The prostate gland is a small, approximately walnut-sized hormone producing organ that encircles the upper part of the urethra. It is only found in men, and is responsible for the creation of certain bodily fluids. It is vital to proper sexual functioning and to regulation of normal bladder control.
The prostate gland is necessary in order to survive, reproduce and just live comfortably, making conditions that affect it of the utmost importance.
Three Cell Types
The prostate gland has three basic cell types that allow it to perform its functions. The first are called stromal cells, and they provide the structural body of the prostate gland.
The second are glandular cells, which are responsible for the actual production of seminal fluid, the substance necessary in preserving proper sperm health and function. The third type of cells are called smooth-muscle cells, which contract during sexual intercourse, forcing seminal fluid into the urethra.
The primary function of a healthy prostate gland is the creation and storage of seminal fluid, the milky substance that nourishes sperm, allows them to move freely and keeps them in a healthy condition. In addition to the prostate gland, however, there are a pair of seminal vesicles that also produce a majority of the bodys seminal fluid.
The gland itself is actually responsible for only one tenth to one third of seminal fluid production. This fluid contains proteolytic enzymes, which break down proteins they come into contact with, and acid phosphatase and prostate-specific antigens, two substances that can be early indicators prostate cancer if heightened levels are detected. Prostate secretions are also found to contain zinc and citric acid.
During the act of sexual intercourse, sperm travel through the vas deferens to the prostate gland, where they mix with seminal fluid to produce fully functional semen. At the moment of ejaculation, semen travels through the ejaculatory ducts which connect to the urethra and allow the semen to exit the body.
The prostate glands location wrapped around the upper portion of the urethra means that, if the gland is to swell, urinary flow can become hindered or restricted. The prostate is completely surrounded by a dense, fibrous layer, which is in turn surrounded by a layer of fat.
The prostate is divided into a left and right lobe, and has a transitional zone at its center where the organ encircles the urethra. This zone is where the swelling of the prostate that affects the urinary system takes place.
The human prostate gland required testosterone and other hormones in order to properly function, as it works as a part of the reproductive system and is necessary for the creation of healthy semen and its expulsion during the act of sexual intercourse.
The prostate gland, while small, is vital to human reproduction and particularly susceptible to swelling that can have a detrimental effect on the efficiency of the urinary system. The prostate is also vulnerable to prostate cancer, a much more dangerous condition that can, in certain cases, be life threatening. Prostate conditions affect health and quality of life, and regular prostate exams are the best way of detecting them early on.
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