The Prostate Cancer Foundation defines the prostate as a “small, squishy gland about the size of a ping-pong ball” that’s buried in the groin, nestled between the penis’s base and the rectum. The organ provides the body with seminal fluid, which assists sperm in travel and survival once the two are mixed together. The word “prostate” is derived from the Greek word “prostates,” meaning protector or guardian, pointing to the prostate’s position in front of the bladder.
Sitting atop the prostate are the seminal vesicles, which are structures shaped like rabbit ears that deposit and secrete much of the body’s ejaculate. The neurovascular bundle is made up of a conglomerate of vessels and nerves running along either side of the prostate that help govern erectile function. For some men, these are directly attached to the prostate while in others, these nerves are simply located closeby. Their proximity to the prostate has no effect on its normal function or prostate cancer, if someone is diagnosed with the disease. The urethra, which carries both urine and semen out of the body, is threaded through the prostate.
While the prostate is non-essential for life, it holds an important role in creating it. Semen–aka seminal fluid–is provided to the body by the prostate; and healthy semen provides sperm with the ideal surroundings and consistency for its survival, travel, and fertilization. Semen also carries antibodies that protect sperm and the urinary tract from harmful pathogens and bacteria, as well as enzymes such as PSA, which is measured in popular prostate cancer screening tests. And it even has substances produced by the seminal vesicles and prostate, like fructose, zinc, and citrate, that give the sperm energy to get to the egg during fertilization.
There are various different approaches you can take to monitor your prostate’s health. You can read about how ours compares to other techniques here.