Although prostate cancer is the second most common cancer diagnosed in men in the United States, the prostate is rarely discussed. For many men, it’s a source of embarrassment and more often than not prostate issues are not brought up during medical exams.
Many people, including men, do not know that the prostate gland is a huge player in many key processes within the male body. Any irregularities or inflammation can be a symptom of something much more serious, which is why it’s so important to not only be aware of what the function of the prostate gland is, but also look after it. So just what is a prostate? It is a powerhouse: a remarkable gland with huge repercussions on a man’s quality of life! Here are 10 important functions of the prostate gland you may not know about.
1. A Reproductive Organ
The primary job of the prostate gland 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. Mix Master of Reproductive Fluids
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. 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. PSA dissolves this glue with its own enzyme.
3. A Small but Mighty Muscle
The prostate is also a muscle that pumps the semen out through the penis with enough force to enter into the vagina in the hope that it will reach the egg. It essentially gives the sperm the jumpstart it needs to potentially cause impregnation.
An evolutionary trait to promote the procreation of the species, the pumping action of the prostate muscle, is extremely pleasurable. Through this experience of pleasure, men’s bodies are biologically encouraging them to release their semen.
5. 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 it. 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. Filtration System
The prostate also acts as a filtration system, removing toxins and thereby protecting the sperm. Healthy sperm means a higher chance of impregnation, which is always the end goal on an evolutionary level. Its filtration capability is arguably the prostate gland’s most important function and, perhaps can be one of the main reasons why there is a growing epidemic of prostate disease and cancer. More than ever the prostate gland is required to filter out the toxins found in food and in the environment.
7. Erectile function
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 there is a significant chance for erectile dysfunction That is why many medical prostate procedures (surgery or radiation) have an unwanted side effect of erectile difficulties or impotence.
8. Protective Secretions
Prostatic secretions also play a valuable role by protecting the urethra from urinary tract infections, which although rare in men, can lead to potentially serious internal infections if left unchecked.
9. Urine Control
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.
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. Hormone Regulation
A final prostate function is its ability to regulate male hormones. It 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 sex drive and function. Over time, a buildup 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.
With such a complex gland having so many functions, a 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.