The prostate is a part of the male reproductive anatomy. It produces fluid that forms part of semen.
The fluids in semen help to nourish sperm and protect them from the acidic environment of the vagina.
Prostate Cancer Canada -About the Prostate
Prostate Cancer Foundation -About The Prostate
The prostate is made up of thousands of tiny fluid-producing glands. Specifically, the prostate is an exocrine gland. Exocrine glands are so-called because they secrete through ducts to the outside of the body (or into a cavity that communicates with the outside). Sweat glands are another example of an exocrine gland.
The fluid that the prostate gland produces forms part of semen, the fluid that carries sperm during orgasm. The prostatic fluid mixes with the sperm and seminal vesicular fluid as muscular contractions force the ejaculate into the urethra where it is expelled from the body through the penis.
As well, the prostate produces a protein called Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA). PSA is released with the ejaculatory fluid and can also be traced in the blood stream. The testing of PSA levels in the blood is used to detect prostate cancer. The amount of PSA that is found in blood is proportional to the size of the prostate gland.
In addition to the prostate's role in producing ejaculate, it also plays a part in controlling the flow of urine. The prostate wraps itself around the urethra as it passes from the bladder to the penis. Muscular fibers in the prostate contract to slow the flow of urine.