How Does the Prostate Work?

By Chris Sherwood

What is the Prostate?

The prostate is a small walnut sized gland that is found in males. The gland lies directly below the bladder and in front of the rectum. The prostate is especially important to the male reproductive process. It is also one of the most common areas for men to develop cancer.

Sperm Liquid Production

The major role that the prostate plays in the human body is producing much of the liquid that accompanies sperm during ejaculation. This liquid is slightly alkalized to help the sperm survive against the high acidity of the vaginal tract. The alkalizing helps neutralize the acid, which helps the sperm survive longer. The prostate fluid is also what gives semen its milky coloring.

Sperm Transport

The prostate also contains 30 percent smooth muscle tissue. This muscle tissue helps propel the sperm out of the penis during ejaculation. This effectively transports the sperm, as well as the seminal fluid, from the prostate and testicles and out of the body.

How it Works

The prostate works using androgens, simply referred to as male hormones. The most important of these hormones is testosterone, more specifically dihydrotestosterone. The secretion of this hormone into the body helps regulate prostate function, as well as keeps the prostate working properly.

Issues

The most common issue that can interrupt the prostate's ability to work is enlargement. Almost all men by the age of 70 experience some enlargement. If the prostates gets too large, it can block the urethra, making it difficult to urinate and causing some discomfort. Prostate cancer is another common issue. In fact in 2004, 189,075 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer. In the same year 29,002 men died from prostate cancer.

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