What is the prostate gland?

The prostate gland is often classified as the male reproductive gland. It is an integral part of the male reproductive anatomy and is crucial in maintaining male sexual and overall health conditions.

The prostate gland, the penis, the seminal vesicles, and the testicles complete the male reproductive anatomy. On top of that, it controls hormone levels and has a close relationship with the male urinary tract. Let's check out the prostate gland to know more about it.

What is the Prostate Gland?

The prostate gland is a small soft gland located between the bladder and the male reproductive organ penis. It is approximately the size of a walnut and weighs roughly 30 grams for an adult male. The gland is smooth and soft when touched. It also surrounds the urethra and the urinary tract.

The urinary tract further connects the prostate gland with the ejaculatory ducts. Hence, besides maintaining male reproductive health, the prostate gland is directly linked with the urethra and urinary system.

The Anatomical Structure of the Prostate Gland

The small prostate gland is created with different layers of tissues. Anatomically, it has four different layers, all of which surround the urinary tract.

It looks like a gland with five lobes- one anterior love in the front and one posterior love in the back of the gland. Besides that, it also has two lateral lobes on the sides and one middle lobe. It is covered in the prostatic fascia, a thin sheet made with stretchable connective tissues that act as a barrier for the prostate.

Here is the detailed information on the internal structure of the prostate −

  • Anterior zone − The Anterior zone is the outermost layer of the tissues, made of connective muscle fibrous tissues. Hence, it gives off elastic feeling when touched. You can feel the anterior prostate zone if you pass a finger through your rectum and press it upwards.

  • Transit zone − The transition zone covers the proximal urethra. It contains nearly 5% of the prostate glands. The transition zone continues to grow even after the males reach adulthood.

  • Central zone − The central zone is part of the prostate gland surrounding the ejaculatory ducts. This zone is nearly 20% of the whole gland. It directly affects the ejaculatory tract.

  • Peripheral zone − The peripheral zone is the most significant section of the prostate gland. It is located in the back side of the gland and surrounds the distal urinary tract, and lies underneath the seminal capsules.

Besides that, this gland also has blood vessels and nerves. The inferior vesicle artery, internal pudenda artery, and middle rectal articles enter the prostate near the bladder and supply blood throughout the gland. Besides that, the prostate also has a structured vein network that takes out the blood. The most important veins are the prostatic venous plexus which exits the prostate from its outer surface.

Besides the veins, this gland has lymphatic networks as well. The lymphatic vessels mostly come from the seminal vessels and go to the external iliac lymph nodes.

Microanatomy of the Prostate Gland

Let's check out the cellular division and microarray of the male prostate gland. It is mainly made with glandular tissues and connective tissues.

  • The outer layer of the epithelium is made of column-shaped cells. Mostly, the cells have one layer. But, sometimes, the prostate epithelial tissues have such a cell nuclei position that the cells look layered. Sometimes, this layer can also contain cuboidal or flat cells.

  • The functioning glands are present in follicles. The g; and are connected with the prostate canals, and the canals create 12-20 main ducts, which again join with the urethra.

  • Besides these cells, a few flat cells are also seen surrounding the base membrane of the follicle glands. These cells are stem cells that help in repairing the prostate when needed. The follicle lobules of the functioning glands are separated by smooth fibrous tissues that are continuous in the gland.

  • As the action starts to produce hormones, the gland becomes activated. With time, the secretions get thickened and accumulate inside the gland. The accumulation is known as corpora amylacea.

What is the role of the Prostate Gland?

The prostate's primary role is to produce a fluid that helps carry out semen during sexual intercourse. It produces a white fluid containing enzymes, citric acid, and zinc. It works as a nutritional fluid that helps to nourish the sperm cells and keeps them alive.

During sexual activity, the prostate gland becomes active and produces the fluid. This fluid then passes from the urethra and then gets mixed with the sperm cells and creates semen, which comes out during ejaculation.

Besides this, the prostate has other functions as well. Its muscles help to push the semen inside the urinary tract and allow the fluid to pass during orgasm.

Common Problems with the Prostate

Here are some of the common problems that adult males face with prostate glands −

  • Benign prostatic hyperplasia − This mostly happens in men over 50. The overgrown prostate starts blocking the urethra and causes urinary problems.

  • Prostatitis − It refers to inflammation that affects men's prostate gland and urinary tract.

  • Prostate cancer happens when the prostate gland cells transform into malignant cells, and the gland gets enlarged rapidly.

When to Visit the Doctor?

You should visit the doctor if you feel these problems inside your body −

  • Frequent urination or difficulty in passing urine

  • Sharp pain during urination and ejaculation or dysuria

  • Slow urination flow or dribbling in the urine stream

  • Blood in urine and semen or hematospermia

  • Erectile dysfunction

  • Pain in the hip or lower back

  • Frequent urination urges during the night

  • Pain in the penis or testicles or perineum (the area between testicles and rectum)


The prostate gland is part of the male reproductive organ surrounding the urinary tract and ejaculation tube. It produces a white fluid that creates semen. It is made with glands and other cells.

Updated on: 01-Mar-2023


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