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(3) Prostate Disorders

What does the prostate gland do?

The prostate gland accounts for the production of most of the seminal plasma, the fluid or ejaculate that carries the sperm. Most people do not realize that although the testicles produce sperm, the testicles account for only about 1% of the total sperm volume.

The prostate gland, the seminal vesicles, and the bulb urethral glands produce almost all of the ejaculatory volume.

The ejaculatory fluid is believed to help nourish the sperm. The ejaculatory fluid contains a variety of substances, including prostaglandins, fructose, citric acid, zinc, and prostate-specific antigen.

In addition to these physiologic functions, the size and location of the prostate contributes to the resistance of the flow of urine from the bladder.

Terms:

Seminal plasma - the majority of the ejaculatory fluid that is used to nourish the sperm.

Sperm - the cells in the male ejaculate that fertilize eggs.

Testicles - The reproductive organs of the male, located in the scrotum.

Seminal vesicles - two structures next to the prostate gland that contribute fluid to the ejaculate.

Bulb urethral – glands two glands that discharge a component of seminal fluid into the urethra; also known as Cowper’s glands.

Prostaglandins - chemical messengers made by different organs in the body.

Prostate-specific - antigen (PSA) - a chemical made by both benign and malignant prostate tissue.

Measurement of PSA serum levels is used as a screening test for prostate cancer.

 

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