My best friend from high school gave me a book of tips for new doctors. One of its aphorisms says, “If a man comes to visit you, there is a woman forcing him to do it.” Sexism aside, a man, with his machismo, is the last person to admit that his body is failing him.
But imagine an organ in men that, when diseased, can a) disrupt not just urination, but also sexual prowess occasionally, b) require screening by examination of a man’s behind, and c) has a connotation of old age. If it’s difficult enough to get a guy to go to the doctor for a cough, how much more for such a condition?
The “guardian” gland
What I’m talking about is the obscure male organ called the prostate gland. It’s so taboo that there isn’t even a Filipino word for it. But its name is derived from the Greek word, prostates, meaning “guardian” or “protector.” And if a guy comes to a doctor with signs of a sick prostate, attention must be paid because this was not an easy thing for him to do.
The prostate gland is an almond-sized organ that sits under the urinary bladder. The uretha, which channels the urine from the bladder to the outside environment, passes through the prostate, as if the prostate is “protecting” the urethra.
The prostate gland’s main function is the production of a slightly alkaline fluid that forms majority of the volume of semen. The alkalinity of semen neutralizes the acidity of the vaginal tract, which helps the sperm survive the trip. Prostatic secretions also seem to improve the motility of sperm and helps protect the genetic material stored within.
The prostate, on occasion, can become diseased. The three most common diseases of the prostate are: prostatitis, benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate cancer.