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The prostate is a gland that is part of a man's sex organs and surrounds the tube called the urethra, located just below the bladder. A healthy prostate is approximately the size of a walnut. Women do not have a prostate gland.

Diagram of the prostate and nearby organs

The male urethra has two functions: to carry urine from the bladder during urination and to carry semen during ejaculation. Semen is composed of sperm and seminal fluid produced by the prostate gland.

To work properly, the prostate needs male hormones (androgens). Male hormones are responsible for male sex characteristics. The main male hormone is testosterone, which is produced mainly by the testicles. Some male hormones are produced in small amounts by the adrenal glands.

Massage of the prostate gland can be pleasurable; one way to stimulate it is through receiving anal sex.

Skene's glands in females are homologous to the prostate gland in males.

Disorders of the prostate

Inflammation of the prostate gland is known as prostatitis. If the prostate grows too large it may constrict the urethra and impede the flow of urine, making urination difficult and painful and in extreme cases completely impossible. Prostatitis is often treated in the U.S. with prostate massage. Surgery to repair this condition is sometimes necessary.

Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers affecting elderly men in developed countries.

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