What is the prostate?

The prostate is a part of the male reproductive system. It adds nutrients and fluid to sperm. Normally the size of a walnut, the prostate can be divided into right and left "lobes."It is located in front of the rectum, just below the bladder. It surrounds the urethra, the tube that carries urine and semen through the penis. 
 
The growth of cells in the prostate, both healthy and cancerous, is stimulated by testosterone. Male hormones, including testosterone, are produced almost entirely by the testicles, with only a small percentage produced by adrenal glands (small glands found just above the kidneys).


 
 

Pelvis Anatomy

Below is a slider showing the male pelvis anatomy including the location of the prostate relative to other structures. Using your mouse, click and drag the slider to rotate the image to see the key structures.
 
Prostate Cancer Canada graciously acknowledges the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre for sharing this anatomy slider with us.
 

Pelvic Bones

The pelvic region is the area between the torso and the legs. The pelvic bones are made of the hip bones, sacrum and coccyx.
 

Pelvic Floor Muscles

A group of muscles that make up the bottom of the pelvis. These muscles help support pelvic floor organs, aid with sexual activity, and help with urinary and fecal continence.  You can strengthen these muscles by practicing Kegel exercises. 
 

Bladder

The urinary bladder is a muscular sac in the pelvis that collects urine excreted from the kidneys. The bladder stores the urine until it is emptied through urination.
 

Urethra

The urethra is the tube that carries urine and semen from the bladder and ejaculatory ducts out of the body. In males, it passes from the base of the bladder through the prostate, the pelvic floor, and the penis. 
 

Seminal Vesicles

These glands are located behind the bladder, above the prostate gland, and in front of the rectum. They are responsible for producing a large portion of the seminal fluid. 
 

Rectum

The rectum is the very last part of the digestive tract. It sits immediately behind the prostate. During a Digital Rectal Exam a healthcare provider can feel the prostate by inserting their finger(s) in the rectum.
 

Nerves

The nerves in the anatomy slider are part of the Hypogastric Plexus. These nerves send signals to the bladder, prostate, rectum, pelvic floor, and penis.   

 

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