Men should have an annual Prostate exam and there is really nothing joyous about it, except that if you get out of the office without a 'follow-up' you feel such a sense of relief. On the other hand....should you get the "I am going to get you a referral" comment, you have that fear jump right up and grab you by the balls.
Should you have to have a PSA exam..that is one of the tools used by physicians to begin to determine the health of the prostate, you will have blood taken and the lab does the rest. The test will spew out some numbers..say...3.5 or maybe 4.6....the lower the number, the happier everyone is. The numbers will be affected by a number of things outside of your control, however.....
Here is a TIP....don't have sex say...24 hours prior to the exam. I say this from experience. When I was 'flagged' and referred due to an enlarged prostate, the specialist went thru a number of reasons why a PSA reading might be higher than it ought to be. One of them was 'trauma' to the prostate. Being kicked was mentioned...as was ejaculation. Now, why ejaculation should be referred to as 'trauama', I do not know, but..it is. So..no trauma, lower numbers...truer numbers.
I am posting the next info because there are some people who want to see and know..diagrams and so on...here, fill yer boots.
|Prostate with seminal vesicles and seminal ducts, viewed from in front and above.|
FunctionThe function of the prostate is to secrete a slightly basic fluid, milky or white in appearance, that usually constitutes 50–75% of the volume of the semen along with spermatozoa and seminal vesicle fluid. Semen is made alkaline overall with the secretions from the other contributing glands, including, at least, the seminal vesicle fluid. The alkalinity of semen helps neutralize the acidity of the vaginal tract, prolonging the lifespan of sperm. The alkalinization of semen is primarily accomplished through secretion from the seminal vesicles. The prostatic fluid is expelled in the first ejaculate fractions, together with most of the spermatozoa. In comparison with the few spermatozoa expelled together with mainly seminal vesicular fluid, those expelled in prostatic fluid have better motility, longer survival and better protection of the genetic material.
The prostate also contains some smooth muscles that help expel semen during ejaculation.
SecretionsProstatic secretions vary among species. They are generally composed of simple sugars and are often slightly acidic.
In human prostatic secretions, the protein content is less than 1% and includes proteolytic enzymes, prostatic acid phosphatase, beta-microseminoprotein, and prostate-specific antigen. The secretions also contain zinc with a concentration 500–1,000 times the concentration in blood.
RegulationTo work properly, the prostate needs male hormones (testosterones), which are responsible for male sex characteristics.
The main male hormone is testosterone, which is produced mainly by the testicles. Some male hormones are produced in small amounts by the adrenal glands. However, it is dihydrotestosterone that regulates the prostate.
DevelopmentThe prostatic part of the urethra develops from the pelvic (middle) part of the urogenital sinus (endodermal origin). Endodermal outgrowths arise from the prostatic part of the urethra and grow into the surrounding mesenchyme. The glandular epithelium of the prostate differentiates from these endodermal cells, and the associated mesenchyme differentiates into the dense stroma and the smooth muscle of the prostate. The prostate glands represent the modified wall of the proximal portion of the male urethra and arises by the 9th week of embryonic life in the development of the reproductive system. Condensation of mesenchyme, urethra and Wolffian ducts gives rise to the adult prostate gland, a composite organ made up of several glandular and non-glandular components tightly fused.
Female prostate glandThe Skene's gland, also known as the paraurethral gland, found in females, is homologous to the prostate gland in males. However, anatomically, the uterus is in the same position as the prostate gland. In 2002 the Skene's gland was officially renamed to female prostate by the Federative International Committee on Anatomical Terminology.
The female prostate, like the male prostate, secretes PSA and levels of this antigen rise in the presence of carcinoma of the gland. The gland also expels fluid, like the male prostate, during orgasm.
A healthy human prostate is classically said to be slightly larger than a walnut. The mean weight of the "normal" prostate in adult males is about 11 grams, usually ranging between 7 and 16 grams. It surrounds the urethra just below the urinary bladder and can be felt during a rectal exam. It is the only exocrine organ located in the midline in humans and similar animals.
The secretory epithelium is mainly pseudostratified, comprising tall columnar cells and basal cells which are supported by a fibroelastic stroma containing randomly orientated smooth muscle bundles. The epithelium is highly variable and areas of low cuboidal or squamous epithelium are also present, with transitional epithelium in the distal regions of the longer ducts. Within the prostate, the urethra coming from the bladder is called the prostatic urethra and merges with the two ejaculatory ducts.
The prostate does not have a capsule, rather an integral fibromuscular band surrounds it. It is sheathed in the muscles of the pelvic floor, which contract during the ejaculatory process.