Do Women Have A Prostate Gland?

Although men and women are different genders, they also share many similarities. 

For example, men also have nipples and even some breast tissues. Men also need some estrogen, a female hormone, to stay healthy. 

Similarly, females have a clitoris, which is more like male penile tissues. Females also have testosterone in their bodies.

All this means that men have female hormones and even organs. Similarly, females have male hormones and organs, though organs of opposing gender are present more like vestigial organs. 

Thus, these organs of opposing gender have limited roles. Nonetheless, they do have some functions.

Similarly, women have a much lower level of testosterone. Nonetheless, they need these male organs for maintaining libido, bone strength, and mental health.

It means that females do have female organs and hormones, but their role is quite different. The same is true for the prostate.

Do women have a prostate?

Yes, women do have a prostate gland-like structure called “Skene’s gland.” Researchers identified this structure more than 300 years ago, but it remains one of the less discussed parts of the female body. 

Of course, women do not produce sperm; thus, the prostate gland-like structure has completely different functions. Although it does not appear to be an essential gland for females, it has some role in the female body.

This prostate-like gland in females looks more like the male prostate gland before puberty. It means that Skene’s gland is much smaller than the prostate gland in an adult male. 

Nonetheless, it is present; thus, it would be correct to say that females have a prostate gland. Further, this prostate-like gland in women also produces fluid during sexual arousal, quite similar to the one produced by males.

The female body also demonstrates prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and prostatic acid phosphatase (PAP) on immunostaining. All these tests confirm that tissues of this gland are similar to the prostate.

Though Skene’s gland is the female prostatic gland, it is worth understanding that it is not only smaller in size, but studies suggest that it may be absent in some females. 

This shows that it may not be highly important for female well-being. It does not appear to have a role in female reproductive function, though it may influence sexual health.

What’s the purpose of the female prostate gland?

As already mentioned, females have a prostate gland called “Skene’s gland.” In men, the prostate secretes seminal fluid and plays an important role in male fertility. 

However, women do not have sperm, and thus researchers are perplexed by its role. Moreover, the female prostate function differs. Therefore, the purpose of the female prostate is difficult to understand.

Sexual health

One of the suggestions is that since it secretes fluid that is quite similar to the seminal fluid (without sperm), it may play an important role in sexual function. 

Many researchers think it plays a vital role in sexual health and pleasure. Some have also suggested that its opening is the G-spot. 

In addition, since Skene’s gland is absent in some females, it explains why some females have difficulty achieving orgasm.

Protection from UTIs

Another important role this female prostate gland plays is protecting females from urinary tract infections. This white secretion from the female prostate has antimicrobial properties. As a result, women are prone to recurrent urinary tract infections

Thus, it is quite likely that Skene’s gland secretion may help protect from urinary tract infection. It is quite likely that women with prostate dysfunction are more likely to have recurrent prostate infections.

There are probably some other ways in which female ejaculation may promote sexual health in females. For example, women with a lower risk of urinary tract infections also become more receptive to coitus. 

As a result, they are more likely to engage in sexual activity and thus conceive a child. Hence, this female prostate may play an important role in sexual and reproductive health.

A few studies suggest that though the prostate is present in females, it is different in many ways. For example, in females, puberty occurs early, and the prostate develops early, too. Further, it seems that the female prostate is more sensitive to estrogens.

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Can women get prostate cancer?

Since women have a gland that is quite like the prostate gland in males, and it also contains prostate-specific antigen (PSA), it is also quite likely to develop issues experienced by males. So, yes, females may also develop prostate problems, including cancer. 

However, it is worth understanding that in females prostate gland is much less active than in males. Thus, they are less likely to be affected by prostate problems. Also, since its problems are uncommon, doctors are likely to miss the diagnosis.

In males, the prostate is among the most common cancers. However, this is not true for females. In females, prostate cancer is among the uncommon cancers. Females may develop a so-called Skene’s gland adenocarcinoma.

Prostate cancer in women is so uncommon that it is quite likely to be diagnosed in the late stages. There are very few studies regarding Skene’s gland cancer. 

Nonetheless, one of the old studies suggests that it accounts for less than 0.003% of all cancers of genital tracts in females. Therefore, it would be correct to say it is among extremely rare cancers. Studies also suggest that in females with cancer, PSA is eleveated.

One of the issues with the female prostate or Skene’s gland is that its problems are rare, and thus doctors are unable to diagnose them. For example, some studies suggest that recurrent urinary tract infections, which are pretty common in females, may be due to the infection of the female prostate gland.

There are few clinical reports regarding prostate cancer in females, and most of these reports suggest that the condition is more likely to occur in post-menopausal women

Hence, quite like in males, the risk of prostate cancer increases in females with aging. However, unlike males, in females, it is among the most infrequent kinds of cancer.

Frequently asked questions

What are the signs of female prostate cancer?

Female prostate cancer symptoms may include pain during urination, blood in urine, abnormal menstruation, and painful sexual intercourse.

Can a man with prostate cancer affect a woman? 

No, that is not possible, as it is not an infectious disease. 

Can women die from prostate cancer? 

Though the chances are slim, it is possible due to delayed diagnosis.

Can women have an enlarged prostate? 

Yes, it is possible, though the condition is rare.

Can women get prostatitis?

Prostatitis in women is rare but nonetheless possible.

Can a PSA be ordered on a female? 

Yes, it can be, though its role in identifying prostate issues is unclear.

Conclusion

So, it appears that females do have a prostate, though it is called Skene’s gland. Skene’s glands’ secretion is quite similar to that of the prostate. 

Skene glands in females appear to protect from infection and enhance sexual pleasure. Unfortunately, since women have a prostate gland, it also makes them susceptible to prostate cancer. However, since prostate issues are so rare in women, doctors struggle to identify such issues.

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Sources

  1. Lowe JS, Anderson PG. Chapter 17 – Female Reproductive System. In: Lowe JS, Anderson PG, eds. Stevens & Lowe’s Human Histology (Fourth Edition) (Fourth Edition). Mosby; 2015:337-362. 
  2. Dwyer PL. Skene’s gland revisited: function, dysfunction and the G spot. Int Urogynecol J. 2012;23(2):135-137. 
  3. Schubach G. The G-spot is the female prostate. American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2002;186(4):850.
  4. Moalem S, Reidenberg JS. Does female ejaculation serve an antimicrobial purpose? Med Hypotheses. 2009;73(6):1069-1071. 
  5. Sanches BDA, Carvalho HF, Maldarine JS, et al. Differences between male and female prostates in terms of physiology, sensitivity to chemicals and pathogenesis-A review in a rodent model. Cell Biol Int. Published online August 8, 2019. 
  6. Thum S, Haben B, Christ G, Sen Gupta R. [Female prostate cancer?]. Pathologe. 2017;38(5):448-450. 
  7. Dodson MK, Cliby WA, Keeney GL, Peterson MF, Podratz KC. Skene’s gland adenocarcinoma with increased serum level of prostate-specific antigen. Gynecol Oncol. 1994;55(2):304-307. 
  8. Tamburrini S, Vascone C, Marrone V, et al. Skene’s glands abscess an overlooked diagnosis in acute lower urinary symptoms. Radiol Case Rep. 2021;16(12):3751-3756. 
  9. Gao Q, Liu X, Ye L, et al. Adenosquamous Carcinoma of Skene’s Gland: A Case Report and Literature Review. Frontiers in Oncology. 2022;12. 

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