No wonder the prostate gland is so vital to men’s health and the propagation of the species!
Just what exactly is the prostates purpose in life?
1. It’s a gland
The primary job of the prostate is to produce and secrete some of the alkaline seminal fluids during ejaculation (about 30-35% of the semen ejaculate). Being alkaline, the prostate fluid, which is milky whitish in color, helps the sperm survive in the acidic vaginal environment. The prostate is considered to be a gland since glands secrete something.
2. It helps with fertility
The prostate mixes its fluids with those from the seminal vesicles to transport the sperm made in the testicles. Together these fluids surge through the prostate into the urethra during ejaculation. The urethra doubles as the semen tube during ejaculation and as the urine tube from the bladder, both fluids exiting the tip of the penis. The section of the urethra that runs through the prostate gland is called the prostatic urethra and is about 3cm (1½”) long.
Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is a fluid produced in the prostate, playing a key role in enabling the sperm to swim into the uterus by keeping the semen in liquid form. It counteracts the clotting enzyme in the seminal vesicle fluid, which essentially glues the semen to the woman’s cervix, next to the uterus entrance inside the vagina. PSA dissolves this glue with its own enzyme so that the sperm can dash into the uterus and impregnate an egg if it is there.
It is this same PSA that is tested during the PSA blood test, a very controversial test because of the many factors that can cause the results to vary widely.
3. It’s a pump
The prostate is also a muscle that pumps the semen out through the penis with enough force to enter into the vagina to help the sperm succeed in reaching the cervix and ensuring procreation of the species.
4. It helps with sexual satisfaction
An added bonus for males, the pumping action of the prostate sure feels good, making sex desirable and thus helping procreation.
5. It’s the male G-spot
The prostate is the male G-spot. Prostate stimulation can produce an exceptionally strong sexual response and intense orgasm in men that are receptive to this sexual technique. The ability to control ejaculation at the prostate can also lead to prolonged orgasms and “injaculations” where no semen is expelled. This is done in advanced Taoist and Tantric sexual practices to contain the sexual energy internally.
6. It filters toxins
The prostate also filters and removes toxins for protection of the sperm, which enhances the chance of impregnation and ensures that men seed with the optimum quality of sperm. This is perhaps the prostate’s most important function and, at the same time, can be one of the main reasons there is a growing epidemic of prostate disease and cancer as men deal with more and more toxins in food and the environment.
7. And helps with erections
The prostate erection nerves are responsible for erections. These nerves trigger the penis to swell and harden with extra blood flow into it, producing an erection.
If these nerves, which attach to the sides of the prostate, get damaged then erectile difficulties are guaranteed. That is why many medical prostate procedures (surgery or radiation) have an unwanted side effect of erectile difficulties or impotence.
8. While helping reduce urinary infections
Prostatic secretions also play a valuable role by protecting the urethra from urinary tract infections, which seem to be much more rare in men than women.
9. It acts as a valve
The prostate, which surrounds the upper part of the urethra tube just below the bladder (the prostatic urethra), controls the flow of urine. It prevents urine from leaving the bladder, except when released by urination. It also prevents urine from damaging ejaculate during orgasm.
It does this with two small prostatic muscles called sphincters. They act as gatekeepers with shut-off valves to control and regulate the dual-purpose urethra tube. These gatekeepers ensure the right fluids flow at the right time – urination or ejaculation. Not a bad design!
One sphincter is located where the bladder and the upper part of the prostate meet (the internal upper sphincter). When functioning properly, it prevents urination until it’s time to go and stops seminal fluid from shooting backwards into the bladder during ejaculation. When damaged, semen is forced back into the bladder and eventually exits with normal urination. This is known as retrograde ejaculation and is another possible side effect of prostate surgery – no chance of seeding a woman then!
The second, external lower sphincter is at the base of the prostate and is subject to our control. It prevents dribbling after peeing and is how we voluntarily can delay urination when inconvenient to go. Incontinence occurs when control of either sphincter is damaged and urine leaks or flows uncontrollably, thus forcing many men with prostate problems to wear adult diapers.
It’s easy enough to voluntarily control the lower sphincter and to stop urine or semen from exiting if you have enough Kegel muscle control, the ability to squeeze the flow shut. Either one of these sphincter muscles will block the urine until the urge to pee happens and the timing is right to release and let the urine flow.
An enlarged prostate or BPH can squeeze the prostatic urethra tube and the upper or lower sphincter, making urination difficult with a host of unpleasant, uncontrollable symptoms. BPH surgeries that remove part of the prostate can easily have side effects of incontinence or retrograde ejaculation.
10. And regulates and helps produce testosterone
The prostate gland contains a crucial enzyme, 5-alpha-reductase. This enzyme converts the hormone testosterone in the body to DHT (dihydrotestosterone), which is at least ten times more powerful than simple testosterone. This potent hormone DHT has several purposes including male sexual drive and function. Over time, a build-up of toxins in the prostate may affect the production of this enzyme, which is then responsible for the declining sex drive in men as they age.
DHT and testosterone have mistakenly been targeted as guilty hormones in prostate problems rather than the excessive rise in modern male estrogen levels, leading often to medical interventions with serious side effects including lack of libido. Estrogen levels rise because of the prevalence of estrogens in factory foods, commercial meats and dairy, and estrogen-mimicking chemicals present in body-care and household products. It’s even found in municipal water and some plastic food packaging.
With such a complex gland having so many functions, prostate disease can wreak havoc on a man’s health. Men would be wise to do all they can to enhance the health of their prostate – an unhealthy prostate can have an enormous impact on sexual function and simple daily urination.
The prostate is a powerhouse: a remarkable gland with huge repercussions on a man’s quality of life!
About the author:
Ronald M Bazar is a Harvard MBA, is a health enthusiast and author of the new comprehensive book on the prostate called Healthy Prostate: The Extensive Guide To Prevent and Heal Prostate Problems Including Prostate Cancer, BPH Enlarged Prostate and Prostatitis, which is available on Amazon, iTunes, Kindle and more outlets.