The prostate gland is the size and shape of a walnut. It sits underneath the bladder and surrounds the urethra (the tube that carries wee out of the body). The prostate gland’s main job, however, is to help make semen, the fluid that carries sperm.
Who has a prostate gland?
People with a prostate gland include men, people assigned male at birth and transgender women. If you are a transgender woman with genital gender-affirming surgery as part of your transition, you will still have a prostate gland. Prostate Cancer UK has more detailed information about transgender women and the prostate gland. The LGBT foundation also offers help and advice.
Where is the prostate gland located?
The prostate gland sits deep inside the groin. The structures shaped like rabbit ears on top of the prostate gland are called seminal vesicles, where a large portion of the ejaculate is stored. A group of blood vessels and nerves (neurovascular bundle) run alongside the prostate and help control erectile function. Our bladders are like balloons, so they will get larger as they fill with wee. The urethra runs through the middle of the prostate and through the length of the penis to carry wee and semen out of the body.
What does the prostate do?
The prostate gland produces a fluid that mixes with sperm to make semen. This fluid is stored in the seminal vesicles. The male sex hormone, testosterone, is made by the testicles and controls how the prostate works. Testosterone is responsible for things such as getting an erection, your sex drive, and muscle development. The prostate gland also produces a protein called prostate-specific antigen (PSA) that helps to make semen more watery. The Test2Go Prostate Profile Test can check the levels of PSA through a finger-prick blood sample. A high PSA level can indicate problems with the prostate gland.
What problems can there be with the prostate gland?
Three main problems can arise with the prostate gland:
- An enlarged prostate – If it is enlarged, it doesn’t increase your risk of getting cancer and is quite common in men over 50. Symptoms of an enlarged prostate include difficulty when starting to wee, a weak flow when you wee, or a sudden need to urinate.
- Prostatitis – Usually caused by an infection or inflammation of the prostate, and again it is pretty standard amongst men between the ages of 30 and 50. Symptoms include discomfort in your testicles, stinging during or after urinating, or feeling as if you’re sitting on something like a golf ball
- Prostate cancer – is cancer that occurs in the prostate. It is the most common cancer in men in the UK, with 1 in 8 men diagnosed with it in their lifetime.
If you think you might be suffering from one of the abovementioned problems, you can use the Prostate Profile Test to check your prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level. NB. It is important to note that our tests are not a substitute for seeing a doctor, particularly if you have symptoms. You should not make a diagnosis or start any treatment without a consultation with a doctor or a suitably trained health professional.