Back to Basics (The Prostate)

(The following is an excerpt from my book, The Life of Men, from the section called The Doctor Is In.)

Weighing in at all of one ounce (about 30 grams), it might seem that the prostate gland garners big attention for its size. Even its size grabs headlines. Located south of the bladder, north of the muscles of the pelvic floor, and west of the rectum (about where Colorado would be on the diagram below), the prostate is a three-layered structure responsible for producing the vehicle fluid for sperm cells (from the testicles), which, during ejaculation, is potently propelled
by the muscles of the prostate into the urethra and spewed from the tip of the penis.

On the diagram below, note the spatial relationship of the anus/rectum to the prostate; this allows your urologist access for digital exams and other procedures.

Male Reproductive Anatomy. Location of Prostate

The urethra descends from the bladder, passes through the prostate, and continues on to the penis. Where the urethra traverses the prostate there is a series of one-way valves or ducts which first begin to open during sex, seeping pre-seminal fluid as a lubricant, then are thrown wide open by the forceful contraction of the gland’s muscles at ejaculation. These ducts are closed during urination preventing urine from entering the gland; and during ejaculation the muscles of the prostate (along with the bladder sphincter) close the urethra above the gland preventing urine flow during coitus.

The gland is structured in layers like a baseball, but functions more like a small factory. Its core, the transition zone, wraps around the urethra. This structure is the shipping and receiving clerk compiling incoming materials, and opening and closing the ducts. Surrounding the core is the central zone (like the rubber covers around the cork pill of a baseball). This is the staging area or loading dock, where sperm from the vas deferens (sperm duct) from the testicles, stores from the seminal vesicles (essentially mini-warehouses), and prostatic secretions are prepared for shipment. About the central zone is the peripheral zone. This tissue, like the cotton and wool yarn of the baseball, makes up the bulk of the gland (about 20 grams). It is the fabrication facility consisting of smooth muscle fiber and prostate-fluid production cells. The prostate fluid, a thin, milky, slightly alkaline liquid contains many enzymes, including prostate-specific antigens (PSA). The fluid is both the vehicle and the protection river for sperm cells. It is essential for male fertility. The entire gland is encapsulated in connective tissue—à la cowhide!

As men age, the transition zone tends to enlarge with benign, non-cancerous, growth. It is this growth that most commonly restricts urine flow from the bladder. Most prostate cancers occur in
peripheral zone tissues.

An additional function of the prostate is to convert testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a biologically more active form of T (testosterone).

(End of excerpt.)

Jeffrey Rabuffo, M.D.

Dr. Jeff has a weekly, half hour, live radio show on WLIS/WMRD, 1150AM (Old Saybrook, CT), which can be streamed live or on demand via The show airs Mondays at 11AM with a replay on Thursdays at 11AM.

You can also order a copy of Dr. Jeff’s book, The Life of Men, available in a 2nd edition paperback on Amazon at this link

Dr. Jeff is also available to speak at your group, club, or organization.

He can be reached via email:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *