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Do Women Have a Prostate?

By    |   Friday, 29 Apr 2016 05:58 PM

Women do not have a prostate, but they do have a gland that may function similarly to a man’s prostate, which has led some medical professionals to call the Skene’s gland the “female prostate.”

At first glance, the question about whether women have a prostate seems like it should be easy to answer. The prostate is a small gland that surrounds the urethra in men and helps in the production of semen. Women don’t make semen, so why would they need a prostate?

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The reason some researchers call the Skene’s gland the “female prostate” is that it releases fluid called prostate-specific antigen (PSA), which is the same substance the male prostate releases.

The Skene’s gland is thought to play a role in preventing urinary tract infections in women, according to the Journal of the National Cancer Institiute. The gland can also become cancerous in a similar way to a man’s prostate, although this is very rare.

The Skene’s gland is not the same as the male prostate, however. Scientists term them analogous or homologous to the prostate, but not the same. For instance, in men, the prostate is always similarly and fully formed, but Skene’s glands vary greatly in size and development, with some women lacking them entirely, according to WiseGeek.

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For men, the prostate gland commonly grows larger as they age, with about 80 percent of men developing benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) during their lifetimes, according to WebMD. Despite the widespread nature of prostate enlargement, however, only 30 percent of men have bothersome symptoms like trouble urinating or sexual dysfunction as a result.

Whether scientists believe the Skene’s gland is the female counterpart to the prostate, there is no correlation in women to the prostate problems commonly experienced by men as they age. Treatment of prostate problems is therefore unnecessary for women, and applies only to men.

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Women do not have a prostate, but they do have a gland that may function similarly to a man's prostate, which has led some medical professionals to call the Skene's gland the "female prostate."
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Friday, 29 Apr 2016 05:58 PM
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