The prostate (prostate gland) produces an important proportion of sperm. Read more about the prostate anatomy and function!


The prostate or prostate gland is a male gonad that produces some of the semen. Its secretion stimulates the mobility of the spermatozoa. The prostate is in addition to the testicles to the male reproductive organs. Read all about the prostate: anatomy, function and important conditions such as benign prostate enlargement (benign prostatic hyperplasia) and prostate cancer!

What is the prostate?

The prostate gland is about a chestnut-sized gland in the male abdomen, which completely surrounds the beginning of the urethra. It is surrounded by a bulky capsule (Capsula prostatica) and consists of a central part and two lateral lobes. The paired vas deferens (ductus deferens) runs after union with the excretory ducts of the seminal vesicles as the ejaculatory duct in the prostate and ends there in the urethra.

The prostate gland consists of 30 to 50 small glandular tubes, which snake in the stroma, which consists of connective tissue and musculature. At birth, the prostate gland is still small, it weighs about two grams. It grows during puberty and weighs about 20 grams between the ages of 20 and 40 years. In old age, it can weigh up to forty grams.

The prostate is divided into three zones:

  • Peri-urethral zone (transition zone): area around the urethra
  • Central zone ("internal gland"): Its growth is stimulated by the female sex hormone estrogen, which is also produced in small amounts in men.
  • Peripheral zone ("external gland"): Its growth is stimulated by male sex hormones (testosterone, dihydrotestosterone).

What function does the prostate have?

The prostate function is mainly in the production of a secretion, which accounts for about 20 percent of the total ejaculate. The thin, milky secretion serves as a nutrient solution for the sperm cells and contains everything they need on their way to the egg. These include, inter alia, the protein spermine (stabilizes the DNA, so the genetic material of the sperm) and PSA (prostate-specific antigen, liquefies the ejaculate). The prostate secretion is also slightly acidic (pH 6.4 - 6.8), which stimulates sperm motility.

In ejaculation, the muscles of the prostate contract and squeeze the fluid through the ducts of the gland into the urethra. At the same time, the secretions produced by the seminal vesicles and the sperm originating from the testes reach the urethra.

Where is the prostate?

The base of the prostate lies at the base of the urinary bladder and its tip lies on the urogenital diaphragm, the anterior pelvic floor. To the front it lies about two centimeters behind the symphysis (the place where the two pubis bones meet) and to the rear the prostate with its middle lobe is separated from the rectum (rectum) only by a thin connective tissue septum. This proximity to the rectum makes it easy to examine the prostate via the rectum.

What problems can the prostate cause?

An abscess of the prostate is caused by a purulent meltdown of prostate tissue in inflammation of the prostate gland (prostatitis) or surrounding tissue (for example, the urethra).

A prostate adenoma is a benign enlargement of the prostate (also called benign prostatic hyperplasia), which occurs mainly in older men. Tissue growth can narrow the urethra, causing urination problems.

Prostate cancer (prostate cancer) is mainly from the posterior sections of the prostate. He has a strong metastatic tendency, that is, he easily forms secondary tumors - especially in the spine and pelvis.

Prostate crumbs or stones are formed by the encrustation of protein bodies in the glandular clearings of the prostate.

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