Specifically, the prostate secretes a special fluid that makes up to 30% of healthy semen. This juice is slightly alkaline, and this feature helps it to partly neutralize the naturally acidic environment in the vagina. As a result, this protects the sperm cells, improves their survival, and protects their genetic material from damage. Let's explore this essential male organ in more detail.
The prostate is roughly the size of a walnut in adult males. Located in the pelvis, the gland envelops the urethra that exits the urinary bladder.
The prostate can be divided into five lobes. These lobes are the anterior, posterior, right lateral, left lateral, and median lobe—named in accordance with their position in the gland.
The prostate secretes a slightly alkaline, milky fluid. This secretion is an essential part of the semen along with the seminal vesicle fluid and spermatozoa.
The alkalinity of the secretion provides sperm cells protection from the acidic environment of the vaginal tract. This alkalinity has been proven to preserve sperm motility and longevity, and protect the genetic material found within.
Another function of the prostate is the production of dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is in charge of triggering sex drive in men. This hormone is produced through the action of the 5-alpha-reductase enzyme, which converts testosterone into DHT.
During orgasm, a fibromuscular band surrounding the prostate contracts to help pump out semen. This pumping action ensures that the semen travels deeper and increases its chances of fertilizing an egg cell.
Additionally, during orgasm, the prostate gland acts together with the bladder to control the sphincter muscle. This sphincter muscle prevents semen from entering the bladder, and urine from entering the prostate ducts during urination.
To illustrate the matter, prostate cancer is the most prevalent cancer among older men in America.
Although prostate cancer has no clear and definitive symptoms, a few changes in the body could hint that something could be wrong with this gland. These include increased urination at night, difficulty to start and maintain urination, painful urination, and blood in the urine.
However, these symptoms are similar to those of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). So, it’s always a great idea to consult with a medical practitioner if you notice these symptoms.
Note that the prostate is one part of the male body that goes through many irregularities as you grow older. This is a normal and harmless process, aside from the discomfort it may cause.
However, because of the similar symptoms between harmless benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate cancer, regular check-ups of the prostate are done routinely for older men. The current recommendation is to go though a prostate exam every 1-2 years after age 40.