioned cancer.
Enlargement of the Prostate
Also referred to as BPH or benign prostatic hypertrophy, this condition usually affects males who are beyond fifty (50) years of age. This condition may make it more difficult for patients to urinate and in some cases that are extremely serious, can entirely cease the ability to urinate. It has also been observed that prostate enlargement usually occurs in the transition zone.
What Are Some Medical Tests for the Prostate?
The function of the prostate and the prostate itself may be tested through various methods and means. These medical tests include:
A prostate ultrasound is also called transrectal ultrasound. In this procedure, the rectum has a probe inserted into it and may even have a biopsy performed as well
A needed is inserted into the prostate for this procedure through the rectum and tissue from the prostate is retrieved for further lab testing.
PSA or Prostate Specific Antigen
This protein type and the increased presence of this protein may be an indicator of prostate cancer
Digital Rectal Examination
The doctor feels the prostate of the patient using a finger to the rectum. This can help the doctor identify lumps or bumps in the prostate.