The prostate is a small gland but plays an important role in men's health. About 25% of men aged 55 and older have prostate disease, this rate tends to increase to 50% at age 70. Understanding the location, structure and function of the prostate will help men take control of their prostate. more active in preventing related diseases. So what is the prostate? Structure, role and function of the prostate gland in the body?
What is the prostate?
The prostate is part of the male reproductive system, this organ grows and develops thanks to the male sex hormone - testosterone. In adults, the prostate is the size of a walnut. When men are 50 years old or older, this organ tends to develop and grow larger over time. (first)
In men, the prostate is a gland located below the bladder, in front of the rectum and surrounding the urethra (the tube that carries urine and semen out).
The prostate is located at the intersection of the urinary and genital tracts, so prostate-related diseases and treatments can affect these organs. For example, an enlarged prostate can press on the urethra, causing difficulty urinating. Radiation therapy for prostate cancer can affect the bladder and rectum causing urination disorders.

Surgical removal of prostate cancer can affect the nerves connected to the bladder and penis, thereby affecting urinary control and erectile dysfunction.

Common signs warning of prostate problems include:

Lower urinary tract symptoms: frequent need to urinate, difficulty urinating, slow or dribbling urine stream, frequently having to wake up at night to urinate.
Urinary retention.
Pain in the lower abdomen, above the pubic bone.
Pain in the penis, testicles, or perineum (the area between the testicles and rectum).
Pain during ejaculation, bloody semen.
Erectile dysfunction (ED).
There is blood in the urine.
Women do not have a prostate but have Skene glands (paraurethral glands) located at the lower end of the urethra. This organ is biologically similar to the prostate.

What is the size and location of the prostate?
In young men, the prostate is about the size of a walnut, weighs about 20-25 grams, and is located below the bladder and in front of the rectum (lower end of the intestine). In men over 50 years old, the prostate tends to proliferate (benign hyperplasia or prostate cancer)

The functional role of the prostate gland in the human body
The prostate consists of ductal cysts and connective tissue containing many smooth muscle fibers. During ejaculation, these muscle cells contract and force the fluid stored in the prostate out into the urethra. This causes secretions from the prostate follicles and sperm, along with fluids from other glands, to combine to form semen. 

1. Helps produce semen
Part of the semen is produced in the prostate. Secretions from prostatic cysts along with sperm from the testicles, fluid in the seminal vesicles, and secretions from the bulbourethral glands (the size of a pea below the prostate) make up semen.

In men, prostate secretions are very important, not only affecting the normal functioning of sperm cells but also related to fertility. Prostate secretion is a milky white liquid that contains many enzymes, known as prostate-specific antigen (PSA), which helps make semen thinner.

2. Closes the urethra during ejaculation
During ejaculation, the prostate and bladder sphincter close the urethra to prevent semen from entering the bladder.

3. Closing the vas deferens during urination
When urinating, the muscles in the central region close the prostate ducts to prevent urine from entering the vas deferens.

4. Hormone metabolism
In the prostate, the male sex hormone testosterone is converted into a biologically active form, DHT (dihydrotestosterone).

Structure of the prostate
Anatomically, the prostate is divided into 5 lobes: anterior lobe, posterior lobe, two lateral lobes and one middle lobe. About ⅔ of the prostate is glandular and the remaining ⅓ is fibrous. Histologically, the prostate consists of different regions; Based on these characteristics, the gland is divided into 3 anatomical regions.

The peripheral region accounts for most of the prostate volume, about 70%, surrounding most of the central region and a distal part of the prostatic urethra. Ducts of glands from the periphery drain vertically into the prostatic urethra.
The central region forms the base of the prostate and surrounds the vas deferens, accounting for about 25% of the prostate's volume.
The transition zone is located in the center and surrounds the urethra, accounting for about 5%-10% of prostate volume. The glands of the transition zone are often the site of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
The fibromuscular lamina propria (or zone 4 for some) lies anterior to the prostate and fuses with the tissue of the urogenital diaphragm.

Prostate disease is common
About 25% of men aged 55 and over have prostate disease, this rate increases to 50% in men over 70 years old. The early stages of prostate disease may have no symptoms. The three most common types of prostate disease are prostatitis, benign prostatic hypertrophy (benign prostatic hyperplasia – BPH) and prostate cancer. A man can experience 1 or more forms of the disease at the same time.

1. Benign prostatic hyperplasia
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a non-cancerous hyperplasia of the prostate, common in older men. Benign prostatic hyperplasia causes the urethra to narrow and increase pressure on the base of the bladder, leading to blockage of urine flow.

Common symptoms of BPH include: frequent urination, urgency, sometimes incontinence; frequent urination at night; weak urine stream or stops and starts again; dripping at the end of urination; Unable to completely urinate, still feeling a urge to urinate after urinating.

Less common symptoms include: painful urination, urinary retention, pain when urinating or bloody urine. If not detected and treated early, benign prostatic hyperplasia can cause complications such as:

Acute urinary retention is a condition in which a lot of urine stagnates in the bladder due to the patient having difficulty urinating. An emergency situation requires placing a catheter into the bladder to guide urine out.
Urinary tract infection (UTI) causes blockage of the bladder outlet, leaving a lot of urine, creating conditions for bacteria to grow.
Bladder stones can cause inflammation, swelling of the bladder lining, blood in urine, and blockage of urine flow.
Damage to the bladder causes bladder muscle hyperplasia, forming hollow columns.
Kidney damage causes increased pressure in the bladder, upstream infection to the kidneys are factors that can reduce kidney function.

2. Prostatitis
Prostatitis can occur in men of any age but is common between the ages of 30-50. Types of prostatitis include:

Bacterial prostatitis is an acute or chronic infection caused by bacteria.
Nonbacterial prostatitis or chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CPPS).
In most cases, the cause of prostatitis remains unknown. Bacterial prostatitis usually responds well to antibiotics. However, non-bacterial prostatitis (CPPS) is a common form of prostatitis that is difficult to diagnose and treat.

Each person may have different symptoms and there is no specific test to diagnose CPPS, so your doctor will have to rule out other causes. Possible causes of CPPS include: people who have had bacterial prostatitis; irritation to some chemicals; There is damage to the nerves that supply the lower urinary tract; people with pelvic floor muscle disorders; been sexually abused or have chronic anxiety.

Depending on the cause and type of prostatitis, your doctor will prescribe appropriate treatment methods such as:

Some medications can relax the bladder neck muscles to improve urine flow or relax the bladder muscles when the bladder muscles contract too much; Antibiotics help kill bacteria.
Managing stress will help improve anxiety and depression, thereby reducing symptoms of the disease.
Pelvic floor exercises can help improve or eliminate muscle spasms.

3. Prostate cancer
Prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer in men over 50 years old. In the early stages, cancer cells are limited to the prostate. With late-detected cancer, cancer cells may have spread around the prostate, invaded the capsule or pelvic wall and metastasized into the blood vessel and lymphatic system. Treatment of prostate cancer depends on the stage of cancer and prognosis of remaining survival time, including the following methods:

Periodic monitoring and examination: patients are examined, scanned and biopsied every 1-3 years to monitor the development of cancer.
External radiation therapy uses radiation to kill cancer cells in the prostate.
Brachytherapy is a type of radiation therapy, performed by placing radioactive seeds into the prostate, thereby helping to preserve surrounding healthy tissue.
Concentrated therapy: focuses on treating the area of cancer in the prostate. Focused therapy options include high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU), cryotherapy, laser ablation, and photodynamic therapy (PDT).
Radical prostatectomy.
When the cancer has progressed far, doctors will treat the disease by treating symptoms with drugs, combined chemotherapy and radiotherapy...

Measures to protect prostate health

To keep the prostate healthy, men over 50 years old need to have their prostate checked and screened periodically. If your family has a history of prostate cancer, you should get screened earlier. Increasing physical activity for at least 30 minutes/day will help limit the risk of prostate hypertrophy (BPH).

Build a healthy diet by getting enough fruits, vegetables and protein... this can enhance prostate health. Don't smoke because it can increase your risk of developing prostate cancer.