A Quick Anatomy Guide to the Prostate

February 24, 2016

By The Institute for Natural Healing

A Quick Anatomy Guide to the ProstateConsidering how much it can affect a man’s quality of life, it’s surprising how little most guys know about their prostate gland. Few know what the prostate looks like, what it does, or even where it is.

The prostate gland is part of the male fertility and urinary systems. The gland is roughly triangular in shape. Its size varies greatly from one man to the next. And it can increase dramatically in size as a man ages.The prostate curls around the base of the bladder. Two of its lobes surround the urethra. It’s the passageway that brings urine from the bladder, through the prostate, and out of the penis.[1]

The prostate is located below the bladder and to the front of the rectum. The top part of the urethra passes through the prostate. Therefore, if the gland becomes enlarged, it can obstruct the passage of fluid through the urethra.

Editor’s Note: Enlarged Prostate? Take the 2-Minute Prostate Quiz Here!

This causes the common symptoms of an enlarged prostate: difficulty urinating or emptying of the bladder. While this is uncomfortable, it generally does not impair a man’s ability to function sexually. However, in some cases it can lead to pain during sex. Also, the discomfort and embarrassment it causes can interfere with sexual activity.

The outside of the prostate gland has a layer of connective tissue. This is called the prostatic capsule. It provides structural support for the inside of the gland.[2]

The prostate is primarily composed of three different types of cells:

  • Gland cells that produce the fluid portion of semen.
  • Muscle cells that control urine flow and ejaculation.
  • Fibrous cells that provide the supportive structure of the gland.

The prostate gland is divided into three zones:

  • Transition zone
  • Central zone
  • Peripheral zone[3]

Transition zone

The prostatic urethra runs the length of the prostate. This small zone (comprising only about 5% of the gland) is where enlarged prostate problems occur that can lead to difficulty in urination and other problems.

The transitional zone has two lateral lobes and a median lobe. This portion of the prostate also hold something called the “prostatic sinuses.” These structures drain substances produced in the prostate. Another structure in the transition zone contains the utricular orifice, which are small slit-like openings to the ejaculatory ducts.

Central zone

The central zone is the part of the prostate gland that surrounds the ejaculatory ducts. This zone consists of about a quarter of the tissue in the gland.

Peripheral zone

This is the largest portion of the prostate gland. It comprises about 70% of the glandular tissue. This zone covers the rear and side areas (posterior and lateral) portions of the prostate. The peripheral zone is the part of the prostate that is palpated during a digital rectal examination. This zone is most commonly affected by chronic prostatitis. 

Blood Supply 

The blood supply to the prostate gland is primarily from an artery called the inferior vesical artery. The inferior vesical artery divides into two branches which feed the prostate. One arterial branch is called the urethral artery. The other is the capsular artery.[4]

How Big Is Your Prostate? Take Quiz.

 

[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK13217/

[2] http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1923122-overview#a1

[3] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0072475/

[4] http://www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/cancer-type/prostate/anatomy-and-physiology/?region=on