The prostate gland, commonly known as the prostate, is one of the male reproductive organs located just below the bladder, above the penis, and in front of the rectum. It is connected to the penis by a tube (urethra) that empties urine from the bladder. The size and shape of the prostate are similar to a walnut.
What is the function of the prostate?
The main function of the prostate gland is to secrete an alkaline fluid that forms around 70% of the semen. Apart from lubrication, these secretions act as a source of nutrients for the sperm. The alkaline fluid in the ejaculated semen also helps to neutralize the acidic vaginal environment during sexual intercourse.
What are the signs and symptoms of prostate problems?
The presence of any one or more of the following signs and symptoms may indicate a problem with the prostate.
How to check the prostate?
A person can get his prostate checked from a doctor if he is experiencing any of the signs and symptoms. The doctor will usually perform the following examinations and tests to confirm if the complaints are due to an abnormality with the prostate.
- Digital rectal exam (DRE): A DRE is usually the first step towards detecting any abnormal growth in the prostate. This procedure involves inserting a lubricated finger through the anus until it reaches the rectum. Once the finger reaches the rectum, the prostate can be felt. This test helps the doctor to feel the hard lump, if any, on the prostate.
- Ultrasonography (USG): Next, the patient is advised to undergo a USG of the pelvis or a transrectal ultrasound to look for any changes in the shape or structure of the prostate. During a transrectal ultrasound, a small probe, about the size and shape of a cigar, is inserted into the rectum. The probe uses sound waves to create an image of the prostate gland.
- PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test: A PSA test is a blood test that helps the doctor to check the health quotient of the prostate. A higher PSA level in the blood can be seen in an individual when he is experiencing inflammation of the prostate (prostatitis), enlargement of the prostate (benign prostate hypertrophy or BPH), and prostate cancer. Many other things can cause a false-positive test result. These include an orgasm within the past 24 hours, a prostate biopsy, or prostate surgery that may cause a temporary increase in PSA levels. PSA test combined with DRE is being widely used as a screening test to identify prostate cancers in their early stages.
- Biopsy: A biopsy of the prostate is only advised to confirm or rule out prostate cancer after the above investigations. This procedure involves the surgical removal of a small sample (tissue) of the prostate through a tube-like long camera inserted in the abdomen. The sample is then sent to the laboratory to check for the presence of cancer cells under a microscope. A biopsy is the most reliable test for confirming prostate cancer.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). Available at: https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/437359-overview#a4
Top Where Is the Prostate? Related Articles
Can Prostate Cancer Be Completely Cured?Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men. Due to routine screening of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels in the United States, nearly 90% of prostate cancers get detected in early stages. When found early, there are several treatment options available and prostate cancer has a high chance of getting cured.
Early-Stage Prostate Cancer Treatment
If prostate cancer is detected early and appears to be slow-growing, invasive procedures, chemotherapy, radiation and other approaches can sometimes do more harm than good. Many prostate cancer treatments come with side effects, like incontinence or impotence, so it’s in the patient’s interest to put off invasive treatments as long as is medically safe. Active surveillance is where doctors "watch and wait" for changes that could prompt medical intervention.
BPH SlideshowBenign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) is a condition cause by an enlarged prostate. Get more information on how an enlarged prostate is diagnosed and available treatment for enlarged prostate glands.
Is Drinking a Lot of Water Good for Your Prostate?Doctors recommend drinking six to eight glasses of water (or 1.5 to 2 liters) daily. For prostate problems, limit water intake before going to bed at night. This will keep you from waking up at night to urinate repeatedly.
Jalyn (dutasteride and tamsulosin hydrochloride)Jalyn (dutasteride and tamsulosin hydrochloride) is a prescription medicine used to treat the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) in men with an enlarged prostate. The 2 medications in Jalyn work in different ways to improve symptoms of BPH. Dutasteride shrinks the enlarged prostate and tamsulosin relaxes muscles in the prostate and neck of the bladder. These 2 medications, when used together, can improve symptoms of BPH better than either medication when used alone. Jalyn may cause serious side effects including decreased blood pressure, rare and serious allergic reactions, a higher chance of a more serious form of prostate cancer, eye problems, and a painful erection that will not go away.
Orgovyx (relugolix)Orgovyx (relugolix) is a prescription medicine used in adults for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer. Orgovyx may cause serious side effects, including changes in the electrical activity of your heart (QT prolongation). The most common side effects of Orgovyx include hot flashes, increased blood sugar levels, increased blood fat (triglyceride) levels, muscle and joint pain, decreased blood hemoglobin levels, increased liver enzymes, tiredness, constipation, and diarrhea.
Prostate Cancer QuizIs prostate cancer the most common cancer in men? Take this quiz to find out and learn the causes, symptoms and treatments of this disease.
Prostate Cancer SlidesProstate cancer is the most common cancer in men. Learn the signs and symptoms of prostate cancer, along with causes and treatments. Know the stages, survival rates and lower your risk of prostate cancer.
Prostate Cancer Treatment: Radical Prostatectomy Surgery
Radical prostatectomy, or surgical removal of the entire prostate gland, isn’t typically the first choice in prostate cancer treatment. Sometimes a radical approach is necessary to keep the cancer from metastasizing, however. Some cases are too severe or diagnosed too late for drugs or radiation to have much effect. In these cases, treatment teams may opt for a radical prostatectomy, despite potential side effects like impotence and incontinence.
Prostate Infection: Causes, Symptoms, and RemediesIf the prostate gland becomes swollen and tender, it is called prostatitis or prostate infection. The prostate gland is a walnut-shaped organ that lies just below a man's urinary bladder.
Illustrations of ProstateSide View of the Prostate. The prostate is a walnut-sized gland located between the bladder and the penis. See a picture of the Prostate and learn more about the health topic.
Prostate ProblemsThe prostate is a gland that is part of the male reproductive system and is located between the bladder and penis. Signs and symptoms of prostate problems include painful ejaculation, burning or pain while urinating, blood in the urine or semen, dribbling urine, frequent urination, urinary incontinence, and pain in the lower back, hips, upper thighs, or the pelvic or rectal area. Common causes of prostate problems in men are prostatitis, enlargement of the prostate gland (benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), and prostate cancer. Causes of prostate problems can assist in diagnosing prostate cancer. Treatments for prostate problems include medications, surgery, and hormone or radiation therapy.
Rapaflo (silodosin)Rapaflo (silodosin) is an alpha-adrenergic blocker used to improve urination in men with benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate). Side effects of Rapaflo include dizziness, weakness, headache, sleep problems (insomnia), diarrhea, stomach pain, decreased amount of semen released during sex, abnormal ejaculation, runny or stuffy nose, or sore throat.
The early signs of prostate cancerProstate cancer in its early stages usually causes no signs and symptoms. Screening can help detect the cancer early.
Vantas (histrelin acetate)Vantas (histrelin acetate) is a medication implant used to deliver the medicine histrelin to your body continuously for 12 months to relieve the symptoms of prostate cancer, but it is not a cure. Serious side effects of Vantas include causing an increase in testosterone during the first week after it is inserted and a loss in bone mineral density.
What Are the 5 Warning Signs of Prostate Cancer?Prostate cancer rarely produces symptoms in the early stage; however, few signs can help in detecting prostate cancer.
What Are the Five Warning Signs of Prostate Cancer?Prostate cancer primarily affects men over 50, but is easy to treat if found early. Learn the signs of prostate cancer, what causes prostate cancer, how doctors diagnose prostate cancer, and how they treat prostate cancer.