What is Your Prostate?
The prostate is a walnut-sized gland in the male reproductive system that is located beneath the bladder and surrounds the upper part of the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder. Regulated by testosterone, the prostate serves many key functions:
- Produces seminal fluid that carries and nourishes the sperm
- Contains nerves to help achieve an erection
- Provides the push sperm need to swim their way out of the penis
- Houses muscles called sphincters or valves to control urine flow and semen and seminal fluid.
- Produces prostate-specific antigen (PSA) that helps keep sperm in liquid form so it can reach the uterus. The PSA is also the substance tested in the blood during a PSA Test
There are typically three issues that can occur with a prostate:
- The prostate can squeeze against the urethra and slow the flow or stop the flow of urine
- The prostate grows in size and presses up into the bladder and causes urine to stay in the bladder causing infection
- Cancer can develop in the prostate and can spread to other parts of the body including the bladder, pelvis, spine, liver, lungs, and brain
Any of these issues occur as a result of prostate growth (BPH), inflammation (prostatitis), or prostate cancer.