prostate gland

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prostate gland,

gland that is part of the male reproductive systemreproductive system,
in animals, the anatomical organs concerned with production of offspring. In humans and other mammals the female reproductive system produces the female reproductive cells (the eggs, or ova) and contains an organ in which development of the fetus takes
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. It is an organ about the size of a chestnut and consists of glandular and muscular tissue. It is situated below the neck of the bladder, encircling the urethra. The prostate produces a thin, milky, alkaline fluid that is secreted into the urethra at the time of emission of semen, providing an added medium for the life and motility of sperm. It is probable that prostatic fluid enhances fertility since the fluid flowing from the testes and seminal vesicles is acidic and sperm are not optimally mobile unless their medium is relatively alkaline.

In men over 50 enlargement of the prostate (benign prostatic hypertrophy) is common. Sometimes the result is pressure on the urethra and bladder, which interferes with urination, precipitating urinary retention and kidney disease. Balloon dilatation of the urethra and medication with alpha blockers, finasteride (Proscar), and saw palmetto extract (an herbal supplement) have joined traditional surgical removal of the prostate (prostatectomy) as therapies. See also prostate cancerprostate cancer,
cancer originating in the prostate gland. Prostate cancer is one of the most malignancies in men in the United States, second only to skin cancer, and as a cause of cancer death in men is second only to lung cancer.
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, prostatitisprostatitis
, inflammation of the prostate gland. Acute prostatitis is usually a result of infection in the urinary tract or infection carried by the blood; in many cases the infection spreads from the urethra and is contracted through sexual transmission.
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See J. P. Blandy and B. Lytton, The Prostate (1986).

Prostate gland

A triangular body in men, the size and shape of a chestnut, that lies immediately in front of the bladder with its apex directed down and forward. It is found only in the male, having no female counterpart. The prostatic portion of the urethra extends through it, passing from the bladder to the penis. This organ contains 15–20 branched, tubular glands which form lobules. The gland ducts open into the urethra. Between the gland clusters, or alveoli, there is a dense, fibrous, connecting tissue, the stroma, which also forms a tough capsule around the gland, continuous with the bladder wall. Penetrating the prostate to empty into the urethra are the ejac-ulatory ducts from the seminal vesicles which are located above and behind the organ (see illustration). The prostatic gland secretes a viscid, alkaline fluid which aids in sperm motility and in neutralizing the acidity of the vagina, thus enhancing fertilization. After middle age, the prostate is sometimes subject to new tissue growth, usually benign, that may result in interference with urine flow through the compressed urethra.

Prostate gland and seminal vesiclesenlarge picture
Prostate gland and seminal vesicles

Prostate Gland


an unpaired gland of the male sexual apparatus. It is located in the pelvis, between the fundus of the urinary bladder and the ampulla of the rectum; it closely surrounds the neck of the bladder and the posterior section of the urinary canal. The length of the prostate gland is 4–4.5 cm., width 2–3.5 cm., thickness 1.7–2.5 cm., and weight 17–28 g.

The prostate gland is formed of 30 to 50 separate lobules, or glandules, of various size that lie in a dense connective-tissue base with a large number of smooth muscle fibers. The excretory ducts of the prostate empty into the prostatic portion of the urinary canal. Blood is supplied through the inferior vesical and middle rectal arteries; venous efflux is into the system of the internal iliac vein. The lymphatic vessels go to the lymph nodes of the pelvis. The prostate gland is innervated by the iliac nerve. The secretion of the prostate gland plays an important role in ensuring the viability of spermatozoa in the seminal fluid by the liquefaction of semen and the increase in its volume. The most common diseases of the prostate are prostatitis, tumors (such as adenoma), and stones.

References in periodicals archive ?
Direct prostate gland biopsies most commonly occur with transrectal ultrasound (TRUS) guidance.
It's difficult for a man to find his own G spot or prostate gland as the only way for him to feel this internal gland is through the anus.
The report also indicates that of the cancer cases reported in Abu Dhabi, 20 per cent were cancer of the prostate gland.
Prior to MP-MRI, random needle biopsy was the only way to confirm the diagnosis of prostate cancer and obtain accurate information about the extent of disease inside the prostate gland.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is an age-related enlargement of the prostate gland.
The prostate gland produces part of the semen and is found underneath the bladder.
Because the prostate gland surrounds the urethra (the common tube for both urine and semen) even a very small tumor in this location can interfere with urination or ejaculation.
The other common way of helping diagnose a prostate problem is a digital rectal examination, where the doctor feels the prostate gland through the wall of the back passage.
PSA, or prostate specific antigen, is a protein produced by cells in the prostate gland and also prostate tumours.
BUSINESS Secretary Lord Mandelson highlighted a problem faced by many older men when he had to have an operation on his prostate gland.
He is celebrating after recent blood tests revealed he has the lowest possible levels of prostrate specific antigen, a protein produced by the prostate gland.
Mr Chadwick said: "This type of procedure is only done if the cancer has not spread beyond the prostate gland and will not be suitable for every patient.